Spring is a great time of year to enjoy some lighter ingredients and dishes. After the colder months where winter squash and stews felt hearty and filling, it's nice to eat lighter and fresher produce. Spring seasonal vegetables tend to be crispy, more delicate, and delicious. These are some of my favorite seasonal ingredients, including a few ways to prepare them and enjoy with nuts.
Few things point to spring like asparagus. With only a short season in April and May, there's not much time to enjoy this shoot at its peak of flavor. When fresh, asparagus can be eaten raw, but it's delicious cooked as well! Whether steamed, roasted, or raw -- each preparation lends itself nicely to a variety of garnishes and flavors.
- For raw asparagus, shave thin strips using a vegetable peeler then dress with lemon, olive oil, and shaved parmesan before seasoning with salt and black pepper.
- Steamed asparagus can be really good dressed with a hollandaise or a poached egg. The richness of egg and butter complements the woodsy asparagus really well and the fact that the stalk is steamed means the starches don't brown and compete with the rich flavor of the toppings.
- Roasted asparagus works great with just salt pepper and olive oil; but I love adding garlic and herbs to it as well.
Santé Chipotle Almonds complement asparagus dishes really well. The smoky sweetness pairs very well with the woodsy green flavor making a really delicious combination.
This delicious green is a little peppery and sharp, which works really well paired with food that's rich or acidic.
- If you haven't tried arugula pesto, you're missing out! To make it, place arugula, garlic, and olive oil in a blender or food processor. Add a handful of your favorite nuts (anything from walnuts, almonds, to pine nuts!), which adds creaminess and body. Pulse until smooth.
- For double-the-arugula toast -- spread this pesto on toasted bread, add fresh arugula leaves on top, season with sea salt, and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve this with a fried egg for a delicious breakfast!
Spring is usually when I start wanting lighter sweets and not craving heavy or overly sweet desserts like in the colder months. Luckily, lemons are still in season for most of spring and taste great when made into lemon curd or a lemon drizzle.
- For a simple lemon topping, combine lemon juice and powdered sugar in a pan and heat slowly until the sugar is melted. The ratio will really depend on how sweet you want your drizzle and how tart your lemons are. I'd suggest starting with the juice of one lemon and 1/2 tablespoon of powdered sugar. You can always add more sugar if the mixture doesn’t taste as sweet as you'd like. For extra richness, slowly melt some 1-2 tablespoons of butter into the liquid stirring quickly.
Santé Candied Pecans pair deliciously with this bright citrus topping. The nutty, citrusy combination feels decadent without being too heavy or sweet. Try our recipe for Candied Pecan Scones with Lemon Drizzle.