By Deborah Eisenhut
Springtime is upon us and soon we will be vested in our own area renewal and regrowth, with longing thoughts of the warmer season ahead. Even though the heavy holiday and football eating is behind us and resolutions to eating more healthy might be waning, early spring vegetables make for some simple and delicious eating.
The birds return, the buds sprout, temps are more bearable day and night and we begin to plan on gardens, eating al fresco and the freshness of the Easter season.
The following are some spring recipes guaranteed to come together easily, taste amazing and are the healthful fresh start to a season of local good foods.
SAUTEED MOREL MUSHROOMS
A delicious sign of spring! Sautéing oil over high heat allows mushrooms to brown without the risk of burning butter. A generous pat of butter added towards the end of cooking, helps emulsify stock into a rich, creamy sauce. Soy sauce adds umami depth with lemon brightening up the dish.
1 T. canola oil
8 oz. fresh morels, cleaned, trimmed and split in half long ways
1 small shallot minced (2 T.)
1 medium clove garlic minced (1 t)
2 T. unsalted butter
1 T. soy sauce
1 t. fresh lemon juice
¼ cup quality chicken stock
1 T. minced fresh herbs such as chives, chervil, parsley etc.
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Heat oil in heavy cast iron or SS skillet over high heat until shimmering, add mushrooms & cook about 4 minutes until well browned. Reduce heat to medium high, add shallot & garlic, cook until fragrant about 45 seconds. Add butter, soy sauce, lemon juice, chicken stock swirling pan until liquid reduces & morels coated in creamy sauce about 1 minute. Stir in herbs, salt & pepper. Serve immediately.
BALSAMIC GLAZED BABY BEETS
12 – 16 baby (1-2 inch) beets
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 T. light brown sugar
2 T. unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 350
Trim green off top of beets leaving two inches of stalk. Rinse beets & place with rosemary in a heavy duty aluminum foil packet, sealing well. Place packet on rimmed baking sheet & roast for 30 minutes until easily pierced with knife. Open packet, discard rosemary. Use paper towel to rub peels off, trim stems & set aside. In large shallow saucepan combine vinegar, sugar, butter & salt over med-high heat. Cook 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, reduce by ½. Reduce heat to low, add beats, coat well 1-2 minutes. Serve with grilled or baked chicken.
SPINACH GREEN ONION SMOKED GOUDA QUICHE
Preheat oven to 350. Unwrap chilled purchased pie crust dough, roll out to a 10 inch circle (or gently stretch to fit pie pan) & crimp edges. Freeze for 15 minutes and bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool.
1 T. evoo
½ cup thinly sliced green onions
3 cups fresh baby spinach
1 cup 1 or 2% milk
¾ cup grated smoked Gouda cheese
¾ t. salt
Dash of nutmeg
3 large eggs
Heat oil to med-high, add onions, sauté 5 minutes, add spinach & sauté for 2 minutes then remove pan from heat. Combine milk and remaining ingredients in bowl, stir in spinach mixture, pour into crust. Bake 35 minutes for creamy center, 40 minutes for firmer. Cut into 8 wedges & serve with fresh fruit.
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t. sea salt
½ t. ground black pepper
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 bunch thin fresh asparagus spears, trimmed and clean
3 T. evoo
1 ½ T. grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 425
Place asparagus in bowl, toss with evoo, cheese, garlic, salt & pepper. Arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer & bake just until tender, about 12 minutes depending on thickness. Sprinkle with lemon juice just before serving. Great with grilled fish or lamb.