Spring produce is here! I love looking out across my neighboring stalls at the Farmer’s Market every Sunday, and seeing the bounty of asparagus, artichokes, English peas, spring onions and green garlic and so much more! After the rich and heavy, albeit delicious, winter stews and braises, I always long to shake things up a bit in the kitchen by incorporating spring produce into my weekly dinner menu repertoire and turning to lighter, quicker cooking cuts of veal.
Veal’s deliciously mild flavor is an excellent match for the delicate spring produce that’s popping up. Once of the easiest ways of incorporating these fresher flavors is to simply swap in spring onions and spring garlic for the standard stuff your recipes might call for. Shortening the cooking time just a tad can help preserve some of the sweet freshness of the vegetables. Here’s a no-recipe recipe for you: Over medium high heat, sauté some pretty purple spring onions with some bright green garlic in a generous amount of good local olive oil. When the vegetables have softened a bit, push them to the side of your skillet and add some quick cooking cutlets of veal. Flip them after one minute or lightly browned, cook on the opposite side for another minute, then remove veal and vegetables to a plate. Deglaze the pan with a bit of white wine and/or lemon juice, simmer for a few minutes, then pour over the veal. Serve with buttery mashed potatoes or small pasta alongside a crisp green salad, and delight in a simple, elegant dinner.
English peas are another favorite of mine. While we can always get high-quality frozen peas year-round, nothing compares to a very freshly picked and shucked bowl of English peas, swimming in butter! Plus, it’s a kid-friendly side dish that is a firm family favorite. If you enlist your kids’ help with the shucking, they are more likely to clean their plates—at least that has been my experience! Serve English peas alongside a few grilled or sautéed veal chops, a simple salad of arugula dressed with champagne vinegar and olive oil and some just-baked crusty bread… heaven!
Another classic sign of warm weather is asparagus. These tender beauties don’t stick around for too long, so we eat our fill when we can! Try grilling asparagus alongside a few veal steaks, and serve with a bright chimichurri, some soft butter and mixed with chopped herbs, or even just a generous squeeze of lemon with a drizzle of olive oil. Bonus points for serving atop a bed of simply roasted potatoes!
As far as dessert goes, you can’t beat the sweet, intensely fragrant spring strawberries that have been showing their blushing faces recently. I like to give them a rough chop, then marinate them in a bit of honey, lemon juice, and an unexpected pop of green, like finely minced mint or ribbons of basil. Let the hang out for a few hours, stirring occasionally. The you can spoon over vanilla ice cream, toss over some gluten free pound cake, or stir into thick Greek yogurt. Dessert really doesn’t get easier, or more delicious, or more spring-like, than that!
There are so many more things to do with the bounty of spring produce, and I adore finding new ways to incorporate these flavors with my usual repertoire of veal dishes. What are some of your favorite signs of spring? Drop me a line or give us a shout over on Instagram!