Spring might have officially started a few days ago but in NYC markets and restaurants, dishes are starting to blossom with all of the season’s sensational ingredients.
Due to our mild winter, the North Coast has gotten reacquainted with ramps, spring garlic, and other alliums a little earlier than usual. Odd shaped vegetables such as fiddlehead ferns, a seasonal vegetable that resembles the taste of asparagus and the shape of a fiddle’s end, are making a return to add an exciting element to spring dishes.
Streaming up shore and onto our plates will be shad roe and soft shell crab and menus will steer their accompaniments towards refreshing flavors and bright colors like fava bean and asparagus green.
Desserts will be influence by the season’s trends as well. Strawberry and rhubarb, soul mates of the palate, will be baked together in cobblers and pies and grapefruit will continue to live through its season in the form of panna cottas or sorbets.
What makes this year different from the rest? Besides the obvious fact of spring starting a little early this year, the only way to find out is from the source of these food items. Farmers and chefs agree that spring is definitely an exciting time of year and the mood and energy of NYC definitely shifts with the weather. More people shop in farmer’s markets and business in restaurants start to pick up considerably in early April.
While we welcome these ingredients in our restaurant dishes and to the farmer's market, here is a recipe for a fun snack. Take a trip to your local market, then pickle some of the season's ingredients at home and enjoy the limited-time produce for the next few months.
1 lb. ramps
1 lb. asparagus
1 c apple cider vinegar
1 c water
1/2 c sugar
1 t mustard seed
1 t coriander seed
1 t celery seed
1 t pink peppercorns
1 t white peppercorns
1 dried hot chili
1 bay leaf
Clean and trim ramps. Blanch in salted water. Bring water, salt, sugar, honey and vinegar to a boil. Add the rest of the ingredients. Place ramps in a Mason Jar and pour the vinegar mixture in the container. Let cool.
Enjoy your pickles!