WRITTEN BY Tamberlyn Dobrowski
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Christina Hussey
We all look forward to spring—the beautiful weather, budding flowers and, of course, the produce. I love celebrating the start of the season by having a few friends over for lunch after a trip to the farmers market finding the freshest ingredients from local farmers. Here are a few of my favorite spring dishes.
Elderflower Champagne Cocktail
- 1 (750 ml) bottle Brut Champagne or dry sparkling wine, chilled
- 1 cup of elderflower liqueur, like St-Germain
- 1 (12-ounce) can of club soda or seltzer water, chilled
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
In a large pitcher, combine all of the ingredients and stir. Add ice. Pour into glasses filled with ice and scoop a few strawberries into each glass.
Recipe from Maureen Petrosky, Kitchn
NOTES: The recipe can be made without the club soda but cut the elderflower liqueur by ¼ cup. The strawberries can be removed completely, or you can substitute other fresh berries, sliced peaches or other fresh fruit. We used lemons and limes. To make just one cocktail, combine 1 ounce of elderflower liqueur and 3 ounces of chilled Champagne with a few sliced strawberries.
Green Goddess and Spring Microgreens Salad
For the Salad
- Microgreens and edible flowers
- Roasted yellow beets, thinly sliced (see recipe below)
For the Dressing (makes 1 ¾ cups)
- 1 cup coarsely chopped parsley
- 4 scallions, sliced
- 1 cup sour cream
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- Juice of 1 lemon (scant ¼ cup)
- 1 small clove garlic, grated (about ¼ teaspoon)
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
Blend the parsley, scallions, sour cream, mayonnaise, buttermilk, lemon juice, garlic and salt to desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
Combine greens. Fold in beets and place in salad bowls. Drizzle with dressing and top with flowers.
Recipe adapted from Desiree Currie, What’s in Season with Des
NOTE: Any remaining dressing can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
ROASTED BEETS: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel beets. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Wrap in foil. Roast for 20 minutes. Allow to cool and then slice thinly. A mandoline (I use this one) makes slicing easy.
Prosciutto-Wrapped Mango Bites
- 1 ripe mango, peeled
- 1 ½ cups loosely packed arugula
- 1 (1-ounce) package fresh basil
- 4 very thin prosciutto or country ham slices
- ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
Cut mango into ¼- to ½-inch slices (about 16). Place 1 mango slice on top of 3 arugula leaves and 1 to 2 basil leaves.
Cut each prosciutto slice lengthwise into 4 strips. Wrap center of each mango bundle with 1 prosciutto strip. Arrange on a serving platter and sprinkle with pepper.
Recipe from Southern Living, September 2008
NOTE: To make ahead, prepare recipe as directed. Cover bites with damp paper towels, and chill 30 minutes.
Minty Pea Soup
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
- 6 cups shelled fresh peas (from about
- 6 pounds pods) or frozen peas, thawed
- ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- ¼ cup crème fraîche or sour cream
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream or water
- Chopped fresh chives (for serving
Melt butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened but not browned, 6–8 minutes. Add 2 cups broth and bring to a boil. Add peas, reduce heat and simmer gently until tender (about 5 minutes for fresh peas, about 2 minutes for frozen).
Remove pot from heat. Add parsley, mint and remaining 2 cups of broth to pot. Purée soup in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth, thinning with water if soup is too thick. Season soup with salt and pepper.
Whisk crème fraîche and cream in a small bowl to blend. Serve warm soup topped with chives, passing crème fraîche mixture alongside for spooning over.
Recipe from Bon Appétit, April 2013
Perfect Parchment-Baked Salmon
- ½ Yukon Gold potato, very thinly sliced
- 8 stalks asparagus, trimmed, each stalk cut in half
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced red onion
- 6 ounces center cut salmon fillet
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3 thin slices of lemon
- Thyme leaves
- Kosher salt and black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a large oval of parchment paper and fold it in half.
Place thinly sliced pieces of potato on the bottom half of the parchment. Add asparagus pieces and red onion slices. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and then sprinkle with kosher salt and a little fresh chopped parsley.
Place salmon fillet on the vegetables. Drizzle salmon with the remaining teaspoon olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper. Top with lemon slices and thyme leaves.
Fold the parchment paper over, starting at one corner, and pinch the edges over to close the packet. (When the edges are completely closed, it will look like a calzone!)
Bake the fish for 14 minutes on the center rack in the oven, then remove and unwrap or cut the top of the packet and serve in the paper. Serve immediately.
Recipe from Heather Christo, The Pioneer Woman
NOTE: You can use any sides you want inside the packet with the salmon. We used seasonal potatoes and asparagus for this recipe, but here are some of other favorites:
- Fresh corn, onions and cherry tomatoes with fresh tarragon
- Artichoke hearts, peas and asparagus with fresh chives
- Fresh spinach, cherry tomatoes, olives and top everything with pesto
Spring Pastel Eclairs
- 1 ½ cups milk
- ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out and reserved
- 5 egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, diced
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (see note)
- 4 large eggs
- 3 cups confectioners sugar
- 2 tablespoons thawed frozen orange juice concentrate mixed with 1 teaspoon water
- 1 ½ tablespoons cranberry-raspberry juice
- 2 tablespoons Concord grape juice concentrate mixed with 1 teaspoon water
For the filling:
Heat the milk, vanilla pod and scraped seeds in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When it boils, remove from the heat and let steep for 5 minutes. Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl until light and fluffy. Whisk in the cornstarch until smooth.
Remove the vanilla pod from the milk mixture and discard. Carefully whisk ½ cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks until incorporated, then whisk the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture is gently bubbling and thickened and coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. Transfer the mixture to a glass or metal bowl and let cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic directly against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill at least 2 hours or until ready to serve.
For the pastry:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Combine 1 cup water, the butter, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When the mixture boils, immediately add all the flour at once and stir with a wooden spoon until it is fully incorporated and smooth, 1 minute. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 30 seconds more. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, add the eggs 1 egg at a time, mixing well after each addition, until they are completely incorporated and the mixture is thick and smooth.
Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a medium round tip. Pipe 2-inch lengths of dough onto the prepared baking sheet leaving about ½ inch between each. To make smooth eclairs, dip your finger in water and smooth out any bumps or points in the dough.
Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake until the eclair shells are puffed up and golden brown, about 30 minutes more. Place the eclairs on a wire rack and let cool completely on the baking sheet.
Transfer the chilled pastry cream to a pastry bag fitted with small plain tip. Use the tip to gently poke a hole into one end of each eclair shell. Pipe the custard into the eclairs until they are just filled (do not overfill). Alternatively, you may split each eclair open with a knife so that it opens like a book and spoon in the filling.
For the glazes:
Place 1 cup of confectioners sugar in each of 3 medium bowls. Whisk the orange juice concentrate and water into one, the cranberry-raspberry juice into one and the Concord grape juice and water into one, mixing until smooth. Dip the top of each filled eclair into the desired glaze, letting the excess drip off before turning over and placing on a platter. Let the eclairs rest until the glaze dries and is shiny, 30 minutes.
Recipe from Food Network Kitchen
NOTE: When measuring flour, spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off the excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)
Buttermilk Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze
- 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- ¾ teaspoon fine salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
- 2 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 2 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, melted
- Pinch of fine salt
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Generously butter a 10-inch Bundt pan and dust with flour. In a medium bowl, whisk the 3 ½ cups of flour with the salt and baking soda.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the 1 ½ sticks of butter with the shortening at medium-high speed until smooth. Add the granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. At medium speed, beat in the eggs one at a time until just incorporated, then beat in the vanilla; scrape down the side of the bowl. Beat in the dry ingredients and buttermilk in 3 alternating batches, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. At low speed, beat in the lemon juice.
Scrape the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and use a spatula to smooth the surface. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool on a rack for 30 minutes, then turn it out on a platter or cake stand to cool completely.
Make the Glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk the confectioners sugar with the lemon zest, lemon juice, butter and salt until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Let stand for 20 minutes until the glaze is set. Cut the cake into wedges and serve.
Recipe from Food & Wine, August 2014
MAKE AHEAD: The glazed cake can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
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