The Spring season is a special time. This is especially true in the cooking world. Chefs look forward to the first tender vegetable offerings. Take a look at the menus of local restaurants and you will see the fires of creativity burning and yearning to play with fresh and local ingredients again. The Lexington School kitchen changes our menu cycle three times a year and the last cycle change is for the Spring season.
Spring means two things to me. The first is asparagus. Asparagus is in season locally from mid-April(ish) through the first part of June. The second is strawberries, which usually arrive mid-May and go strong through June.
Asparagus is my favorite taste of Spring. I can purchase asparagus year round at the grocery store and through the vendors we use at The Lexington School, but December asparagus is just not that great. It's large, woody, tough and flavorless. I wait through the hottest part of summer, the cooling of autumn, and the frozen months of winter for those 30-60 days in Spring when the local farms start bringing asparagus to the farmers' market. Slim and tender, flavorful and crisp...the way asparagus should be enjoyed. I love to grill or roast asparagus. I shave it with a vegetable peeler and soak the strips in ice water to curl them, then dress with a lemony vinaigrette. I puree simmered asparagus with cream and lemon for a delicious and fresh soup. Breakfasts at home during Spring are full of quiche and benedicts all with a heaping pile of asparagus. I believe in celebrating food at its best and asparagus is at its peak in Spring.
July arrives and the asparagus celebration ends...and tomatoes are just hitting their peak. :)