the spring tease
In Chicago, we got our first taste of spring (read: summer) last week with temps in the high 70’s! It has since snowed, rained and returned to the mid-50’s, as it should be. There is always one tease like this before actual spring happens, but none the less it’s an exciting reminder of what’s to come. All of the sudden trees have little green leaves again, daffodils and tulips are popping up, birds are singing and the outdoor farmers market has returned. Just like the premature summer temperatures though, a spring farmers market can be a bit of a tease.
Still months away from the abundance of summer and its juicy tomatoes, ripe melons and plate sized dahlias. In April we have to settle for garlic, onions, apples, potatoes and squash - all stored from last falls’ harvest. Spring at the farmers market is definitely a slow build. But, each week brings a new spring delight, and even when weather is less than ideal it’s still an opportunity to support local farmers and get in touch with what’s growing in this midwest region we all call home.
Here are some things to look for over the next month and some of the ways we love to use them.
Ramps (spring onions wild cousin)- pesto, compound butter, pickled
Asparagus - leave them raw and enjoy in a shaved asparagus salad
Spring onions - charred on the stove top grill or oven - we are using these all season long in grain salads, frittatas, yogurt dip and vinaigrette
Rhubarb - cook it down into a tart compote for topping yogurt, mix into a baked oatmeal, bake up a rhubarb crumble and top with ice cream
Carrots - roasted on a bed of garlic yogurt with fresh herbs, creamy carrot soup, crudités and dip
Baby greens - simply dressed alongside…anything; soft scrambled eggs, pizza, avocado toast
Pastured raised eggs and meat
Less of a recipe and more of an idea…this month grab a bunch a of spring onions / scallions / ramps at the market. Toss with enough olive oil just to coat and a pinch of salt. Char them on the grill, in a hot oven or on the stovetop. Chop the charred onions and mix into your favorite vinaigrette recipe. This is great for hearty grain salads, tossed with hot potatoes or drizzled over roasted cabbage. Alternatively, mix charred, chopped onions into greek yogurt along with a little zest and juice from a lemon, salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Smear a generous amount on a plate and top with roasted vegetables, delicious on grilled chicken or serve as a dip with crudités and potato chips.