Two days ago, it was the first day of summer. This is usually about the time we all start wetting our pants about prospective tomato and summer squash ratatouilles. However, before we do that, let’s take a minute and pay homage to some of the wonderful spring bounty from the last couple months. It deserves it.
Asparagus. Always makes its appearance at the start of spring. It’s totally the star of first course plates and scrambled eggs with leftovers for a couple months and then you don’t hear about it again till next spring. Whatevs, thats cool with me, yo. This spring’s fave asparagus preparation (besides grilling them encased in prosciutto, which always rules) was to blanch them in boiling salted water in small batches for 2 minutes, shocking them in an ice bath (to preserve the bright color and stop the cooking) and then warming them back up in butter. ‘Course in the picture we did something different. We used them to prepare a parsley sauce (for scallops) and a leek soup. The parsley sauce is the green puree in the bowl on the left. To make it you simply take the blanched asparagus (after chilling), and blend them with cleaned parsley, adding a touch of cream and seasoning.
Rhubarb. Was also the shizzle. Those tangy celery-on-acid stalks are unusually intimidating (you just never know wtf to do with rhubarb) but this season they were used to make a really funky sauce with French brut apple cider (6% alcohol) from Normandy. We simply stewed some chopped rhubarb in about half the bottle (drank the rest) and added a spoonful o’ sugar. Then we just blended the living hell out of it and it became that smooth beige sauce you see in the bowl on the right. Really good match with that parsley-asparagus sauce.
Radishes. We ate them with unsalted butter and some sea salt. Yeah, its really good with some white wine. Alternatively, thinly sliced radish is a nice accompaniment some raw sashimi (think thin slices of yellowtail nicely arranged on a plate) if you drizzle some fresh lime and lemon juice around it and season it properly. That crunch is hard to beat.
Scallops. Spring is a great time for diver scallops caught off the Long Island coast (Brooklyn is on Long Island, remember?) These should be so fresh that you can eat them raw. You’ll know when you smell their sweet, sea smell and they have just the perfect moisture content that they kind of bounce back at you when you squeeze them. A trip to the Union Square Farmers’ Market (where the fish stand is really top-quality) yielded some of those scallops, as well as a monkfish fillet, some red onions and a bunch o’ cilantro. Large shrimp and calamari were purchased at Whole Foods (Where Hot People Shop) as well as some limes. This turned in just about an hour into an exquisite citrusy concoction of seafood that just hit the spot.