Today is the vernal equinox: the official first day of spring! True, we’ve had a mild winter here in Boston, but that in no way dampens my enthusiasm for the change of the seasons. With daylight savings, the gradual lengthening of days, and warmer weather, I start to crave green foods, maybe as an echo of the verdant landscapes before me. Asparagus, lots of salad greens (arugula and Boston lettuce are my favorites), and leeks are sure to find their way onto my plate with greater frequency.
There are so many ways to celebrate spring in your kitchen. Is there a seasonal vegetable that you enjoy? A special dish that a family member always cooked this time of year? Do certain foods just “taste” or “look” like spring to you? We asked around America’s Test Kitchen to find out what the bounty of spring is bringing to people’s plates. Here are a few of the responses:
Spring always makes me want citrus-y foods. Orange wedges start popping up in my salads, lime juice in all my drinks, lemon zest in every bowl of pasta, and lemon halves inside roast chickens. When the days are getting longer but it’s still too chilly for a picnic, citrus is a great way to perk up a meal.
Growing up my mom would treat us on Sunday mornings (either before or after church) with 蛋炒飯 (dan-4 chao-3 fan-4), otherwise known to the masses as the humble “egg fried rice.” This homemade stir-fry is by all means not the greasy, insipid version you’d expect from a takeout Chinese place. Instead, my mom would somehow make alchemy with day-old rice tossed in a hot oiled pan with garlic, green peas, prepared egg (kind of a lightly cooked omelet, cut into thin slices), and—if we were lucky—leftover shreds of cooked chicken or pork. Salty and hot and super super yummy; I’m craving it big-time just writing about it. I suppose it’s my first-generation Chinese-American version of biscuits and gravy, or hot buttered grits. For whatever reason, I associate this dish with spring. Maybe it’s the eggs and peas.
Rhubarb, specifically my mom’s rhubarb custard pie, and stewed rhubarb. It grew (wild) in our backyard.
Decent asparagus!!! Yum.
And now for the Silly Question of the Day…
What foods signify spring for you?
Leave your silly answer in the comments!
(Photo: Liz West)