5 Vibrant Spring Recipes from Curtis Stone
Chef and O food columnist Curtis Stone celebrates the most vibrant of seasons with bright, versatile ingredients.
This is a thrilling time of year for a chef. Spring is when I practically live at the farmers' market, asking one grower about his heirloom strawberries, another about his desert-grown radishes. (I could talk about that stuff all day.) And I've never been so excited to dive into fresh produce: I just opened a restaurant, Maude, in Los Angeles, where I spotlight one ingredient each month in every dish of a nine-course tasting menu. March is artichokes, and April is peas—both of which I'm loving right now, along with spring's bounty of leeks, carrots and rhubarb. At home, I'll fry artichokes and top them with parsley and lemon, whip peas into pesto for bruschetta or serve roasted salmon on an array of buttery carrots, asparagus and snap peas. Finish a meal with a rhubarb pavlova (a big, lovely meringue with a soft center), and you've got food that's as delicious and fresh as can be—everything I love about spring.
Don't underestimate just how great carrots are at marrying with and balancing other flavors. In this dish, which is rich with wine and butter, the carrots add a sweet, earthy note.
Get the recipe: Roasted Salmon with Spring Vegetables
A neat thing about leeks is that they practically melt if you cook them long enough, adding creaminess and flavor to this luxurious pasta dish.
Get the recipe: Pappardelle with Leeks and Spinach
Artichokes are big here in California—they have a festival in Castroville that's terrific. Fun fact: It's where Norma Jean Baker, a.k.a. Marilyn Monroe, was crowned Artichoke Queen 1947.
Get the recipe: Fried Artichokes with Lemon and Parsley
English, snap, snow—there are just so many to choose from. And did you know mung beans are a kind of pea? Plus, with many varieties, you can eat the flowers and tendrils!
Get the recipe: Bruschetta with Pea Pesto and Mozzarella
I have beautiful memories of rhubarb, because my mum grew it and made jam, which is a tradition I've carried on. It's easy to grow, too, if you want to have a crack at it. But remember, it's sour—so don't get too far from the sugar bowl.
Get the recipe: Pavlova with Rhubarb, Strawberries and Fresh Cream