Green is a color that speaks to vital new growth, the wealth of produce that sprouts in the spring, a sense of prosperity and certainly, sustainability in everything we do. So this issue, we’re picking, cooking and celebrating green from peas to pesto, herbs to halibut. We’re also exalting Saint Patrick’s Day and throwing in some coupons, so you’ll save a little green, too!
Lighter, brighter and full of nutrients, spring’s green crops are deliciously delicate and delightful, including classic asparagus and Brussels sprouts, as well as rarer seasonal treats like ramps and fiddleheads (availability is limited and weather dependent). We asked our Recipe Development Team and Registered Dietitians for the lowdown on cooking these spring specialties and they had a regular green party!
- Artichokes may be steamed or simmered whole until leaves are tender enough to pull off and dip (pull the meat off with your teeth). Use a spoon to scrape out the fuzzy choke, exposing the delicious, tender heart at the center. One-half cup of cooked hearts is an excellent source of fiber, and a good source of folate, vitamin C and vitamin K.
- Asparagus is marvelously versatile. It can be grilled, steamed, roasted, blanched, broiled, canned and even eaten raw — just make sure to trim, snap off or peel the tough bottoms of the stalks. One cup cooked is an excellent source of vitamin K and a good source of potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C.
- Brussels sprouts are wonderful roasted or braised but should be cooked uncovered to release acids. Also be careful not to overcook, which may release sulfur odors. One cup cooked is an excellent source of fiber, folate and vitamins A, C and K.
- Fiddleheads (fronds of the ostrich fern) are tightly coiled shoots with a taste resembling asparagus, green beans and okra. Try them sautéed in a little butter, steamed and added to curries and stews, or even raw in salads. Three ounces cooked are a good source of vitamins A & C.
- Fresh English peas cook quickly, but require shelling (except for snap peas and snow peas). Simply eat as a side or add to salads, pastas, soups and stews. One-half cup of peas is an excellent source of vitamin K and a good source of fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C.
- Okra doesn’t have to be slimy! Simply soak it in a water-vinegar solution for one hour before cooking. Try roasting, grilling or stewing whole okra, or frying or blanching sliced okra. One cup cooked is an excellent source of vitamins C and K, and a good source of folate.
- Ramps are also known as wild leeks and are praised for their alliaceous (garlic/onion) flavors. Cook as you would leeks or scallions or try grilling or sautéing them whole as a side dish.
Cook More with Greens: Grilled Asparagus with Mahon Cheese & Marcona Almonds or Spring Pea Bruschetta with Lemon Mascarpone Cream.