Lighter Fare for the Warmer Weather
Asparagus is great during spring and summer – good for cold soups, asparagus terrine or simply serve chilled with vinaigrette. Cook green asparagus for approximately 3 1/2 minutes in boiling water. Cook white asparagus longer, approximately 6 1/2 minutes.
Lobsters are best this time of year. Cook 1 1/4 lb lobsters for 5 1/2 minutes – for larger lobsters, cook longer. Great hot or cold, serve as an appetizer or entree, fun to grill, great grilled on an open fire. Lobster club sandwiches – my favorite!
Watermelon is good tossed in salad, great with grilled BBQ foods, with picnics and snacks, goes well with dandelion greens and shaved parmesan.
Soft Shell Crabs – fishermen say the season starts best after the first full moon after Memorial Day, soft shells can be served as an appetizer, entree or in sandwiches. Try them alone, pan roasted, grilled or sauteed, cooking time is approximately 6 minutes.
Heirloom Tomatoes are best at room temperature, great in salads,sandwiches or straight up – add a little balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. They are juicy and full of flavor.
Micro Lettuce Sprouts and Herbs are a great way to garnish your dishes, also good in salads.
Carpaccio – my favorite are venison, beef, lamb, foie gras and spiny lobster. These items go well with virgin olive oil, fresh ground pepper, sea salt and perhaps a touch of fresh – squeezed lime.
Tartare – sea bass, tuna and salmon work best with virgin oil, sesame oil and rice vinegar or citrus.
Ceviche – great varieties are yellow tail snapper, Chilean bass, halibut, squid, Maine lobster, scallops, oysters and caviar.
Cherries – excellent in the late spring through the summer. Cherries are tasty right out of the box, great in pies and tarts. My favorite is to make a cold cherry soup. Reduce some red wine, add some sugar, orange zest and cherries. Chill and serve with coconut sorbet – a real winner.
Rhubarb – peel the stem, cut the leaves into small pieces. Add some port wine, sugar and slowly cook. Spice it up with fresh ginger, star anise ( for pies and tarts) and add some mixed berries. This recipe complements as a side dish with your favorite foods.
Bee Pollen – I love these sweet petals, because they taste like flowers, they are somewhat sugary and they are high in nutrients, great in salads or sprinkled on your favorite dessert or ice cream
Fava Beans – fresh beans are loaded with flavor. Look for the younger smaller pod. Remove the beans from the pod. Place them into lightly salted boiling water. Cook for 3 1/2 minutes then place them into ice water. They go well with everything, including meats, fish, salads or a side dish.
Spring Potatoes – Siberian, Purple Peruvian, German, Finger, Ashworth, Caribe, and Red Erik are to name a few. I like to use them on a regular basis. All potatoes should be firm, well shaped (for their type) and there should be no blemishes and wormhole free. There are hundreds of ways to prepare and serve spring potatoes.
English Peas – the best time of the year is March to April and August through November. Look for bright green pods. Remove the peas from the pods. They should be crunchy and full of sugar. Place them in salted boiling water and cook until tender.
TriStar Strawberries are very similar to the European Alpine strawberries. They are known in France as fraise des bois and they have a high sugar content with an exquisite taste. They are red and juicy and they are smaller in size and more flavorful than commercial strawberries. They have an excellent source of vitamin C and also provide some potassium and iron.
Corn on the Cob is a wonderful gift from the American Indians. They are many different varieties. My favorite is the white butter and sugar corn. Remove the cob from the husk. Carefully remove the silk by brushing it under light stream of cold running water with a soft nylon brush. Brush lightly so the kernels dont bruise.
Grilling is Hot Now!!
Tip for the summer – when using your grill, you want to keep one side hot and the oder side hotter. This way you can regulate your cooking if something starts to burn or you are cooking something that takes a long time you have to sides to work with on the grill to monitor the cooking time.
Tips for buying meat for grilling – purchase meat from a butcher with a good reputation and be sure you are buying the freshest available. Things to look for when buying beef or lamb: look for a bright red color and a proper amount of fat content for moisture and flavor – too much is not good. If you are buying veal make sure it has a white to light pink color ( not red),this tells us that it was milk fed. If you are buying pork , look for a light pink color. It should not feel slimy or slippery to touch. Make sure all meats smell, look and feel fresh.