Spring is in the air bringing with it longer days, the promise of good weather and the first hints of the summer harvest to come. Thoughts turn to the lighter foods of sunny days - simple dishes with uplifting flavours.
Enjoy the year’s first salad with pale, delicate English cucumbers, peppery watercress and tender young spring onions. Or a classic spring feast of roast lamb and rosemary, creamed spinach and buttered Jersey Royals.
This month Jersey Royals and Spring Onions are fresh and full of flavour this month, but don’t forget to see what else is in season and perfect for eating right now.
Jersey Royal New Potatoes
Grown exclusively on the island of Jersey, these fresh new potatoes are grown in carefully nurtured soils that benefit from the Jersey climate. They have a light, thin and papery skin, with a delicate flesh and distinctive flavour. Delicious simply steamed and served with butter and chopped herbs, or try adding fried bacon, Parmesan shavings or chopped olives. For a tasty barbecue salad, steam until tender, toss in olive oil, skewer and barbecue until crisp.
A good source of vitamin C.
Spring Onions are very young onions, harvested before the bulb has had a chance to swell. Both the long, slender green tops and the small white bulb are edible, and are good either raw or cooked. Eaten raw they add both heat and crispness to a salad. Early spring onions are young and tender, and have a vibrant yet mild flavour. Also good chopped, cooked and folded into creamy mashed potatoes for a fabulous Irish champ.
High in fibre and a source of vitamin C.
Tender spinach leaves add freshness to spring cooking - serve as a side dish, or add to salads for colour and flavour. Use quick cooking methods for maximum freshness and flavour. Try adding a few toasted pine nuts and a sprinkling of raisins for a sweet, nutty contrast or add a handful at the last minute to curries, risottos, and creamy pasta dishes. Versatile and tasty, spinach combines well with other ingredients like cream, cheese and eggs.
High in fibre and a source of iron.
Clean tasting, crisp, mild and refreshing, cucumber is usually served raw, however, once the seeds are removed it’s also good cooked. Try it in stir-fries or sautéed with mint to accompany roast lamb. When flavoured with bacon or ham and onion it makes a great soup that can be served hot or cold. For a delicious tzatziki, remove seeds, grate and mix with Greek yogurt, mint, lemon juice, garlic and a splash of olive oil. Serve as a dip or with juicy homemade lamb burgers. Or slice into chunks and drizzle with a soy ginger dressing, and sprinkle with chopped peanuts for a Vietnamese style side salad.
A source of fibre.
These delicious leaves are one of the stronger tasting salad leaves due to their peppery flavour. Watercress is available all year round which makes it perfect for many different meals occasions. Add a handful to any salad or stir-fry, blitz into a soup, or stir through pasta. Alternatively, add a little to your favourite sandwich for some added bite.
A good source of iron