One of my favorite things about buying and cooking vegetables is that sometimes even old staples can surprise you.
I don’t know how long I’ve been cooking with leeks, but it has definitely been awhile. Last week though I had a leek epiphany: they are amazing!
Usually I use leeks at the start of a vegetable sauté. Nothing was especially different on the day of my epiphany, except I decided to cut the leek slices a little thicker than usual and let them brown a bit more before tossing in the other vegetables.
I doubt the way I cut the leeks changed the flavor in any measurable way, but what it did was make them stick to the inside of the tongs I was using in chunks that were big enough for me to grab off and eat. Wow was I blown away.
So this week I was determined to stock up on leeks and experiment more with them. I was happy to see Dirty Girl Produce was selling leeks already cleaned, which I’m hoping will make storing and using them even easier.
Other than leeks, peas seem to be the star of the market right now. Sugar snap peas, English shelling peas and pea tendrils are everywhere and add a particular spring feeling to the market. I had a different agenda this week, but peas will soon be in my future.
Fava beans are also upon us and looking particularly beautiful. These are a labor-intensive vegetable, but well worth the effort as they are such a seasonal treat. I’m also loving artichokes these days, and will be sharing my favorite recipe later this week.
Spring salads should start making their way onto your menus soon. Seasonal lettuces like Miner’s lettuce, spinach and arugula are available, as are carrots, radishes and cucumbers.
Tomatoes are around too, though they still look much prettier than they taste. But I’m hopeful that they will be tasty soon, since I spotted my first basil this week.
Tiny broccolini are a vegetable I have been really enjoying the past few weeks, but it has been difficult to get a good picture of them until today. I like these because they are easier to work with than large broccoli crowns (just rinse and cook, no cutting) and are sweeter and more delicate. Definitely pick some up if you see them.
In fruit, strawberries are still the most exciting, though there is still a lot of delicious citrus available. But I’m really excited for the cherries and apricots I expect in the next few weeks.
And if you’re into flowers, you can’t go wrong this time of year at the farmers market.
- Fennel (Heirloom Organic Gardens)
- Carrots (Star Route Farms)
- Thyme (Star Route Farms)
- Watercress (Four Sisters Farm)
- Leeks (Dirty Girl Produce)
- Shallots (Dirty Girl Produce)
- Russian kale (Dirty Girl Produce)
- Ruby chard (Dirty Girl Produce)
- Asparagus (Zuckerman’s Farm)
- Meyer lemons (Hamada Farms)
- Mediterranean cucumbers (Happy Quail Farms)
- Three Africans coffee (Blue Bottle Coffee)