The thing about early spring, at least here in the Hudson Valley, is that it basically looks and feels exactly like winter. For most of March and even into April, it’s cold and damp, and nothing in the garden will grow. During these dog days, a bright and zingy citrus salad feels like a life-saver. And it’s simplicity itself: juicy, sweet blood oranges (and a few mandarins for variety’s sake), tossed with crisp endive and some quick-pickled red onions. Toss over a little peppery mint and pistachios for crunch and that’s it. A drizzle of good olive oil and a sprinkle of flaky salt is all the dressing it needs.
If fresh, local asparagus is in the stores, it must be early Spring. This vegetable is one of the first to beckon in the new season and herald an end to Winter. We simmer the delicate white asparagus spears until they become tender and sweet, then drizzle them with a homemade aioli flavored with black garlic, lemon, and miso. It’s both simple and incredibly delicious.
Note: This recipe will work just as well with green asparagus, if that’s what you have (and the Black Garlic Aioli is delicious on just about anything. It’s crazy good).
If, like us, you have a mountain of basil in your garden, go make pesto! And then make this pesto couscous salad and feel damn proud of yourself.
With great gardening power comes great gardening responsibility. Namely, what the heckings do I do with the huge jungle of basil that is currently exploding in my front garden? Well fair reader, I’m glad you asked.
The first thing I did was make Basil Pesto with Walnuts and Pecorino. Holy moly, is it tasty. (I list a whole bunch of uses for it on that post but this magnificent salad deserved a post of its very own).
The idea came about because Matt and I had plans to go to a Sangria Festival at a local winery with some friends (and yes, this event is exactly as fun as it sounds.) We’ve gone the last few years and had an absolutely amazing time. It’s basically a huge picnic, with the most incredible views of the Hudson River, and endless access to refreshingly delicious but dangerously potent sangrias. It’s a week later and I’m still recuperating (#old).