Spring into the Kitchen

Now in Season Spring 2011 Issue

Spring into the Kitchen

By Terese Allen | Photo By Jim Klousia 0

Is there anyone who appreciates spring more than a Northerner? Not likely. Who could possibly feel any giddier about the fact that winter is over? Gone, finally, is the huddle-before-the-hearth season. We fling open doors, inhale honest air and soak up the balm. If we could, we’d hug the porch, the deck, our garden plots, so happy are to be with them again.

Gone, too, is our need for the soft, muddled comfort foods of winter. We want crunch and vibrancy and clean flavors. We crave unambiguous dishes and ingredients with a strong sense of self. Think: a platter of fat asparagus, a bowl of green garlic dip, a skillet of wild morels, so hot and buttery they jump.

And salads. Good lord, bring on the salads. Bring on the spring leaves: lemony sorrel, peppery watercress, sweet spinach and chard. Lettuces with impudent names like Amish Deer Tongue and Red Leprechaun, and fresh herbs that court and spark.

There’s an impatience about mealtime—we’ve out-waited winter, just please don’t make us wait any longer for dinner. Both cooks and diners are weary of slow-simmered stews and earth-toned ingredients. What quickens the culinary senses are fast, colorful dishes one can prepare with abandon—a farmers market stir-fry, watercress puree soup, strawberries and whipped cream.

So we rough-chop vegetables and toss pastas. We boil eggs and grill fish. We riff. And we welcome the spring season as only a Northerner can—with unmatched appreciation.

Visit our Eat Seasonal page to find out what foods are in season right now and enjoy these springtime recipes by Terese which accompany this article:

Raw Sugar Snap Pea Salad 

Fiddlehead Fern and Hydroponic Tomato Salad

Arugula Almond Sauce


Terese Allen has written scores of articles and books about Wisconsin’s food traditions and culinary culture, including the award-winning The Flavor of Wisconsin, The Flavor of Wisconsin for Kids, and Wisconsin Local Foods Journal. She is food editor for Organic Valley, president of the Culinary History Enthusiasts of Wisconsin (CHEW) and a longtime director of REAP Food Group, the cutting-edge food and sustainability organization based in Madison. She is hungry all the time.

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