In Season: Spring 2021
Rhubarb. Ramps. Morel Mushrooms. These are just a few of the ingredients chefs are using on their menus to showcase the best of spring. We’ve documented some of this season’s most delicious offerings all across the country.
Discover, explore, get inspired. This is In Season.
“Local white asparagus grown like the famous ones from Holland, yes please,” says the team at Kali Restaurant, where 90% of the menu is organic and sustainable. Limburg, Holland is known for growing thick, juicy jumbo white asparagus, but Kali is sourcing their giant Delta asparagus from Zuckerman’s, a local family farm in Stockton, California. It’s prepared with black garlic, mustard frills, and pickled egg. Find it on the takeout menu alongside dry-aged ribeyes and creamy spring pea risotto.
The name says it all. This hyper-seasonal eatery in Baltimore, MD curates each menu item with ingredients foraged from nature. This spring, the team is getting creative with garlic mustard, an often intrusive growing plant but a healthful and delicious herb nonetheless. Its sweet and garlicky flavor brings serious zing. Sautée these greens or add them to a salad. It’s important to remember that garlic mustard can overpower a recipe if you’re cooking with it at home. foraged has re-opened for indoor dining, book a table Thursday – Saturday.
New York City
When we think of Japan in the spring, the country’s famous cherry blossoms come to mind. Cherries, or sakura, symbolize rebirth and rejuvenation. Tsukimi, located in the heart of NYC’s East Village, is celebrating the season with a special wagashi course inspired by the illuminating cherry blossoms on display all over Japan. Book the multi-course experience and indulge in wagashi, a traditional Japanese confection to celebrate the sweet start of spring.
Wild-grown morel mushrooms thrive in wooded areas of North America and Europe. These earthy mushrooms have a short season, typically from March to June. Morels were one of the first spring ingredients to hit the menu come March at Crockers Tring, a fine dining spot located in Tring, England, just thirty minutes outside of London. Here, they’re served with beef, spring peas, pea tendrils, and beef jus. But don’t expect this dish to last. Like the elusive morel, the menu continuously evolves with available produce.
Rossoblu’s pastry chef, Rose Wilde, is utilizing rhubarb, the beloved pink perennial vegetable, or what she calls “the queen of the season” on her spring menu. This rustic crostata is made with organic brown sugar and poppy seed curd. It’s topped with Sfumato Rhubarb Amaro-infused whipped ricotta, which Wilde says gives the dessert a “smokey earthiness.” Order it from Rossoblu this Saturday, April 17th, in support of Asian Americans Advancing Justice LA and The Brady Campaign.
Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie
King Pea Tips
King pea tips (or snow pea tips) are a bold, yet delicate green that packs a big punch. According to Serious Eats, “Around this time of year Chinese vegetable stands are full of snow pea tips, which, contrary to their name, don’t actually refer to the tips of the pods but rather, the leafy growth near the pods.” These delicate Asian greens can be found on the menu at Vancouver’s Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie. They’re cooked with garlic and Shaoxing (rice fermented Chinese wine) for a perfect savory side dish.
New York City
Asparagus is one of the first vegetables to greet us on springtime menus. Its versatile taste changes tremendously as it easily soaks up flavors from other ingredients while cooking. Aureole, a mainstay in NYC, has introduced a spring asparagus salad with roasted sunchoke, crème fraîche, and truffle vinaigrette that’s available to-go. Pick it up and pair it with your favorite pét-nat for a picnic in Central Park.
Despite their name and popular belief, baby artichokes are fully mature artichokes. They’re just smaller because they grow on the lower part of the stalk and are shielded from the sun, which stunts their growth. Delicious roasted, grilled, sautéed, or steamed, the baby artichoke adds a fresh and earthy taste to springtime dishes. The team at Fiola in Washington, DC has made this ingredient center stage in their Baby Artichoke Romana dish with poached and crispy artichokes, smashed English peas, and Parmigiano Vacche Rosse.
Peas are one of the oldest cultivated crops with origins in western Asia and North Africa. Commonly thought of as a vegetable, the pea is actually a small legume with a powerful nutritious punch. Their sweetness is unusually versatile and pairs great with dishes that have a little kick. At Parachute in Chicago, chef Beverly Kim has introduced a vegan mapo tofu to the menu with phoenix bean tofu, chili oil, rice, and locally-sourced peas. Spice up your spring and get this traditional Sichuan Province dish to-go.
Pastry chef Aiko Uchigoshi creates bespoke dessert masterpieces at Miku Toronto’s Japanese-inspired bakery. She is perhaps best known for her stunning “seasonally-Haute” family-sized fruit tarts. Hailing from Yamaguchi, Japan, Uchigoshi incorporates Japanese flavors, French techniques, and the season’s best ingredients. Through the month of April, you can order the stunning Express Sakura & Strawberry Amarena Cherry Tart. It’s made with shortbread crust, crispy meringue, and strawberry jelly, then topped with edible gold leaf and dill.
While many of us associate spruce trees with winter, bright green spruce tips are actually ripe for the picking in early spring. According to Backyard Forager, “In early spring, spruce trees produce feathery new growth covered in brown, papery sheaths. If you pull off one of the sheathes, you’ll see young needles, just beginning to expand.” This unique ingredient has a bright and citrus-forward flavor profile. They’re used in both sweet and savory dishes, in syrups, sugars, and steeped for tea. At Chicago’s Smyth, you can find spruce on the milk chocolate ganache with black raspberry. They call it a “beautiful mix of sweetness and earth.”
Ms Chi Cafe
All hail wild ramp season, the short-lived window where delicious spring onions emerge from the soil. “Chefs around the country all geek out on ramps,” says chef Shirley Chung. At Ms Chi Cafe, she’s making ramp pancakes with charred ramps, Chiangkang vinegar, and Fresno chili confit. In honor of her favorite way of eating ramps (with burnt toast and burrata), this vegan rendition uses whipped tofu to mimic the burrata.