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Sunday, May 19, 2024

A Menu That Is Light and Fresh and Responds to the Times

Spring has sprung, and we are all waking up. Asparagus is beginning to appear in the market, along with green young turnips and the first pods of peas. Even beets, if given the opportunity, can be a bouncy vegetable.

I was in the mood for a light, fresh supper that was appropriate for the season. Earthy beets, with their leaves still attached, called at the market in vivid bunches. It was difficult to select between the ruby-red and the sunny gold ones since they were both so attractive.

Freshly roasted beets are well worth the time and work it takes to make them properly. You may prepare a batch of around a dozen at a time and store them in the refrigerator, ready to be used in salads or soups. I was looking for a zingy soup that had a tinge of borscht to it, but not in a wintery sense. As a result, I seasoned and tempered sweet beets with a splash of vinegar before pureeing them into a smooth purée in a blender. To balance out the richness of the soup’s taste, I slathered a generous quantity of yoghurt on top, garnished with tarragon and chives, and swirled it around. The good news is that it is as delicious hot or cold — and, in my opinion, is best served in little quantities.

The start of wild salmon season on the West Coast occurs in the springtime. When it comes to wild salmon, there is nothing quite like it: it just tastes better than farmed salmon and is always a more environmentally friendly option. (Should I treat myself to something special? Yes, with the exception of cities such as Seattle.) Take care not to overcook your salmon, whether it’s king salmon, coho salmon, or sockeye salmon: I place an order for one huge fillet of fish at the fish market. It is then laid flat on a baking pan and baked in a moderate oven for a few minutes, or until white juices emerge on the surface of the fish (about 5 minutes). This ensures that the salmon is juicy and flaky.

Using grated ginger and lime zest and juice, I made a butter sauce to be poured over the hot fillet of fish to bring out the flavour of the fish. I used the same butter to rapidly wilt a large pot of baby spinach, which served as a delicious side dish to the meal. Their additions were in line with the notion of fresh, bright, and springy, enhancing rather than diminishing the importance of the greens.

Despite the fact that summer’s riotous profusion receives more attention, the return of spring’s seasonal contributions to my basket seems like a genuine celebration. My spirits were lifted the other day when I came upon cherries while walking around the market circuit. Beautiful, glossy cherries picked fresh from the market are the perfect way to round off a dinner. Simply place them in a large mixing bowl and bring them to the table for an immediate delicious dessert.

If, on the other hand, you feel the need to offer a “genuine” dessert, try these simple cherries that have been somewhat gussied up. It’s actually just a more straightforward form of brandied cherries. The combination of almonds and cherries is a classic; in fact, the two are botanically connected to one another. Serving them in little glasses, maybe with some Italian almond biscuits, would be lovely, but spooning them over vanilla ice cream would be much more popular, and no one would object.

Jonathan James
Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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