There’s a certain hum of excitement as spring approaches. Because of our long, snowy winters here in Colorado, the arrival of spring is always a little delayed, but over the past few weeks I’ve noticed that the quiet of winter has been replaced by the sounds of life. It starts before dawn as I rise early to make the coffee. I can hear the birds through the closed and locked windows singing to each other in the darkness and beckoning me to slide the glass open and see what all the fuss is about. Out in the potager, the chives are always the first to emerge, blooming in brilliant purple plumes that are covered in bees of all shapes and sizes. Soon the sugar peas will bloom on the garden fence. The chickens are laying again – with each egg, the noisy fanfare of celebration. Farmer’s markets are finally opening up again here, with the first asparagus, tiny strawberries, baby lettuces, radishes and turnips. I think it’s safe to say that spring is finally here.
This spring feels like butterflies of anticipation leading up to an imminent party. Tiny flowers, like traces of confetti, signaling a grand celebration. For the occasion, I wanted to revisit some of my favourite spring recipes. These are the dishes I look forward to making when the days get long and warm and the earth awakens from her quiet hibernation. After a dark winter, these bright, fresh recipes are more welcome than ever.
Artichokes with Vinaigrette
There is such an elegance in the simplicity of an artichoke. In a world of fast-food and instant gratification, the art of eating an artichoke (and yes, it truly is an art) is a welcome change of pace. A delicious way to slow down and appreciate the changing of the seasons. Get the recipe here.
Wild Rice and Asparagus Salad
This past year has found us cooking more and more from the pantry as markets closed and grocery store trips were few and far between. Aside from the asparagus, which can be swapped out for any sturdy seasonal vegetable (green beans, carrots, radishes), this salad is made with common pantry staples. Get the recipe here.
Creamed Spinach Tart
Imagine everything we love about creamed spinach baked into a buttery, flakey tart shell. This recipe is the best of both worlds. Fresh spring spinach is combined with creamy ricotta and parmesan cheese and baked until golden and bubbly. Get the recipe here.
Roasted Leg of Lamb with White Beans
Lamb with white beans is a traditional Easter meal for many French families. For us, lamb is something we only eat in spring. The freshness of the meat and the creaminess of the beans make this part of a quintessential French feast. I often serve this with the asparagus soup below. Get the recipe here.
Give me a green soup and I’m in love. There are few things that feel as nourishing. This soup is made with fresh asparagus, rich cream and garden parsley. I save the tops of the asparagus stalks, lightly steam them and serve them as a pretty garnish. Get the recipe here.
Classic French Omelette
Mastering the art of French Omelette making is something to which we can all strive. And if we fail? Well, the results are delicious, nonetheless – especially covered with freshly cut garden herbs and radishes on the side. Get the recipe here.
Crêpes with Strawberries and Cream
These crêpes are perhaps more appropriate served as a Spring dessert, but in my family, we eat them for (an admittedly indulgent) Sunday brunch. Get the recipe here.
Cannellini Bean Tapenade
This twist on a tapenade is fresh and easy to make. I love to serve this when I’m entertaining. It’s the perfect addition to a charcuterie board. What’s easier than setting out a tray of sliced bread with an assortment of meats and cheeses, and a few vegetarian and vegan options like this cannelloni bean spread. Get the recipe here.
White Asparagus with Vinaigrette
I’m finally starting to see white asparagus pop up occasionally in markets here in the US, and what a treat! It’s a crime to cover it up with anything heavier than a light vinaigrette. This is a classic French preparation that can be applied to any delicate vegetable, from asparagus to leeks to cauliflower. Simply blanche the vegetables and drizzle them with a homemade vinaigrette. Get the recipe here.
This is a weeknight classic that comes together in minutes. The chicken is quickly seared then finished under the broiler. Serve it on a bed of fresh baby greens with a quick lemony orzo on the side. Get the recipe here.
I always have a little tin of culinary lavender in my spice cabinet. It’s a key component in herbes de Provence, but I use it whenever I want to add a floral note to my dishes. It’s particularly good in desserts like shortbread cookies and lemon cake. Or in drinks like lemonade or martinis. This gelato recipe immediately takes me to the South of France. Perfect for when spring days begin the transition to summer. Get the recipe here.
Lemon Meringues with Grand Marnier
I don’t think it’s any secret that I’m obsessed with everything lemon + meringue. Flavoured with bright citrus zest and a touch of Grand Marnier, these big, pillowy cookies are like a handheld lemon meringue pie. Get the recipe here.
Lemon Cake with Blueberries
Lemons and blueberries are a classic combination. I took my grandmother’s old-fashioned Gâteau au Citron, doubled the recipe and layered in fresh blueberries. Over the years, this has become a favourite spring-time dessert. Get the recipe here.
I would be remiss if I didn’t include a cocktail in this round-up. I use fresh, organic blueberries and local honey to make a blueberry syrup – the base of this super fresh, easy drinking vodka martini. Get the recipe here.