I keep waiting for spring and finally, today it knocked on the door. I know, officially it’s been here since March 21, but nothing about the world has felt springy. The temperatures have been so cold nothing will grow which means market offerings are skimpy; the skies have been roiling with winter clouds that threaten and sometimes deliver the deluge including snow, and spring flowers have timidly shown themselves, for good reason.
The upside to all of this is that what skimpy items there may be at the market are so full of flavor it’s “hallucinant”, hallucinating as the French might say. Seriously. When was the last time you steamed some fresh-from-the-ground spinach and nearly fell off the designer kitchen stool onto the artisan-tiled floor? Mache, which we call either corn salad or lamb’s lettuce, is always a thrill in the winter and this year, its violet flavor and meaty texture are more intense than usual. Spring turnips don’t need to be peeled at all this year, and after a quick braise they are so sweet and flavorful that even when I place my hand on my child’s head and swear to it, few believe they’re turnips. Then there are scallops from la Manche, the English Channel, that are fatter and tastier than usual because of the cold, cold water.
And along with all of this goodness, this morning I opened the door to a whole new world! It’s a feeling in the air rather than a temperature on the thermometer, which read about 8 degrees Celsius;46 degrees Fahrenheit. But it’s springlike nonetheless. There is an underlying warmth that a chilly breeze can’t dispel, tulips, hyacinths, and primroses have burst forth, the bachelor buttons are about to explode into their vivid blue, and I’ve added new cooking class dates to the schedule! All of these are true signs of spring.
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