Yes, spring is finally here! And with it comes a bounty of fresh eats to enjoy. But as we step away from winter’s hearty soups and casseroles and transition to salads and lighter fare, let’s talk about what it means to eat seasonally.
We are lucky to have unlimited access to different food, which enables us to have our favorites year-round. But watermelon in the middle of February is not only tasteless, it isn’t as nutrient-dense as it is when it’s freshly picked in the summer. Produce picked at its peak is not only fresh and delicious, it is also more abundant than out-of-season ingredients, so prices are often much lower—as though we needed another incentive to indulge in yummy local veggies and fruits.
We naturally crave what fuels our body and our activities, so in the warmer weather we tend to gravitate toward what can be prepared quickly to stay outdoors longer. Now is the time to skip slow cooked meals and use clean foods from the earth served raw or quickly cooked to let natural flavors shine through. Shop local farms or create your own garden, like I do, to be sure you are getting the best the season has to offer.
Planting has long been a passion of mine. A trick of mine is keeping a greenhouse all year long so that when spring arrives, I am ready to get fruits and veggies into the ground as soon as possible. Starting with avocado trees and radishes, I take advantage of the longer pacific northwest growing season to expand my plot to include lettuces, tomatoes, jalapenos and so much more. In my new cookbook, Debbie Macomber's Table, I share a recipe for Tomatillo Salsa that is a great way to use all of the veggies I have an abundance of each season.
Here is a recipe featuring veggies that are in season, cook it and enjoy the flavors of the season.
Spring Vegetable Frittata
1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
½ pound asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 green onions, whites minced and tops thinly sliced
8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
½ cup frozen peas
½ cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
Preheat the broiler.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, mustard, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Set aside.
Heat the butter over medium-high heat in an oven-safe nonstick skillet*. Add the asparagus and the whites of the green onions (set aside the tops for later). Cook for 3-4 minutes, until asparagus is almost tender. Add the mushrooms and peas; continue to cook for 5-7 minutes, until asparagus and mushrooms are tender and lightly browned.
Add the eggs and cook for 1 minute, gently pushing the curds around the pan. Sprinkle the goat cheese and green onion tops on top. Transfer to the broiler, and broil for 2-3 minutes, until lightly puffed and just set (check regularly to make sure it doesn’t burn). Remove from oven and let sit 1 minute before slicing. Serve immediately.
*If your nonstick skillet is not oven-safe, slide the frittata onto a baking sheet to broil.