I love the time of melting snow and air, loosening brooks and lakes and rivers, and the calls of the first returning birds. We rejoice the softening of the hard edges of winter as the ice melts, and rigid snowbanks transform into mush. The grainy ends of winter spill over the sides of the roads, and patches of clearing offer the first smells of earth. We dream of growing plants and accept as fair exchange the mold and the mud!
We long for green!
At first, there is nothing green, but we know it is coming. I try to practice patience, but long for the real foods that make up the spring and summer staples. I want something fresh. Something green and gorgeous, anything! What I want most is asparagus! But that will be a while yet.
We still have our own dairy products, milk, cheese, butter, and eggs, local meats if you are so inclined, and fish and seafood from New England waters, but we yearn for produce beyond the mixed greens and kale and gold-priced greenhouse tomatoes from our winter CSA. We are ready to leave the turnips behind for a while.
I often serve salad at breakfast and brunch! A lightly dressed salad of local greens is perfect alongside an omelette or other egg dish, and our guests at the inn have always loved that touch of acid on their plate to balance out the richness of the egg.
I need green and colorful, so I’m pulling out some of my favorite spring salad recipes. Salads of every color will find their way to the platter, and I’m always on the lookout for something different. Pink-stemmed alfalfa sprouts, watermelon radishes, beautiful candy-striped Italian heirloom chiogga beets and rainbow carrots, fiddlehead ferns, and, of course, pansies and other edible spring flowers.
Ugly Tomato Salad
These “ugly” local greenhouse tomatoes will have to do until the field grow come into being, months from now. These heirloom varieties are delicious, even when grown under glass. No recipe needed, just find colorful greens and interesting veggies to add to your tomatoes, top with nuts or seeds, and dress simply with oil and vinegar.