April is just around the corner and it’s the beginning of some of the best spring produce for the northwest. It’s been an unusually warm winter so we’re already enjoying foods from our gardens. Beautiful leeks, chives, thyme, mint, kale, chard, beets and a few potatoes that we planted in late fall have contributed to some of our favorite soups and salads. The herbs are brilliant just chopped and tossed onto your dishes, but making a quick fresh herb pistou with good green olive oil is a treat that makes grilled meats or vegetables fabulous. Adding pistou as an enhancement to soups, sauces and salads will get you standing ovations from your family and friends. It’ll knock their socks off. Alongside salads, grilled meats and vegetables, try roasting spring leeks, garlic and new red potatoes with a little olive oil, sea salt and fresh herb chop. The brightness of the roasted leeks punches up the richness of the garlic and brings out the sweetness of the new potatoes. Sometimes just this is the meal!
At the bottom of this post, we’ve provided a couple of easy recipes that highlight two of our favorite spring vegetables; fava beans and garlic scapes. Take a peak!
Depending on the region, April also brings us the royalty of produce. Here are a few to keep your eye on:
- brussel sprouts
- peas and pea shoots
- wild mushrooms
- spring greens
- fava beans
- fiddlehead ferns
- sweet onions and shallots
- garlic scapes
- and even a smattering of berries.
While not all of these are grown in the northwest, they will be available in our markets and stores
Fava Bean Soup
1 large onion, chopped
- 1 small leek, washed and chopped (white parts only)
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 T good green extra virgin olive oil
- 1 T butter
- 3 C chicken stock, homemade or store bought
- 3 C fava beans, blanched and peeled
- 3 T Parmesan or Asiago cheese (optional, but good)
- 1/2 tsp each Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 C chopped organic chives (or fresh mint)
In a medium stock pot, saute onion and leek in olive oil and butter. Sauce for 4 – 5 minutes, then add in garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add in chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Add fava beans and cook for about 8-10 minutes, until tender. Stir in Parmesan cheese if using. With an emersion blender, blend ingredients until smooth Season with salt and pepper. Add lemon juice and stir. Serve in warm bowls with a garnish of chives or mint – or both!
Pickled Garlic Scapes
This is a recipe I found recently. A few years back we made an amazing Asian inspired cold noodle salad and garnished each one with pickled garlic scapes. Huge hit! I need to do this again!
Click on the link below for the Pickled Garlic Scape recipe and please let us know what you think! Thank you!
I made your fava bean soup with frozen beans from last year’s garden harvest and it was great. It came together quickly and had a delicious nutty flavor. The mint is a great addition.
I was just thinking about you! Thank you for posting Vanessa Girl! You’re one of the best chefs I know, so I’m sure you took this soup up a notch from mine! Glad I could give you a foundation for your creation. XOXO