Saturday, May 18, 2013

Honoring the Seasons - Spring

Spring has finally arrived for real in New York, and the markets are brimming with interesting things, particularly greens at this point. So I set off to the Union Square Market to see what was in season and to develop ideas for using the season's bounty.

The things that most inspired me were new garlic, ramps and rhubarb. So I bought bunches and, upon returning home, decided what to do with them.

First, I made ramp risotto, using the bulbs as the onion/shallot component and the leaves in lieu of arugula or similar greens. I sliced the delicate cloves of new garlic as thinly as possible and threw them uncooked into the risotto about five minutes before it was done; this was enough to cook them lightly without losing their delicate flavor. The verdict: so-so. It needed lots more ramps and lots more garlic and still I'm not sure it would have been wonderful. Perhaps the ramps and new garlic are just too subtle for risotto.

Ramp and new garlic risotto
Second, I made a rhubarb,strawberry and ginger compote, which I served as an accompaniment to home-made ginger ice cream (from David Lebovitz's Perfect Scoop) with crushed ginger snaps for texture and zip. This was a very good dessert and, even though I had to use non-local (but at least USA) strawberries, it was a nice tribute to spring.

Rhubarb strawberry ginger compote with ginger ice cream
Even though the risotto was not a great success, it felt good to welcome the local terroir back into our lives.

Bobby Jay


Amanda said...

The risotto looks really good. I have all David's books but have never cooked anything from them. Sometimes I make a compote with just some water, rhubarb and sugar and eat it when it is still warm, just because I can't wait for it to cool down.

Bobby Jay said...

My risotto technique comes from Judith Barrett and Norma Wasserman's "Risotto," which has a lot of good recipes and a foolproof method that enables one to improvise (as I have done here).