Spring is truly the greening of America, when gardens and markets across the nation are flushed with the first colors of the season—from green vegetables and herbs such as asparagus, fennel, peas, scallions, dill, chives, and mint to the bright reds of luscious strawberries, tart rhubarb, and earthy beets. Our menu is abundant with textures and tastes, from creamy risotto laced with fennel and crunchy sugar-snap peas to crisp, pungent greens and firm beets. And, as the pièce de résistance—the sweet burst of flavor from fresh berries.
I like to serve asparagus and scallions together as a seasonal first course or side dish. Count on about four asparagus spears and three scallions per person. Serve them with crusty bread and a bowl of olives or radishes.
Risotto is made with fat-grained arborio rice, which is best cooked with the lid off and frequent stirring. The resulting texture is firm but creamy. In this recipe, the sweetness of fennel and snow peas is set off by salty Parmesan and a touch of lemon juice.
Choose red and golden beets or striped Chioggias for visual impact in this colorful salad. The sweet, earthy beet flavor combined with tangy feta and pungent greens make this tasty salad unforgettable.
This old-fashioned, biscuit-style shortcake spotlights any fresh fruit. Sometimes I put all the ingredients on the table and let guests assemble their own. For a more toothsome biscuit, substitute a half cup of whole-wheat flour for a half cup of the unbleached.