Three thousand or some odd number of miles separates the coasts, but one thing remains the same if you’re a chef in New York or San Francisco: it’s Spring! Markets are filled with verdant and vibrant colors, flavors, and smells. Here’s how six chefs from the left and right coasts take advantage of the fertile season.
Wild Nettle Ravioli with Fresh California Snails
Chef Mark Dommen of One Market – San Francisco, CA
Taking the sting out of nettles is simple: you cook ‘em. The prickly hairs that cause irritation become innocuous, and the pleasant bitter, green flavor shines through. Dommen pairs these nettle-stuffed ravioli with snails in a butter-enriched sauce and an emulsion made with spring garlic – another seasonal specialty.
Smoked Lobster with Fennel Puree and Ramp Sauce
Chef Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern – New York, NY
It’s all about aromatics in this first course dish showcasing both the more restrained and potent sides of Spring bounty in fennel and ramps. Anthony combines the subtle smokiness of the lobster with the sweetness of fennel and the pungency of ramps.
House-Cured Duck Prosciutto with White Asparagus and Coddled Duck Egg
Chef David Michael Coleman of Tocqueville – New York, NY
Not quite as revered here in the U.S. as it is in Europe (particularly Germany), white asparagus are grown underground, without exposure to sunlight, which prevents the chlorophyll from turning the spears green. These cousins to the more common green asparagus are thicker and juicier with a delicate earthy flavor.
English Pea Pansotti with Asparagus-Herb Salad and Mascarpone Foam
Chef Daniel Eardley of Chestnut – Brooklyn, NY
A Spring two-fer: English peas and asparagus – you can’t go wrong. The pansotti are large and stuffed with a fresh pea-dominant filling; asparagus and herbs serve as a salad and garnish, and the mascarpone foam adds a light richness.
Chantenay Carrot Soup
Chef Jonnatan Leiva of Jack Falstaff – San Francisco, CA
Chantenay carrots are named for a town in England where they were grown in abundance until mid-20th century, when the larger cello-packed carrots bumped them off the market. Now revived and prized for their sweetness and bold “carrot” flavor, the stubby, broad-shouldered root veg are becoming increasingly available and are ideal for a single ingredient soup like this one.
Angel Hair Pasta with Morels, Lemon, and Fingerling Potatoes
Chef Alex Guarnaschelli of Butter – New York, NY
Another rite of Spring, the season for the wild honey-combed fungus runs from approximately mid-April through mid-June (the cultivated variety appear on and off throughout the year). Guarnaschelli adds dry vermouth to the morels to accentuate their natural deep, earthy flavor; the lemon cream sauce simultaneously enriches and brightens the profile of the dish.