search
Loading
|  home | feedback | help          
StarChefs
Features Farm Fresh Markets Spring 2010
 
Farm Fresh Market Archive
FARM FRESH MARKETS: SPRING 2010
April 2010

They might not make it to the local park for an afternoon of kite-flying, but chefs and pastry chefs herald the arrival of spring in their own way. Winter recedes, taking its sharp chill and hard, icy ground with it, and from the warming soil sprout tender seedlings full of culinary promise. Shopping a farmers market in early spring is kind of like shopping the sample sale of a hot new designer—everybody wants a taste of what’s new. Stalls are flooded with fresh produce of every color and size, and most of it is young enough to serve naked or simply dressed.

And while some chefs spend each spring discovering exotic fruits and vegetables heretofore unknown, many chefs work tirelessly to find the best quality specimen of a time-honored spring staple and put it to good, often innovative, use in their kitchens. The best of them take dependable fruits and vegetables and use them to give spring seasonal menus backbone. For Farm Fresh Markets, spring, we look specifically to the magic that can be made when a common ingredient falls into uncommon hands.  

Asparagus
Timeless harbinger of spring, asparagus is known to show up in California as early as February, so West Coast chefs have likely already had their first taste of the season’s crop. But for the rest of us, this nutty green vegetable will likely be making its first significant appearance within days. And for chefs, the arrival of asparagus means a new element of crunchy texture and nutty, woodsy, herbaceous flavor that is bold enough to pair with other strong components on the plate. And because it can endure a variety of cooking methods, asparagus is also a versatile choice for the chef, whatever the menu concept. We’ve seen Chef Jon Besh pair white asparagus with smoked foie gras and Chef Sylvain Portay pair green asparagus with Parmesan and earthy morels. But Chef Mary Dumont of Boston’s Harvest restaurant opts for both green and white in her salad recipe, cutting through their natural earthiness with bright lemon sabayon and sweet, salty prosciutto.

Carrots
Owing to their hardiness, carrots are available all year long, but late spring is the season to harvest them at their youngest and sweetest. Planted in the early spring or early fall, the carrot will develop a leafy canopy of foliage, storing all of its sugar in the tap root (or carrot) below the ground. Even with its many colorful varieties, the carrot is fairly straightforward in its raw form, and only shows its innate versatility in the kitchen. The chef looking for potential shouldn’t look any further. Carrots can be steamed, grilled, chopped, shredded, puréed, and juiced. And they provide incredible natural sweetness and a floral earthiness redolent of tomato, making them boundary-crossers in the kitchen. No self-respecting pastry chef is without their own recipe for the raisin-studded classic, carrot cake. And savory dishes like Ferran Adrià’s Cloud of Carrot showcase the adaptability of the carrot to modern high-concept cooking.

Strawberry
Native to Europe and the Americas, the strawberry we know and love today has undergone generations of cross-cultivation. Supermarkets tend to stock the bulbous red varieties, often more watery than sweet, but most farmers markets will have smaller and more flavorful varieties available from April through June. Pastry chefs and chefs alike are doing so much to highlight the essence of the strawberry with modern and classic techniques, that the mundane “strawberry-flavor” of supermarket shelves could easily become a thing of the past. And whether they’e pulverized for a sorbet, dehydrated for a tart and sweet garnish, or aerated into an ethereal strawberry foam, strawberries always play a marquee role in the dishes and desserts of early spring.
 
Radishes
Radishes come in all shapes and sizes. Well, almost. The smallest are harvested in warmer weather, while larger specimens like the behemoth Daikon are common winter varieties. Although the red-skinned spherical type is the most common American cultivar, radishes can exhibit a healthy range of flavor and textural variations depending on their size, shape, and age. This gives the species as a whole immense versatility in the kitchen. We’ve seen chefs incorporate black radishes into compositional, kaiseki-style spring salads, while Asian specimens like the behemoth Daikon varieties can be steamed, puréed, baked, or sautéed depending on the chef’s perspective. The most prominent flavor characteristic of radishes is its raw bite, which chefs can amplify with acid or play against by adding elements of sweetness or buttery richness.

 

Restaurant Info

Gramercy Tavern 
42 East 20th Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 477-0777
www.gramercytavern.com

Harvest
44 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 868-2255
www.harvestcambridge.com

L’Auberge Carmel
Monte Verde Street
Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA 93923
(831) 624-8578
www.laubergecarmel.com

One Midtown Kitchen
566 Dutch Valley Road Northeast
Atlanta, GA 30324
(404) 892-4111
www.onemidtownkitchen.com

Salts
798 Main Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 876-8444
www.saltsrestaurant.com

Sona
401 North La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 659-7708
www.sonarestaurant.com

 

 

 

 

 
 
hotlinks_general_narrow
  • Photo Gallery of Chef Mary Dumont of Harvest – Boston, MA
  • Photo Gallery of Chef Louis Maldonado at Aziza – San Francisco, CA
  • 2010 Los Angeles Rising Star Chef Kuniko Yagi
  • 2007 New York Rising Star Chef Michael Anthony
  • 2007 Atlanta Rising Star Chef Drew Van Leuvan
  • 2009 Boston Rising Star Chef Gabriel Bremer
  • Rhubarb: About Rhubarb and More Recipes

  •  Sign up for our newsletters!|Print this page|Email this page to a friend
     QuickMeals   Chefs   Rising Stars   Hospitality Jobs   Find a School   Wine   Community   Features   Food Events   News   Ask the Experts   Tickets   Cookbooks
    About Us | Career Opportunities | Media Kit | StarChefs in the News | Site Map
    Please help keep StarChefs a free service by displaying our button on your website. Click here for details.
      Copyright © 1995-2014 StarChefs. All rights reserved.  | Privacy Policy