Was it really 70 degrees yesterday? Was I really wearing flip-flops this weekend? Did I haul a load of winter clothes to the storage bins in the basement?
Yes, yes, and yes. What seemed impossible a bit ago is now really happening: everything is sunshine and green and yellow and fresh and new.
I have a bowl of meyer lemons in the fridge and dreams of lemon tarts in my head.
I’m ready for you, radishes. You, too, asparagus. Get ready.
In the meantime, here are some dishes–suggestions about putting good things together rather than formal recipes–that have come out of my kitchen lately that reflect this long- anticipated change in seasons.
1) Chicken, green olives, orange, pimenton
Mix together some pimenton (smoked Spanish paprika), salt, and coarse black pepper. Sprinkle all over some chicken breasts (from chickens that have had a good life, the best education, wireless internet access, etc.), coating them well. Sear them on both sides in a frying pan with plenty of olive oil. Take them out, and add some chopped shallots to the pan juices. Add some sherry vinegar and reduce a bit. To this add chopped and pitted green olives with fennel from Morgan and York – or any good green olive will do. Warm through, and add the chicken breasts back to the pan. Then tuck in some orange wedges, and put the whole thing into a 350 degree oven till the chicken is done but still juicy.
Be very happy with the results.
2) Pork chops and gremolata, braised fennel
Cut some fennel into wedges and sautee in olive oil until brown. Add a cup of white wine, some fennel fronds, and salt. Add some thyme if you have it. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the fennel is soft and fragrant.
Coat the pork chops generously with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a pan and fry on each side for about 5 minutes. Don’t overcook ’em.
Chop up some parsley, garlic, and lemon zest.
To plate the dish: arrange fennel on the dish, top with pork chop, and sprinkle the pork with the parsley-garlic-lemon mixture.
3) Seared scallops w/ hoophouse greens
Sear some scallops that you’ve generously salted + peppered (a theme emerges!),
grab a handful or three of hoophouse greens that you picked up at the Farmer’s Market from ace local farmer Shannon Brines,
make a little Vietnamese dressing with lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, and sambal.
Arrange scallops and greens on the plate, douse with the sauce, and serve:
Taste. Think of spring. Rinse. Repeat.