Five recipes to showcase the season’s hallmark ingredients.
ASPARAGUS AND EGGS WITH HERBED MAYONNAISE
Asparagus and silky freshly made mayo is an elegant combination — add hard-boiled eggs, and the recipe recalls the classic French oeufs durs mayonnaise. The addition also gives the dish enough heft to serve as a light dinner or lunch. If you’re concerned about consuming raw egg, use the yolk from a pasteurized one for the mayonnaise.
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for the asparagus
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons safflower oil
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons each chopped fresh chives and celery leaves
1 tablespoon each chopped fresh tarragon and parsley
1½ pounds thin asparagus, tough ends removed, spears peeled, if desired
In a liquid measuring cup, mix the oils. In a large bowl, whisk together the yolk, mustard, lemon juice, and ½ teaspoon salt. Whisking continuously, very slowly drizzle the oil into the yolk mixture until all the oil is incorporated and the mayonnaise is thick (if you find it too thick, whisk in up to 2 teaspoons of room-temperature water, 1 teaspoon at a time). Add the chives, celery leaves, tarragon, and parsley, and whisk to blend. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Scrape the herbed mayonnaise into a serving bowl (you should have about 1 cup) and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, place the eggs in a single layer and cover with cool water by about 1 inch. Set the pan over medium-high heat and watch as the water comes to a boil. As soon as the first bubbles break the surface, turn off the heat, cover the pan, and rest the eggs for 9 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to a medium bowl, sharply shake the bowl to crack the eggs’ shells, and immediately fill the bowl with ice water to stop the cooking. Rest the eggs in the ice water until they are no longer warm to the touch, about 10 minutes. Starting at the wide end (where there is an air pocket), peel the eggs and, if necessary, rinse under cool running water to wash away any residual bits of shell, then dry them. Quarter the eggs lengthwise and set aside.
Meanwhile, return the saucepan to high heat and bring the water to a boil. Add 2 teaspoons salt and the asparagus, replace the cover, and cook until just barely tender, about 2½ minutes (a little longer for thicker spears). Working quickly, drain the asparagus, then dry with paper towels. Arrange in the center of a warm serving platter, drizzle lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with pepper to taste. Arrange the egg quarters on the platter, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, dollop about ½ teaspoon mayonnaise on each one, and serve at once, passing the remaining mayonnaise alongside.
- QUINOA WITH FAVA BEANS, RADISHES, AND FETA Makes about 8 cups I like to use mild French feta — sold in many grocers alongside the sharper Greek kind — in this recipe. Salt and pepper 4 pounds fresh fava beans, shelled (about 4 cups) 1 cup quinoa, rinsed in a strainer under cool running water 10 medium radishes, quartered (about 1 cup) 3½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 medium shallot, finely chopped 1 garlic clove, minced 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 cup crumbled mild feta ½ cup snipped fresh chives In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and the fava beans and cook to soften the skins, about 2½ minutes. With a slotted spoon or skimmer, remove the beans to a medium bowl (do not drain the pot) and set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, slip off the skin from each bean; discard the skins and set the beans aside (you should have about 2 cups). Return the water in the pot to boiling, add the quinoa, cook until almost tender, about 10 minutes, and drain in a strainer. Add about 2 inches of water to the pot, return it to medium heat, and bring to a simmer. Set the strainer over (but not touching) the simmering water, cover the quinoa with a clean, folded kitchen towel, place the pan lid over the strainer, and steam until the quinoa is tender and dry, about 10 minutes. Spread the quinoa on a large rimmed baking sheet to cool, then fluff it with a fork. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, dissolve 2 teaspoons salt in 1 quart of very cold water. Add the radishes and soak while preparing the dressing, then drain, rinse, and dry well. In a large bowl, mix the lemon juice, shallot, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Vigorously whisk in the oil. Add the quinoa, fava beans, and radishes, and, using a flexible spatula, fold from the bottom up to distribute the dressing and coat the quinoa and vegetables. Add the feta and most of the chives, and fold to mix. Taste and adjust the seasoning with additional salt, if necessary, and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with the remaining chives and serve at once.
- ROASTED SPRING ONIONS WITH MUSTARD BREAD CRUMBS Serves 6 I like the texture of coarse bread crumbs in this dish, terrific alongside steaks, burgers, pork chops, or roasts. Alternatively, you can leave out the bread crumbs and just drizzle the onions with 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar as soon as they come out of the oven. 12 whole spring onions (about 2¼ pounds), roots trimmed and greens cut to about 3 inches 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil Salt and pepper 2 tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme 1 cup fresh bread crumbs, preferably coarse ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley With the rack in the center position, heat the oven to 450 degrees. Spread the onions in a single layer in a 2-quart shallow baking dish (trim green ends to fit, if necessary), drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil, and roll them to coat with the oil. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper to taste, roll them again to distribute the seasonings, and roast until deep brown in spots, about 25 minutes, turning over the onions halfway through. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining oil, mustard, thyme, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Add the bread crumbs and 3 tablespoons parsley, and toss. Remove the baking dish from the oven and adjust the heat to 400 degrees. Roll the onions again in the oil, sprinkle bread crumbs over them, and continue roasting until the onions are tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife and the crumbs are deeply browned, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature, sprinkling with remaining parsley just before serving.
- BEETS WITH RHUBARB AND ORANGE Makes about 8 cups You can save the pink-tinted liquid left over from poaching the rhubarb to sweeten lemonade or iced tea. This recipe is adapted from Bonappetit.com. 1 cup sugar Salt and pepper ¾ pound trimmed rhubarb stalks, cut diagonally into ½-inch-thick slices 2 large oranges, 2 teaspoons finely grated zest reserved 1½ tablespoons lemon juice 1 tablespoon orange marmalade 1 medium shallot, minced (about ¼ cup) ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil 8 medium beets (about 2 pounds), roasted, peeled, halved, and cut into ½-inch-wide half-moons 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 1½ cups water, sugar, and a pinch of salt to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the rhubarb, submerge it, return the liquid to a strong simmer, adjust the heat to medium-low, and simmer until it is barely tender, about 45 seconds (do not overcook). Using a slotted spoon or skimmer, transfer the rhubarb to a platter, spread it into a single layer, and cool completely. Meanwhile, with a knife, remove the peel and pith from the oranges and, working over a strainer set in a bowl, cut segments free of the membranes and reserve. In a large nonreactive bowl, mix the orange zest, lemon juice, marmalade, shallot, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Vigorously whisk in the oil. Add the beets and stir to coat with the dressing. Add the rhubarb, oranges, and most of the mint, and fold to mix. Taste and adjust the seasoning with additional salt, if necessary, and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with the remaining mint and serve at once.
- ROMAN-STYLE BRAISED ARTICHOKES Serves 6 These artichokes are trimmed and simply braised with mint, garlic, and olive oil. Artichokes discolor quickly, so as soon as you trim each one, rub it with a piece of lemon and put it in the bowl of lemon water. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus ¼ of a lemon 6 medium artichokes, about 8 ounces each 4 large garlic cloves, minced ½ cup chopped fresh mint ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil Salt and pepper 1 cup dry white wine Add the lemon juice to a large bowl of cool water and set aside. Working one at a time, trim each artichoke’s stem to about 1½ inches and, with a sharp chef’s knife, chop off the top third of the artichoke. Working around the base, bend back and snap off the leaves with your fingers until you reach the very pale, thin inner leaves. With a paring knife, trim off the dark green outer layer of the stem and base of the artichoke and rub all over with the cut lemon. Gently bend back the pale center leaves (leaving them attached) to reveal the inner prickly leaves and the hairy choke. With a paring knife and a grapefruit spoon (a teaspoon will work), cut and scrape away the inner leaves and the choke, taking care not to remove the heart. Immediately add the trimmed artichoke to the lemon water while working on the others and repeat with the remaining artichokes. In a small bowl, mix the garlic, mint, 3 tablespoons of the parsley, 2 tablespoons of the oil, and ½ teaspoon salt. Working one at a time, remove an artichoke from the lemon water, fill the cavity with about 1½ teaspoons of the garlic-mint mixture, and place stem-up in a deep pan (with a cover) just wide enough to hold all the artichokes upright; repeat with the remaining artichokes. Rub any remaining garlic-mint mixture on the exposed bases of the artichokes. Add the remaining 6 tablespoons oil, wine, and ⅔ cup of water to the pan, set the pan over medium-high heat, and bring the liquid to a strong simmer. Cover, adjust the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the artichokes are tender when poked with a paring knife, 20 to 30 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the artichokes to a deep serving platter and set aside. Return the pan to high heat and boil the liquid until it is reduced to about ⅔ cup, about 9 minutes. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt, if necessary, and pepper to taste, and pour it around the artichokes. Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkling with the remaining parsley just before serving. Adam Ried writes the Globe Magazine’s Cooking column. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.