One of the most brutal winters in history still has a grip on a large part of the country, but it hasn't kept chefs from dreaming about favorite spring ingredients and recipes. Here’s a look at what they can’t wait to start using.
Joey Campanaro, chef/owner of The Little Owl and The Clam in New York City: While I'm here in Miami I can't wait to eat tomatoes again. But once the weather warms up back home, I'll be making a salad with halibut. I broil the fish and dress it with a pesto aioli and top it with a salad of corn, peas, fava beans and pea shoots. It's a lady-killer. They love it.
Brian Goodman, executive chef of The Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland: I can't wait to see ramps and asparagus again. We do this great spring pasta where we use mushrooms, hopefully morels, ramps and asparagus and mix it into pappardelle. We mix it all together with a simple white wine and garlic sauce and top it all with a poached egg. It's awesome.
Gavin Kaysen, executive chef of Cafe Boulud in New York City: Honestly, I'm just looking forward to green. I'm so sick of looking at brown and orange. I wilt spinach in the winter and think that’s enough green, but it's not. I can't wait to see peas, fava beans and asparagus. As much as I like to see green, I do get excited in the spring to see white asparagus. We always do a beautiful poached white asparagus with a fried duck egg and dress it with a truffle sabayon. It's delicious.
Tony Mantuano, chef/partner of Spiaggia, Cafe Spiaggia, Terzo Piano and Bar Toma in Chicago and Lorenzo in Miami Beach: The ingredient I always look forward to every spring is ramps. I put lots and lots of ramps in fresh pasta. You don't even need garlic because ramps have a garlic flavor. Add a little bit of pasta water and Parmesan cheese and it's one of the simplest, most perfect things.
Rocco Whalen, the chef/owner of Fahrenheit in Cleveland, OH, and Charlotte, SC: When we get into March, April, May, we Clevelanders want to have soft-shell crabs, king salmon, fiddlehead ferns and ramps. The recipe I'm most looking forward to cooking is soft-shell crabs coming out of Baltimore or the Eastern seaboard. I love to just kiss it with a little toasted garlic sauce, Armagnac, dill, ramps and things of that nature. It's spring, clean and crisp.
Tony Maws, chef/owner of Craigie On Main and chef/proprietor of Kirkland Tap and Trotter in the Boston area: Like all cold weather chefs you get excited about spring because you're tired of cooking rutabagas, turnips, parsnips and things like that. But some people cheat because real seasonality in Boston means you have to wait until June. So we start bringing in asparagus and artichokes that are grown from good people in California. Love to just grill them. Sometimes I’ll put an egg on beautiful asparagus or serving artichokes with spring lamb. And certainly the first peas and fava beans will make their way into pastas, which we make by hand.