With warmer weather not too far down the road, we asked several chefs at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival which locally grown ingredients they can't wait to use on their spring menus.
Marc Murphy, chef/owner of Landmarc and Ditch Plains, New York
I get excited about every season. In the beginning of the winter I was so excited about root vegetables and parsnips. Now with the spring coming, there are so many things to get excited about. Spring onions are always beautiful. You can poach them, grill them. Grilled onion salad is one of my favorite things, with bacon, herbs like basil. It's a great time of year.
Laurent Tourondel, chef/owner of BLT Steak, Miami
I love fiddlehead ferns, morel mushrooms, ramps, fava beans. One thing I like to do is make a tabbouleh with fava beans. It's such a good combination.
John Besh, chef/owner of nine New Orleans restaurants
Springtime for me means the first crawfish of the year, and also artichokes, asparagus and all those little things that have been in hiding for a good half of the year. As for a dish, I might just put all those things together, where we take artichokes and asparagus and toss it with ricotta, cavatelli pasta and add barely heated crawfish tails, and maybe some spring peas.
Jenn Louis, chef/owner of Lincoln and Sunshine Tavern, Portland, OR
I look forward to mushrooms arriving, as well as nettles and ramps. I love making a nettle puree that I fold into risotto and then top with a poached duck egg.
Ludo Lefebvre, chef/owner of LudoBites pop-up restaurant, Los Angeles
I love English peas. I can't wait to make a stew with potatoes, English peas, bacon, maybe bone marrow, chicken stock and butter. That's it. Real simple. Real good.
Stephanie Izard, chef/owner of Girl & The Goat and Little Goat Diner, Chicago
One of my favorite things to do when the weather begins to warm is add spring peas to lamb tartare. It tastes like spring to me.
Restaurant Hospitality editor Michael Sanson reported live from the South Beach Wine & Food Festival in Miami Beach, Fla., Feb. 21-24. The event, now in its 12th year, attracted more than 60,000 attendees, 150 celebrated chefs, and 250 wineries and spirits producers. A component of the festival is several trade talks designed specifically for restaurant operators. Sanson’s reports from South Beach focus on those talks and interviews with top chefs attending the event.