Spring Looks Good on You, Salad
As April very nearly gives way to May, it's becoming my favorite time of year again: the farmer's market stands multiply from the few winter standbys to the rows and rows of newcomers, their tables overflowing with the first real fruits of the new season. The farms showcase leafy spinach, flourishing in the cool and rainy weather of the Northeast spring, alongside the first few weeks of asparagus as the sleeping roots begin to shoot up their tender stalks. The fall harvest of sweet root vegetables hasn't quite been exhausted, and sweet heirloom squash varieties and beets -- greens removed for storage -- are still out in the baskets next to their early season cousins, carrots and turnips.
Having missed the market one Saturday, my husband even scored some fresh strawberries and fiddleheads at the grocery co-op coming in from farms a bit further south -- no doubt thanks to our unseasonably warm spring. Strawberries favor the cool season before the onslaught of real summer heat, so take advantage of their abundance and flavor while you can.
Whatever your region, keep your eye out for newcomers to your local market or items coming from your area at the grocery store. These are clues that these varieties are in season right now in your area, and will most likely have been picked recently at or very close to ripeness. This is where you'll find the most color, flavor, and nutrients -- not to mention enough variety to consistently spice up your dinner rotation. It's the perfect storm for salad creation: abundance, simplicity, and freshness, easily thrown together on any night of the week.
Spring market salad:
Curly leaf spinach
Fiddleheads (furled fronds of a young fern)
Butternut squash, roasted in coconut oil
Beets, roasted in coconut oil
Local blue cheese crumbles (easily omitted if you're doing it vegan or paleo)
For protein: edamame (or eggs, paleo)
For fat: olive oil + avocado