It's amazing what the garden - or even farmer's market - can yield up. There's a world of flavor, and not necessarily from the usual veggies and herbs.Look to the allium family and herb flowers to zing up a late Spring meal
That was the theme of both Melissa Clark and David Tanis 's columns in yesterday's New York Times Food section. Ms. Clark's A Good Appetite featured leeks and Spring onions in a gratin. Green garlic and scallions also add bite to this anchovy spiked bread crumbs, butter and cheese dish She gives advice about what to look for in spring onions, taut skins, If the outer layer is brittle , that means the onions are on their way to being mature - what we see in the stores. Spring leeks are tasty - try them on toast or in soups yet a pain to prepare. They are loaded in dirt - thanks to farmers leaving them in the ground over the winter and piling more soil on them. The leeks are harvested in the the Spring when they 're sweetly flavored. They should be halved before washing and thoroughly washed, especially to remove any dirt clumps.
David Tanis tries another garden sprig in his A City Kitchen column. He gives us the recipe for herb flower butter. It sounds delicate and lovely yet it packs quite a punch . An herb blossom tastes much like the herb itself. His recipe includes thyme blossoms along with the bright yellow mustard flowers.These can be found in any field along with chive blossoms, clusters of pale violet hued spheres that may look dainty but have the taste of sharp, raw onion. For more oomph, add both Djon and whole grain French mustard. There's also chopped dill and thyme added to unsalted butter. He smears it on sauteed flounder fillets but it can also be added to hot egg noodles for a lovely side with chicken or added to zucchini or scrambled eggs. Another suggestion is spreading it on garden party cucumber sandwiches too. Add borage and geranium leaves to butter balls for a festive dinner party treat.
Look to the backyard and fields for inspiration and flavor. Try a trio of Spring alliums for flavor or pretty herbal flowers for color. Either way it's a nice way to change up everyday ingredients.