For me Easter means, among other things, the real beginning of spring. I have memories of my sister and me putting on matching sleeveless pink-and-turquoise mini dresses and white straw hats and standing against the front door, our bare legs shivering in the 35-degree suburban New York weather, while my father took pictures with a Polaroid camera. I have several years’ worth of these blue-lipped photos, and they’re a reminder of how slowly spring can come around here. Now that I’m grown up and spend much of my time obsessing over seasonal produce and hunting down exquisite things to cook, my irritation with early spring is even more pronounced. April at the Union Square Greemarket still smells of hot apple cider, while I’m dreaming about artichokes, fresh peas, fava beans, asparagus, wild strawberries, and all the beautiful springtime dishes cooks are already preparing in Southern Italy, where a proper spring is in progress by now.
Here are a few anticipatory dishes I’ve been cooking lately, admittedly using California asparagus and hothouse herbs. I look forward to cooking them again using the real things.
I’ll be sharing more Spring recipes with you as the season progresses.