Spring Cuisine and Wine

I live in a wonderful place that produces amazing, well, produce. Starting in April, I can go down the street to a farmstand to pick up whatever is in season. Right now that is asparagus – we are just past fiddlehead season. The Fiddleheads were hard to get this year – the flooding of the riverbeds was just not timed right. Last year we had almost a month, this year, barely two weeks. If you are not familiar with this unique veg, it is the curled fronds of a particular fern that grows by rivers. The harvest areas, much like lobster trapping areas, are fiercely guarded.  Fiddleheads are like a cross between artichoke and asparagus taste-wise, and should be cooked, as eating them raw can lead to some stomach distress.

This time of year, it’s easy to understand why we release the new vintages of white wines, from sauvignon blanc to vihno verde.  These wines pair perfectly with spring produce.  The acid and crisp citrus fruit of these wines match the slightly bitter and acidic nature of these vegetables.

I feel that both asparagus and fiddleheads work best in pasta or risotto, paired with mushrooms and spinach, maybe a touch of cream, lemon and garlic.  Artichoke hearts and green onions also work well in the mix!  These dishes pair very well with Sauvignon Blancs and French white Burgundys.  I like to use asparagus in salads or with scrambled eggs as well.  It does freeze, but you have to like mushy asparagus – even the quickest blanche will leave you with mushy asparagus when thawed.  I do like it mushy, but you can also use the frozen stuff for soups or sauces.  I made a wonderful asparagus and spinach soup with crabmeat and caviar – yum!  I served that with a California Sauv Blanc called Starlane from Santa Ynez that was perfect!

Up next, peas and strawberries!

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