Spring is in the air! That statement says quite a lot from someone who has rarely seen the sun over the past three months. Winters in the Pacific Northwest can be daunting at times. Our weather during the winter months are rainy, cloudy and misty, but the big payoff in Seattle is when we finally take the turn from winter to spring and summer isn’t far in the distance.
Not only does spring provide Seattle some of the best weather one could hope for, but it also brings new culinary ingredients. I get truly excited when I start to see all the green veggies pop up in the Farmers’ Markets. Wild arugula, asparagus, morels, peas and pea tendrils are what I start to look for, just to name a few.
The flavors coming out of the spring harvest can be subtle, yet complex. I recently revisited a book I have not read in a decade by the great Edna Lewis: “The Taste of Country Cooking.” She so eloquently describes her life growing up and how their family meals revolved around the months and what was available to them from the farm, a true farm-to-table cookbook before it was a fad. I have regained a lot of inspiration rereading her recipes and stories, eager for the abundance of spring ingredients to make their way to my kitchen.
Spring is the time to start moving away from the robust, hearty winter meals and into lighter and brighter fare. I love a good chilled soup when the sun is out and it’s just warm enough for shorts and a tee shirt. The recipes I am sharing today is the perfect kicking-off point to a multi-course meal. The chilled English pea soup is a lot more complex than the ingredients suggest and can be paired well with lamb, pork, fresh salmon or trout.
Use fresh peas when available. Garnish with fresh Dungeness crab or smoked salmon along with the lemon yogurt, croutons and fresh green onions. If you must use frozen peas, your secret is safe with me.
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Recipe 1: Chilled Spring Onion Pea Soup
Recipe 2: Meyer Lemon Yogurt
Recipe 3: Olive Oil Croutons
Brett Gardner Howell grew up in Knoxville and now lives in Seattle with his wife, Olivia, and two children. He has been an Executive Chef for the better part of his career and continues to work in culinary arts across the country.