Welcome the season with a menu inspired by the market’s freshest ingredients
by Tasha DeSerio
And after months of hearty winter produce, the arrival of delicate spring vegetables at my local farmstand offers plenty of inspiration for a dinner menu. Wild mushrooms, the happy result of plentiful spring rains, are sautéed with shallots, fresh thyme, then mixed with a little crème fraîche and spooned onto toasts as “a little something” for guests as they arrive.
Fresh asparagus and new potatoes, both treated with a very light hand, round out a main course of roasted Cornish game hens. And while your market may still be skimpy on seasonal fruit, who’s going to argue with a dish of vanilla ice cream drizzled with an espresso-flavored caramel sauce? Some things are inspirational at any time of year.
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The dishes in this spring meal call for light, vibrant, youthful whites with juicy fruit and mouthwatering acidity and light-to-medium-bodied reds without a lot of oak or tannin. With the salad, serve a white such as Albariño or Sauvignon Blanc. I recommend the 2005 Vionta Albariño ($13) or the 2005 Valminor Albariño ($14), both from the Rias Baixas region of northwest Spain; or if you prefer Sauvignon Blanc, look for the 2006 Babich ($14) from the Marlborough region of New Zealand or the 2005 Dry Creek Vineyard Fumé Blanc ($13.50) from California’s Sonoma County. For the main course—or if you want just one wine to serve with the entire meal—Pinot Noir is a delicious choice. Look for the 2005 A to Z ($18) or the 2004 Andrew Rich ($25). Both are from Oregon, and both have appealing red-berry fruit and soft tannins.
—Tim Gaiser is a contributing editor and a master sommelier.
Photo: Scott Phillips
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