Spring menu ideas — Spring is the ultimate time to add garden-fresh produce to your menu. Spring produce is also a great way to add vibrant colors to your dishes. Here are some seasonal foods you will want to incorporate along with a couple of spring recipes.
There are several fruits and vegetables that just scream spring and a few leaner types of meat that really work with these produce items.
This rack of lamb is an elegant dish topped with rosemary, thyme, and garlic making a perfect spring dish to add to your menu.
1 or more Frenched lamb rib racks with 7 to 8 ribs each (1 1/4 to 2 pounds for each rack)
For each rib rack:
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Marinate the lamb. Rub rib rack(s) all over with a mixture of rosemary, thyme, and garlic. Rub with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place in a thick plastic bag with olive oil.
Spread oil around so that it coats the lamb rack(s) all over. Squeeze out as much air as you can from the bag and seal. Place in a container to catch any leaks.
Marinate in the refrigerator overnight, or at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours as the lamb is coming to room temperature in the next step.
Remove the lamb from the refrigerator 1 1/2 to 2 hours before you cook it so that it comes to room temp. If the meat is not at room temperature, it won’t cook evenly and may still be raw inside while the outside is cooked.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Arrange the oven rack, so the lamb will be in the middle of the oven.
Score the fat, sprinkle with salt and pepper, wrap bones in foil, place in pan fat side up:
Score the fat, by making sharp shallow cuts through the fat, spaced about an inch apart.
Rub the rack all over with more salt and pepper. Place the lamb rack bone side down (fat side up) on a roasting pan lined with foil. Wrap the exposed rib bones in a little foil so they don’t burn.
Place the roast in the oven at 450°F for 10 minutes (longer if roasting more than one rack), or until the surface of the roast is nicely browned.
Then, lower the heat to 300°F. Cook for 10 to 20 minutes longer (depending on the size of the lamb rack, if you are roasting more than one rack, and how rare or well done you want your lamb). A meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat should read 125°F for rare or 135°F for medium-rare.
Use a meat thermometer. Many factors can affect cooking time like the shape of the rack, the fat marbling, and your individual oven characteristics.
Remove from oven, cover with foil, and let rest for 15 minutes.
Cut lamb chops away from the rack by slicing between the bones. Serve 2-3 chops per person.
This spring salad is light, bright, and packed with spring’s best produce.
1 bunch asparagus, tender parts, chopped into 1-inch pieces
½ cup frozen peas, thawed
A few handfuls of salad greens
2 radishes, thinly sliced
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
½ avocado, pitted and diced
¼ cup chopped, toasted pistachios
½ cup roasted chickpeas
Fresh herbs, for garnish (basil, mint, and/or chives)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ cup fresh basil or a mix of basil and mint
1 small garlic clove
1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus ½ teaspoon zest
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as desired
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and set a bowl of ice water nearby. Blanch the asparagus for about 1 minute, until tender but still bright green. Transfer to the ice water for 1 minute, then drain. Allow the asparagus to dry and transfer it back to the bowl and add the peas.
Make the dressing: In a food processor, pulse together the herbs, garlic, lemon juice, zest, vinegar, olive oil, and salt.
Add half of the dressing to the bowl with the asparagus and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Assemble the salad. Arrange the salad greens on a platter, then layer the asparagus/pea mixture, the radishes, feta, avocado, pistachios, chickpeas, and herbs. Drizzle with remaining dressing, season to taste with more salt and pepper, and serve.
When you are planning your spring menu, remember to keep things light and fresh. After eating hearty winter foods for a few months, people are ready to enjoy lighter, more refreshing fares. And when you’re ready to refresh your kitchen equipment and tools, head over to Southwest Restaurant Equipment!