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Markets and grocery stores are full of spring produce

Photo by Jim FlintA cheese pie made with a sheet of puff pastry is a perfect way to show off fresh spring asparagus.

Photo by Jim Flint This couldn’t be easier to make, pulsing all the ingredients through a food processor, to create a plant-based Greek yogurt dressing or dip.

Photo by Jim FlintThis zesty Green Goddess 2.0 is wonderful as a dressing for a spring salad or as a dip with a vegetable platter.

Photo by Jim FlintRainbow carrots, roasted with buttery brown sugar and a honey glaze, are a spectacular and flavorful side dish.

With the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Markets open and thriving in Medford and Ashland, bursting with spring produce, there’s no better time to make veggies the star of your seasonal menus.

Even if you buy all your produce from the supermarket, you’ll find plenty of vibrant seasonal vegetables to choose from.

To take advantage of the season, here are three recipes that are as versatile as they are tasty.

Succulent roasted and glazed rainbow carrots make a great accompaniment to chicken, pot roast, pork chops or pork tenderloin. Or they can be part of a full vegetarian main dish, served as a delicious addition to quinoa chickpea salad or over stewed and seasoned lentils.

You’ll love this revamped recipe for a herbal and tangy dressing and dip that I call Green Goddess 2.0.

And, finally, try this simple cheese pie to showcase asparagus, one of my favorite spring vegetables.

All three recipes include fresh tarragon as an ingredient. In none of them is the tarragon flavor cutting edge, but it adds complexity and depth to the flavor profiles with its aniseed taste and scent.

Roasted Glazed Carrots

For a dramatic plate, look for rainbow carrots with the tops still in place.

1.5 pounds medium carrots, leaving two inches on top

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons of honey

3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Chopped Italian parsley for garnish.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the tops off the carrots about two inches. Scrub the carrots (no need to peel them), pat them dry on a clean towel and place them on the baking sheet. If the carrots are large, cut them in half vertically.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter is melted, remove from the heat, add the brown sugar, honey and possibly the pepper flakes. Stir to combine.

Pour butter mixture over carrots, sprinkle with chopped tarragon, salt and pepper, then toss to coat. Roast the carrots until tender and golden with a few brown spots, 25 to 35 minutes, depending on the size of the carrots. Transfer to a dish and garnish with chopped parsley.

Green Goddess 2.0

The original Green Goddess was created by Executive Chef of the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, Philip Roemer, to pay tribute to actor George Arliss and his hit play, “The Green Goddess”. It was made with two herbs – chives and parsley – along with white wine vinegar, anchovy fillets, sour cream and mayonnaise.

This version is vegetarian (no anchovies), with capers adding the briny note, and made with Greek yogurt. It’s creamy, tart, and loaded with herbal flavors.

Use it as a dressing with greens and any combination of spring vegetables such as thinly sliced ​​carrots, cucumber, red onion, radishes, etc. It’s a great dip with a platter of raw vegetables. Or spoon a spoonful over a piece of iceberg lettuce, topped with chopped walnuts and bacon.

1 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt

1 cup parsley

1 cup fresh mixed leaf herbs: dill, mint, tarragon, cilantro

2 tbsp chopped chives (if substituting for chopped scallions, use only 1 tbsp)

2 teaspoons of capers

2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus 1/2 teaspoon zest

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 clove of garlic

1/2 teaspoon of salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste (this dressing loves black pepper)

In a food processor, combine the yogurt, parsley, mixed herbs, chives, lemon juice, zest, olive oil, capers, garlic, salt and pepper. Make sure all the greens are dry to avoid a watery dressing.

Pulse until well blended. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Asparagus tart

You can make your own puff pastry, but store-bought frozen sheets provide a flaky texture. Look for medium-sized asparagus with smooth stems and tight tips.

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

1 egg, at room temperature

4 ounces herbed goat cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1/4 cup grated regular gouda or cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 pound asparagus, about 2 inches bottom ends trimmed

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 tsp salt

The zest of a lemon

Thaw frozen puff pastry in the refrigerator the night before.

Place a baking sheet on a center rack in the oven. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Take the puff pastry out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature while you prepare the filling.

Zest the lemon in a small bowl and set aside for garnish after baking the pie.

Beat an egg in a small bowl.

In a medium bowl, place half the beaten egg, goat cheese, grated cheddar and Pecorino Romano cheeses and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Beat with a whisk to combine.

Unfold the thawed soft puff pastry and place it on a sheet of parchment paper. Use a rolling pin dusted with a little flour to roll out the puff pastry until it measures about 9 x 12 inches.

Add half a teaspoon of water to the remaining beaten egg and whisk to combine. Brush a one-inch rim of egg wash around the perimeter of the pastry. Fold the edges inward and press down to create a border and photo frame effect. Brush the top of the rim with egg wash.

Spread the goat cheese mixture inside the edge of the dough. Toss the asparagus with the oil and salt, then arrange them on the cheese. You can get creative with how you arrange the asparagus.

Remove the hot baking sheet from the oven and transfer the parchment with the pie to the sheet. Return to oven and bake until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes.

Sprinkle with lemon zest, then serve immediately or cool on a wire rack and serve at room temperature. Using a pizza cutter, cut into triangles or rectangles. Serve as a side dish with salmon or in bite-size savory appetizers.

Contact Ashland writer Jim Flint at [email protected]

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