Gail Simmons's Spring Picks
Roasted Herb Chicken with Morels and Watercress Salad
Kevin O’Connor roasts chicken with white wine, whole garlic cloves and plenty of herbs; then he takes some of the fragrant juices left in the pan and mixes them into sautéed morel mushrooms and a lush vinaigrette for watercress.
Crunchy Vegetable Salad with Sautéed Peas and Radishes
This salad is a well-rounded meal in itself, supplying a wealth of nutrients, including vitamins A and C. “I grew up in the French countryside,” Laurent Gras says, “so vegetable-heavy dishes make me feel like I’m back home.”
Dry-Rubbed Salmon Tacos with Tomatillo-Avocado Slaw
For maximum flavor in minimal time, chef Jeff Smith opts for spice rubs over marinades. After experimenting with spice blends for heartier fish, he discovered that a big pinch of ground coffee lends earthiness to the rub.
Herb-and-Lemon-Poached Baby Artichokes
William Abitbol sources a special variety of small Provençal artichoke known as artichaut poivrade (also called just poivrade) for this simple dish, but regular baby artichokes are just as delicious here. The artichokes are infused with flavor from their aromatic poaching liquid, a mixture of lemon, herbs and olive oil.
Shaved Raw Asparagus with Parmesan Dressing
Asparagus often makes wine taste vegetal. To counter that, chef Mark Ladner mixes shaved spears with a supremely wine-friendly ingredient: parmesan.
Rice Pudding with Poached Rhubarb
This vanilla-flecked rice pudding is exceptionally easy and exceptionally delicious, thanks to the tangy rhubarb. Krista Desjarlais gently poaches the stalks in red wine, sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon. Perfect on the pudding, the rhubarb would be equally good with Greek yogurt.
Chilled Spring Pea Soup
Daniel Boulud’s deliciously light and clean-tasting soup—a mix of sweet peas, favas, pea shoots, snap peas and snow peas—is on the menu each spring at his Café Boulud in New York City. To make it even easier, skip the labor-intensive fresh favas, as well as the snow peas and pea shoots. Instead, just use sugar snaps and frozen baby peas.
Penne with Asparagus, Sage and Peas
For a simple spring dish, chef Cindy Pawlcyn folds penne with asparagus and sweet English peas, then adds a little cream for richness.
Roasted Radishes with Radish Greens
Gerard Craft came up with this clever recipe one year when his local farmer had an abundance of radishes. Craft tried roasting them. The result: warm, crisp-tender radishes with delightfully bitter greens, which he finishes with butter and lemon.
Escarole and Roasted Broccoli Salad with Anchovy Dressing
Chris Kronner created this salad with ingredients from Scribe’s garden. It offers an amazing array of flavors: sweet roasted broccoli, bitter escarole, salty anchovies, sharp cheese.
Creamy Caramel Pudding
This decadent-seeming pudding is low in fat and a good source of calcium.