Asparagus: green, white and purple, it’s great grilled or pan-seared with a drizzle of oil and a sprinkle of salt until crisp-tender. Tip: hold one of the asparagus stalks with one hand while gently bending with the other until it snaps to find the woody edge that you discard.
Foraged greens: nettles, lamb’s quarters, dandelions, chickweed, and others. I grew up foraging with my family in the woods and meadows of Eastern Europe, so now living in New York City I feel extra nostalgic when I see these greens at the markets. Apart from soups and salads, many of the greens are great in herbal teas, as hair rinses and bath soaks.
Green garlic: the whole plant is edible. Its bulb is still young and looks more like onion while the leaves are bright green and very aromatic. I usually quickly cook it in a pan with oil and salt.
Morels: the first spring mushrooms add earthy flavors to stir fries, pasta and breakfast dishes and go well with other spring favorites like asparagus and ramps.
Radishes: I especially love the French breakfast kind that are long, pink and white. So crunchy and fun to eat raw on their own sprinkled with salt or in a salad. I know people also roast them, but I feel like the spring radishes are so crisp and perfect as they are, I don’t want to do anything extra to them!
Ramps: also known as spring onions, wood leeks and wild garlic, they are amazing sprinkled with salt and grilled or sautéed whole! Tender and spicy, ramps make my favorite spring side dish. Apparently, they only grow in the eastern part of the country.
Rhubarb: its bright, colorful and very tart stalks look like celery but are considered “fruit” and are used in pies, cakes, jams, sauces and chutneys. Try cutting fresh rhubarb and radishes into matchsticks to make a spring slaw!
Sorrel: another childhood favorite of mine, its sour young leaves are great raw. When prepared, it’s similar to cooked spinach with a hint of lemon. Perfect in soups, sauces, pies and anything with eggs.
Tip: when heading to the market, bring cash, sunscreen and your own reusable bags!