April is an interesting month when it comes to seasonal food. Many fruits and vegetables that are generally found during colder months are still at their peak in April. And just a few are in season for the first time this month. (Much produce that is considered seasonal in the warmer months becomes so in June – August.)
So while certain veggies, like parsnips and rutabagas, are still delicious and easily found after having been in farmers markets for months, others (like peas, cherries, celeriac and rhubarb) are just showing up. Here are a few recipes that take full advantage of these fruits and vegetables while they are in season. Enjoy!
Rosemary Garlic Parsnip Fries
Garlic is one of those ingredients that makes a dish practically irresistible. And it certainly doesn’t disappoint here. Parsnips, if you’ve never really had them, are wonderfully sweet, especially when roasted. The rosemary and garlic complement them with such fragrance that you won’t be able to eat just one. Many people tend to combine parsnips with carrots and turnips in recipes, but there really is no need to do so. Parsnips can absolutely stand on their own. Veggies never tasted so good!
Greek Style Oven Roasted Rutabaga
Rutabagas have a slightly bitter flavor, similar to that of turnips, but are milder than turnips. When roasted, their natural sugars become caramelized and they are scrumptious. This particular recipe is fun because it goes beyond the classic roasting of a vegetable with olive oil, salt, and pepper. With flavors of oregano, thyme, paprika, and chili pepper flakes, you’ll never roast another veggie the same old way again.
Portuguese-Style Braised Peas with Eggs
Sure, many people (myself included) often rely on frozen peas. The fresh ones can be difficult to find (especially if you don’t want to shell them yourself.) But if you ever get the opportunity to cook with beautiful, plump, seasonal peas, do yourself the huge favor and try it. This Portuguese-style recipe celebrates the little pea, and includes ingredients that most people cannot pass up, like chorizo, onions, chile pepper, and paprika. Consider making this dish the next time you are cooking for company. They’ll hope to be invited back before you know it.
Celeriac and Beet Salad with Chili and Mint
Celeriac is also known as celery root. Some people are intimidated by this humble vegetable because it looks inaccessible. But the celeriac is surprisingly easy to cut, and unsurprisingly tastes a bit like celery. When paired with beets (which are also currently in season), chili, and mint for this salad, the celeriac is wonderfully refreshing.
Cream Cheese Cherry Almond Scones
It would be silly to list seasonal recipes and not include some for those with a sweet tooth. And what better ingredient to use for a baked dish than the beautiful, sweet, and tart cherry? This recipe is deceptively simple to make (and it becomes wildly easier if you have a cherry pitter). If you have a chance, make them on a Sunday and enjoy them for breakfast with your coffee on Monday morning. At least there will be something to look forward to at the beginning of the week…
Cinnamon Rhubarb Muffins
Rhubarb tends to be one of those foods that baffle people. It is often found coupled with strawberries in recipes. But I like these muffins because they focus on the rhubarb alone. And it can definitely handle the spotlight. The sour cream adds a sinful richness, while the juice from the rhubarb makes the muffins undoubtedly moist. You won’t make these just once.