Visit the produce section of almost any supermarket during April and the signs of spring are evident. There are plump strawberries from Florida and California and in-season bright green asparagus. Winter’s lemons are still in abundant supply and fresh potted herbs have just come onto the scene.
This is my “dream” time of year, when using the freshest, in-season ingredients in simple ways results in divine dining. This month’s “Signs of Spring” menu uses these seasonal ingredients with a simple menu that’s elegant enough for company.
I have two philosophies when it comes to menu planning. The first is to provide a menu with varied flavors so that the palette is surprised by each course. The second, the philosophy I employ in this month’s menu, offers harmony from beginning to end.
We start with a salad of mixed greens topped with a creamy strawberry dressing, sliced fresh strawberries and pistachios. The main course is a simple sauté, Chicken with Lemon, Artichokes and Grape Tomatoes, that is paired with Lemon-Chive Mashed Potatoes. Spring’s fresh asparagus is wrapped in a prosciutto-parmesan blanket and is roasted. For dessert, there’s more luscious lemon flavor in little Lemon Curd Cakes served with a fresh-tasting strawberry drizzle.
Mixed Greens with Strawberry Cream Dressing
When strawberries are in season, this is creamy dressing is my favorite way to dress crispy spring salad greens. And, the dressing is very easy to whip up with my Viking blender.More.
Lemon-Chive Mashed Potatoes
Despite the fact that mashed potatoes are a bit overdone in restaurants, they’re still the ultimate comfort food. Tired of pairing spring entrees with pasta or rice, I sought a way to add spring zing to mashed potatoes.More.
Sometimes the simple things are the best, especially when it comes to dinner party menus. If you’re serving a special entrée, your side dishes shouldn’t occupy too much of your pre-meal time or take too much attention away from the main course.More.
Chicken with Lemon, Artichokes, and Grape Tomatoes
Take a chicken cutlet, dredge it in flour and brown it in butter and olive oil and you’ve got a world of opportunity for culinary creativity. This simple preparation can become Chicken Parmesan, Marsala, Provencal, Florentine, Veronique or Piccata.More.
Lemon Curd Cakes with Strawberry Sauce
These little Lemon Curd Cakes with Strawberry Sauce are inspired by a luscious dessert I sampled at a fine Atlanta restaurant quite a few years back.More.