Spring officially arrived in Vermont March 20 on a frosty bed of powder, and now we are scrambling to prepare religious holiday menus in late March. Something doesn’t feel quite right. If the rites of spring have caught you still hibernating, here’s a festive and fun menu to bridge you gently into the spirit of things. Splurge on some lamb chops or lamb kabobs and fire up the grill. Lamb pairs nicely with fresh asparagus and sweet potatoes: two good veggies for bookending this kooky winter-spring season.
Spring Asparagus Salad
Wash and snap off the tough base of desired amount of fresh, thick-stalked asparagus. Coat in olive oil and grill until blistered and lightly charred, about five minutes. Line a serving platter with fresh arugula. Arrange asparagus on arugula. Grate one hard-boiled egg over the stalks. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil. Scatter a few pinches of sea salt, fresh pepper and some finely grated orange zest over asparagus. Finish with a few chopped pistachio nuts.
Sweet Potato Soufflé
Lightly coat 4 soufflé cups (125 ml/half-cup size) with nonstick spray.
Peel and thinly slice one large sweet potato (1 pound). In a saucepan, combine sweet potato, 3/4 cup of orange juice, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until soft, about 25 minutes. (Add a bit more water if needed, draining extra.)
Heat oven to 400 degrees. To the sweet potato add 1 tablespoon honey, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Puree with immersion blender. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. In another bowl, beat 2 egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold half of the egg whites into the potato mixture with a rubber spatula. Quickly fold in remaining egg whites until mixture is the color of a creamsicle. Spoon batter into prepped cups, place on a baking sheet, and bake 20 minutes.
De-stem two bunches of fresh mint. Gently chop the leaves. Add mint to a mason jar along with two minced garlic cloves, a pinch of sea salt and fresh pepper. Add 3/4 cup best-quality olive oil and 1/4 cup orange juice. Cover and shake well. Drizzle over meat.
Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three twenty-something daughters. Archived Everyday Gourmet columns are at kimdannies.com. [email protected]