Introducing #BittmanTopics

Whether you’re cooking it, eating it, or following the policies around it, food brings people together. In that spirit, I’m introducing #BittmanTopics: a place where we can all share ideas about a different food-related topic each month.

Here’s how it works: at the beginning of the month, I’ll introduce a new subject. For the next few weeks, you can use #BittmanTopics to approach it from whatever angle you like—share related news and articles, exchange recipes and photos, ask questions and swap tips, or just weigh in. At the end of the month, I’ll compile my favorite photos, recipes, and comments (with credit to you, of course) in a post back here on my site and share on social media. Now on to the topic for April…

Photo by Yunhee Kim

Photo by Yunhee Kim

Spring produce. We all thrill to the first hints of spring at the market, like real peas, favas and strawberries. Eating locally, obviously, isn’t new: barely anything was shipped more than a couple of hundred miles until after World War 2. But even though most produce is available year-round, the word “seasonal” still has plenty of meaning. Even now, some of us are enjoying local strawberries while others are just getting those first few ramps.

What does spring produce mean to you? What’s local to you this month? What springtime ingredients and dishes are you cooking right now?

Photos by Jim Wilson

Photos by Jim Wilson

Here are some recipes and readings to get us going: light stews to transition from winter to spring, an updated take on spring’s signature pasta, and asparagus 12 ways. For dessert, two of the easiest strawberry dishes. (Careful with those Big Ag strawberries.)

Remember to get in touch on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or in the comments below and share your favorite recipes, articles, thoughts and tips with #BittmanTopics. Check back in as often as you’d like and look for my favorites at the end of the month.

Posted in Bittman Topics, Food Politics, Recipes

22 Comments

  1. nalini said...

    Swiss Chard and sweet potatoes with Sambar masala and coconut curry taught a couple of years ago at the Cuesa Farmer’s market https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151524091613390.1073741827.836843389&type=1&l=38d8d7e082
    Recipe’s here
    http://www.cuesa.org/recipe/sweet-potato-stew-greens

  2. Nicole Lefaivre said...

    You mean it’s Spring somewhere?

    • Susan said...

      I have to agree (and chuckle) at Nicole’s comment. We had snow showers in Wisconsin this morning. I’m looking forward to Spring for sure!

  3. Linda said...

    I love fresh spring radishes and eat them whenever I can get them fresh with the roots and dirt visible.

  4. Laurie A. Smith said...

    Fiddleheads. They are like asparagus used to be, available for a VERY short time, if you can find them. I used to find them at Wegman’s and Price Chopper when I lived in Central New York, but now that I live in the desert I am doomed to a life without fiddleheads. Sigh.

  5. c. hennes said...

    I grow in the southeast, zone 8b in high tunnel, so my seasons are a bit mixed up. This past winter we grew an English pea called “Willet Wonder” that we harvested as immature young pods and discovered they’re even more delicious than green beans when simply steamed and add a bit of butter and salt. Plus, they just kept coming. I didn’t see this suggestion to grill them until after the season was over, but I’m keeping it in mind for next year.
    http://ourfourforks.com/grilled-sugar-snap-peas/

  6. Jill said...

    I have an entire flat of micro greens growing in my kitchen. I snip at them for garnishes and it adds such a nice touch. The snow finally melted last week from my outdoor garden and the garlic and chives are back. So right now we just have spring garnishes, micro basil, micro arrugula, micro kale, etc.

  7. betsy smith said...

    Hurricane Sandy levelled my little crop of nettles. Sowed some seeds last fall and I now have a dozen or so burgeoning plants that will make my favorite spring tonic–nettle soup, made with a bit of onion, potato and light cream. The nettle tops are what is best to gather. Wear gloves!

  8. Karen Sternhell said...

    Fava beans. Part way through peeling them (after unpodding them and a quick poach) I think I’m crazy to keep buying them. SUCH a pain, but so worth it. In salad with some red onion and some terrific cheese. With a bowl of strawberries, that’s spring. Just bought the beans and berries at the South Berkeley farmers marker.

    • Mark Bittman said...

      I did favas last night. Same thing – took, I don’t know, it seemed a minute per bean, maybe it was a bit less. It’s why I mostly stick to shell peas: they’re equally exciting and a helluva lot less work. Or 10 parts shell peas to 1 part favas, for variety

  9. Terri Sarver said...

    Asparagus. I started an asparagus patch in my garden several years ago and it produces more every year. We have sauteed them as a side dish and this week we are having goat cheese and asparagus pizza.

  10. Anna Lingo said...

    One neighbor is harvesting morels from his yard and another neighbor has an impressive spread of water cress growing in our valley’s spring. I am eyeing the morels, gathering wild onions for stock, putting dandelion greens in everything and eating as much rice, watercress and pecan salad as I can. I use a walnut oil vinaigrette and add some corn and edamame for heft. If there isn’t time for a salad, the watercress is delicious all by itself. The bright, peppery leaves scream Spring.

  11. Robin Baur said...

    One more for the asparagus team – Beer-Battered from Epicurious: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/beer-battered-asparagus-231637
    And O! that dipping sauce!

  12. Jacqueline Chama said...

    Mint. Mix 1/4 cut of fine shreds with a cup of Greek yogurt and put it in lentils; on beets; fresh fruit; pancakes. Mint Julips are nice too.

  13. Arden said...

    Spring “Succotash”…peas, favas, asparagus, spring onions, young carrots. We’ll be sick of this dish just as soon as some others take their place at the table!!!

  14. Hannah said...

    Loved Mark Bittman’s Borscht Sallad on cooking@nytimes.com
    MY grandmother used to make a version of this years ago. I like beets in any form- have changed the sour cream to organic no fat yogurt low lactose fro the lactose intolerant. A delicious lunch or light supper dish.

  15. Tom Zeoli said...

    Spring means the golf course is open and I can harvest wild ramps on holes 8 snd 9 here in Traverse City, Mich.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *