The arrival of spring is always a most-welcome event, but, this year, its approach feels even more deserving of celebration. In honor of the warmer weather, bright blooms and vibrant farmers’ markets on the horizon, you can and should make these ultimate spring dishes from NYT Cooking, which make the most of the season’s verdant produce — and scream “Spring is here!”
Don’t think of store-bought frozen puff pastry as a cheat: It’s merely a clever shortcut that brings you closer to cutting into this savory tart. Melissa Clark makes expert use of asparagus, that spring superstar, laying it over a tangy and herby crème fraîche base. The result is a dish that is as effortless as it is chic. And if you love the sound of a cheesy, herb-packed tart, but don’t love asparagus, look no further than this showstopping feta-and-herb phyllo spiral from Yotam Ottolenghi.
Spring’s bounty of vegetables isn’t the season’s only important marker. It’s also the start of grilling season. This recipe from Clare de Boer is a colorful way to celebrate both. Marinated chicken skewers share the spotlight — and the grill top — with a mess of bright scallions. Chicken and scallions alike are nicely charred before they’re served atop grilled pitas and dolloped with herby, limey yogurt.
For Samin Nosrat, a bowl of ash reshteh signals the arrival of spring. This herbaceous soup of beans, greens and noodles is served leading up to Nowruz, the Persian New Year, which coincides with the vernal equinox on March 20. Like the perfect cardigan, a warm pot of ash reshteh straddles the seasons: It’s filled with pounds of fresh herbs, but is thick and hearty like a chili.
Recipe: Ash Reshteh
If canned artichokes are a staple in your winter pantry, then you’re probably the type to rejoice when the fresh ones start popping up at stores and markets. Nothing beats simply steamed or roasted artichokes, and this recipe from April Bloomfield employs both methods. First the artichokes are steamed with white wine, then the pot is uncovered so that the liquid evaporates and the vegetables crisp. Capers and mint round out the dish.
Do you hear that? That’s the sound of forced rhubarb emerging from the ground — and of farmers’ market attendees making their way toward baskets full of the vegetable. Once you’ve loaded up on tart and tangy stalks, turn to Melissa Clark, who has you covered with a truly piece-of-cake-easy, upside-down number.
Recipes: Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake
Think of this one-pot minestrone from Kay Chun as a blank canvas for your farmers’ market treasures. Swap the green vegetables — asparagus, peas, kale — according to your tastes and what’s available. Just don’t skip the ginger, which adds a welcome zing to the light broth. For a soup with a similar sensibility, but without the pasta, try Alison Roman’s spring tofu soup.
After months of braises, stews and pasta bakes, a greener-than-green salad is a great change of pace. This recipe, which Samin Nosrat adapted from Jessica Battilana, combines crisp snap peas, romaine, cucumbers and green onions with creamy avocado and a delectable green goddess dressing. The dressing takes but 10 minutes, and any leftovers are a great accompaniment to crudités or grilled fish.
If a recipe calls for more vegetables than dumplings, does that make it a pasta or a salad? Make these ricotta dumplings with buttered spring vegetables from Alison Roman and decide for yourself. The doughy pillows are the perfect accompaniment for asparagus, peas and pea shoots, and they’re a breeze to make.
If you can get your hands on fresh peas, swap them in for frozen in this otherwise pantry-friendly pasta from David Tanis, which calls for canned baby clams. Or skip the pasta altogether and let fresh clams take center stage with Melissa Clark’s easy-as-ever steamed clams with spring herbs.
If cake’s not your thing, perhaps you’d rather add Melissa Clark’s 45-minute rhubarb and raspberry cobbler to the list instead. Her recipe features cornmeal biscuits, which come together just as easily whisked in a bowl as they do in a food processor. Or go all-in on rhubarb with a pie from Edna Lewis. In her recipe, adapted by Molly O’Neill, Ms. Lewis calls for only eight ingredients (two of which are salt and water). You’ll find nary a berry in the mix — just fresh, chopped rhubarb kicked up with a bit of sugar and nutmeg.
Put some spring in your step with thinly sliced asparagus and a combination of fresh dill, mint and parsley. Ali Slagle takes this 20-minute orzo over the edge by adding garlicky bread crumbs and a super simple lemony dressing. Serve it warm for a light but comforting dinner, or at room temperature for more of an elevated pasta salad feel.
At the risk of sounding like asparagus superfans, here’s yet-another recipe where it’s the star. Asparagus (obviously) and a lemony herb and arugula salad top this pizza-focaccia hybrid from Susan Spungen, and pancetta, green olives and serrano chiles make for a solid supporting ensemble. Using store-bought pizza dough means dinner can be ready in just 35 minutes.
Would this list of spring cooking picks really be complete without at least one ramp recipe? Here, Melissa Clark combines the coveted allium with chard for the base of a skillet-baked egg dish that is reminiscent of shakshuka. Skip the pancetta for a vegetarian-friendly brunch centerpiece.