Our Development Chef Robbie Gleave gives us the lowdown in our latest blog on the best produce for spring and a sneak peek at our new, Spring 2018 seasonal menu.
Here’s what he had to say…
“Rhubarb! Straight off the top every time when thoughts turn to slightly warmer and brighter times (here’s hoping!) Even before February hits, this culinary beast of a perennial is showing its colours and sending its ruby fingers upwards to find the new season and reach for the light. I grow rhubarb, and am quite frankly amazed every year that something that appears to be so dead and spent, pops back to life with increasing vigour. It’s a super-strong plant with lots of attitude and seems to relish the neglect I give it! The more I ignore it the more it seems flourish, delivering some of the most colourful and big flavoured ingredients from the garden. Seeing this plant begin to return from hibernation is for me the heralding of the new season and knowing that the rest of kitchen garden plants will soon be on the menu.
Our food should change a little during Spring. We love the big comforting winter casseroles, broths, puddings and rich (often boozy) warming sauces but the new season’s ingredients will lead us towards dishes that are a little lighter feeling. Our local riverbanks and walking trails will soon be under a blanket of wild garlic which we regularly feature amongst our dishes alongside the staples of new season asparagus, purple broccoli and, as we get further into spring, the start of some baby vegetables. I get weekly updates from Caroll’s, the ‘potato people’, and I am told of an astonishing variety of potatoes available throughout the year and get samples as they are harvested. Some may have rosy flesh like the Red Emmalie which would make a perfect Valentine’s mash or the Pink Fir which is great for little slices steamed and finished in sizzling butter.
Phrases like ‘spring chicken’ and ‘spring lamb’ instantly jump to mind when thinking of Spring produce. These are regularly used in seasonal menus where ingredients can be at their freshest and most tender, taking prime cuts and lightly grilling or flash frying.
We regularly keep in touch with our fishmongers to get advice on what is best from the sea at different times of the year. Spring should see megrim sole, brown crab, langoustines and clams and these will be used to fuse with the other produce available to build lighter super-tasty dishes.
So, with all this in mind, here are a couple of menu thoughts currently on the development bench that would work perfectly at a spring celebration.”
- ‘Just-a-Taste’ pre-starter of mouth-watering roasted langoustine with pickled radish, cucumber salad and a coarse mustard emulsion
- Brown crab, razor clam and asparagus salad with pak choi in a tamarind and ginger dressing
- Dukkah spiced grilled loin of lamb with sauté of Pink Fir potatoes, wilted wild garlic, little carrots poached in orange juice, creamed celeriac and fresh herb consommé
- Rhubarb and rosewater ripple cheesecake jar with candied almonds, caramelised chocolate crumbs and a honeycomb choc ice
If you’re looking to host an event this spring, get in touch with our team who can help you to create the perfect menu. https://hickoryfood.co.uk/contact/