Spring's Big Three are: Broadbeans; Asparagus; and Strawberries. No debate entered into people. These are the ones, the ones you have been dreaming about as the artic wind swept up Commercial Road and you wondered if the sun would ever shine again
And now Spring is here, we've all thawed out a little in the glorious weather (34 degrees? Why, thank you) and are thinking how to make the most of it. Parks, picnics, white wine in the backyard and the Big Three of course.
Broad beans are the most fleeting, blink and you'll miss them. The other two will stick around into summer, but by then we'll all be swanning around with stonefruit and sweetcorn, so enjoy them now.
The controversy here is of course to pod or double pod. Look at your beans and check how young and small they are for the answer (also have deep think about how lazy you are). Broad beans are a brief pleasure, put some effort in and reap the tender rewards.
The delicacy of the broad bean lends itself to equally light pairings, some fresh goat curd, ricotta, soft lettuces. Don't overwhelm this flavour with a bang, go gently and Respect The Bean.
Asparagus is here and all over the Market in purple, white and green. The very youngest asparagus could be eaten whole without snapping the woody ends but those days are drawing to an end. There are plenty of recipes in our cooking section for delicious ways to use asparagus, but the simplest are often the best. Soft boil a couple of beautiful free range eggs and dip some lightly steamed stalks in as soldiers. Brush with oil and grill on a cast iron griddle, then sprinkle with salt and lemon zest. Or simmer lightly in a pan for a couple of minutes, then drain and drizzle with newly-pressed olive oil and a squeeze of mandarin juice.
Our vegetable recipes are here.
Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula strawberries are coming into the Market now. If you are able to restrain yourself from eating an entire punnet as you unpack, take the berries out of the punnet and store in the fridge on a plate on top of a kitchen towel. Their flavour is best at room temperature, so take them out an hour or so before eating and leave the green stem in until the last minute (if you feel the need to remove).
Again, these are wonderful served simply - when super-sweet, add a little creme fraiche on the side. If a little sour, drizzle with balsamic or dust with Billington's Natural Golden Icing Sugar from Delicatess or the Essential Ingredient.
If you disagree on our Big Three or have great ways to prepare them, that's what the comments section is for, people. Go to it.Fabulous spring fruit and veggies available from our beloved greengrocers
Cheong Fruit and Vegetables
Damian Pike Wild Mushroom Specialist
F & J Fruiterers
Garden State Fruit Supply
Patty's Fruit & Vegies
Pino's Fine Produce
Reliable Fruit & Vegies
Ripe the Organic Grocer
Russo's Fruit Supply