Marching into spring

  • By
    Dulcima Mansell - Food writer

Dulcima celebrates seasonal crab and spring greens and shares her suggestions on how best to cook them.

Spring greens with lemon dressingDespite its near constant presence in my kitchen, one of this month's seasonal ingredients had until recently never actually made its way on to my plate. The ingredient in question is spring greens.

You see, I share my house with two rabbits and greens are their preferred dinner. Spring greens have, until now, been synonymous with rabbit food, but I thought it was about time I found out what I was missing.

My first taste of greens was a nibble at one of the leaves raw (as practised by my furry housemates); I was not overly excited but it had potential. More flavoursome than cabbage and able to hold its shape when cooked unlike spinach, I was soon making up for my years of spring green abstinence. They have made an appearance in risottos, soups, alongside curries and as a side to a roast with some fennel; they are also a very welcome addition to stir-fries. Of course they can be served simply steamed but I do find they need a bit of a kick to avoid memories of bad school dinner cabbage. I like to add a liberal sprinkling of black pepper or chilli and garlic.

Crab linguineOften overlooked in favour of its rather smug and overpriced cousin, lobster, crab is a foodie's delight. I consider crab a trusted old friend; from a simple pasta dish to the creamy cheesy luxury of a thermidor, there seems to be a crab dish for every occasion. I recently looked to the East for inspiration for a crab-themed meal and as a fan of chicken and sweetcorn soup, I was similarly impressed with a crabby alternative. Followed by a mixture of crab, chilli, shredded vegetable and prawns all rolled up in Vietnamese rice papers and dunked in dipping sauce, the meal was a worthy celebration of crab.

But freshly cooked crab (I prefer to let my fishmonger kill it to ensure it's done humanely) does not need a complex recipe to shine. Simply served piled high on toast with a good squeeze of lemon and maybe a dollop of homemade mayonnaise and you have yourself a truly scrumptious lunch. You could also try James Martin's crab cocktail, or a light crab, spring onion & pancetta pastry slice

What will you be cooking this March?

 

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