It’s the first day of Spring, my favorite time of the year. Bulbs are in bloom, our persimmon tree is sprouting tiny green leaves, and the markets are full of the first of the spring produce – asparagus, tiny perfect radishes, green garlic, spring onions, and the very first of the strawberries.
This is also a time of renewal, and opportunity! Suzanne Goin has posted more springtime recipes at www.maketimeforchange.com (Grilled Asparagus with Fried Eggs, Proscuiutto & Shaved Parmesan, anyone?). When you check out the recipes, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save the Children’s U.S. programs. Plus, you’ll be entered for a chance to win the new Frigidaire Range with Symmetry(TM) Double Ovens â€“ featuring two large ovens, providing the flexibility to cook multiple dishes at the same time at different temperatures, so you can get more on the table at the same time.
To celebrate the season, our friend Marsha joined us for a Spring-centric dinner (including asparagus, my least favorite food on earth). We had fluke halibut from our Siren SeaSA delivery – we’d never even heard of this fish. It’s a flaky white fish, mild and not as thick as Pacific halibut (I’d liken it to a flounder). The skin is beautiful – ghostly white, with no visible scales. I did a simple preparation since it was ultra-fresh – baked with a parmesan-breadcrumb crust. It was delicious.
I love the idea of fresh asparagus – nothing says Spring like this vegetable. But I just don’t like it, so Larry and Marsha got to enjoy the bounty. I bought thick spears and peeled the stalks before searing them in a blazing hot pan. The seasoning is just a bit of lemon oil and parmesan, and they both loved the dish.
I refrained from eating all of the radishes we got from the farmer’s market (I usually eat all of them, raw, as soon as I get them home), instead sautÃ©ing them in butter. I’d never had radishes this way, and we liked them. The addition of a bit of tarragon at the end of the sautÃ© was perfect. Marsha said she wondered what they’d be like cooked even more, so they were softer. Cooking them definitely removes some of the bite of the radish, and you’re left with a gentle earthiness.
Now, on to the strawberries. The first of the season aren’t the greatest – they’re not very juicy or flavorful, so a great way to squeeze out every bit of flavor is to roast them with a bit of sugar.
For this ice cream, the roasted strawberries are then pureed and added to the cream base. A bit of buttermilk goes into the base after cooking, resulting in a subtle strawberry ice cream with a slight tang. It’s extraordinarily silky due to the addition of a bit of cream cheese and cornstarch (this is an egg-free base). What I love about this ice cream is that it’s not over-the-top strawberry flavored. The milky creaminess comes through, and it seems to murmur, Spring is here… and here’s a taste of what’s to come.
For the radish recipe, take a look at The Splendid Table. Here’s the recipe for the strawberry ice cream:
Roasted Strawberry & Buttermilk Ice Cream
Recipe from: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer, Artisan Books
Yield: Makes about 1 quart
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Ice Cream Base
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup buttermilk
1. Prepare the strawberries: Preheat the oven to 375Â°. Combine the strawberries with the sugar in an 8-inch-square glass or ceramic baking dish, stirring gently to mix. Roast for 8 minutes or until just soft and remove from the oven. Let cool slightly. Puree the berries and the lemon juice in a food processor. Measure 1/2 cup of the pureed berries; refrigerate the rest of the puree for another use.
2. Make the ice cream: Mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
3. In a 4-quart saucepan, combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, and corn syrup and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat; boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
4. Gradually add the hot-milk mixture to the cream cheese, whisking until smooth. Add the reserved Â½ cup strawberry puree and the buttermilk and blend well. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.
5. Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister of an ice cream maker and spin until thick and creamy. Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.
This post was sponsored by Frigidaire. When you check out Suzanne Goin’s springtime recipes at www.maketimeforchange.com, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save the Children’s U.S. programs. Plus, you’ll be entered for a chance to win the new Frigidaire Range with Symmetry(TM) Double Ovens â€“ featuring two large ovens (that can each fit up to a 28 pound turkey!), providing the flexibility to cook multiple dishes at the same time at different temperatures, so you can get more on the table at the same time.