I would argue that seasonal produce just keeps getting better as the year goes on (and some of my favorites, like apples and winter squash, aren't at their peak until late summer/early fall). That being said, there are still some pretty awesome options that are at their prime during the spring.
Among my favorite seasonal spring ingredients are chives. If you haven't ever tried fresh chives, you are missing out! Unlike the dried version that you'll find in a spice jar at the grocery store, fresh chives have a bright, strong, onion-like flavor. I got these beautiful chives from Isabelle Farm, and they're some of the best I've ever had!
Sprinkling fresh, chopped chives on top of your eggs, potatoes, fish and other dishes is a delicious way to add some seasoning.
There are a number of ways to incorporate chives into the recipes that I like to make, but this one might just be my favorite: Creamy cauliflower mash with chives. Cauliflower is also is season right now (it's actually considered to be in season most of the year) and it's definitely one of the trendy vegetable trends (maybe even cooler than kale?). Cauliflower is so versatile and can be enjoyed raw, roasted, grilled, riced, mashed- you name it. I really like it as an alternative to mashed potatoes (as a lower-carb alternative). It pairs well with various herbs and other flavor additions, and I can't think of a better combination than goat cheese and chives.
The goat cheese not only makes this mash nice and creamy, it adds a deep, delicious flavor to the mix. If you're not a fan of goat cheese, you can use Greek yogurt or sour cream as a creamy alternative (but, goat cheese definitely works the best!). The key to creating the most creamy, silky cauliflower mash is to boil the florets until they're super soft. They'll be much more responsive to mashing and you won't end up with little bits of cauliflower throughout your mash. You can also use (defrosted) frozen cauliflower, which is already going to almost soft enough to mash. (Just boil it for a few minutes first.)
I recommend incorporating chives into this recipe, and then saving some extra pieces for sprinkling on top.
Not only does that make your mash look pretty, it adds an extra little burst of flavor with every bite. You'll find that this recipe is super easy to make, but, in my experience, it's sure to impress a crowd.
Creamy Cauliflower Mash with Chives
1 head cauliflower (about 5-6 cups florets)
1/4 c. broth or milk (I use low-sodium chicken broth)
2 oz. goat cheese
1 T chopped (fresh) chives + more to sprinkle on top
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt to taste
pinch of pepper
Chop cauliflower into small pieces (about 1"). Place florets into a medium-size pot and fill it with water -- enough that it covers the cauliflower completely. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Once the water starts to boil, reduce to medium-high heat and cook until the cauliflower is very tender -- about 25 minutes. Drain water and place cauliflower back on a burner over low heat. Add the goat cheese and broth and stir well. Add the chives, garlic powder, salt and pepper and stir again. Using an immersion blender, blend all of the ingredients together until you reach a smooth consistency. If you don't have an immersion blender, a food processor will work just fine. Serve immediately (with fresh chives sprinkled on top).
*All photos courtesy Lauren Martin.