Posted 2nd May 2013 by Celia Lacy
New for summer 2013, our monthly blog series with Online Editor Celia looks at what's good to eat right now and how best to enjoy it - starting with the colourful tastes of May. Eating the seasons is a great way to support British producers, save money and enjoy tastier, fresher food!
Despite the somewhat disappointing start to summer on the weather front, we can at least now begin to enjoy the joyfully light and vibrant summer food season. At last!
It’s really rather lovely to be greeted by neat little bundles of asparagus, dainty bags of potatoes and freshly picked lettuces during a weekly shop - after what feels like months of loading up on root vegetables to make into soups, stews and pies. Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely adore winter veggies, but when the warmer months finally arrive I can almost hear my appetite audibly wail for a salad leaf or a crisp slice of cucumber.
So, what’s good to eat this month? Let’s have a look at the best British produce available and how best to enjoy it.
British asparagus is a ‘must-eat’ vegetable between mid-April and mid-June. Its delicate stems are so easy to prepare and cook, you can have an impressive appetiser on the table in minutes. Serve simply with butter and seasoning or try adding your asparagus to a frittata - as Bruno Loubet of the Great British Chefs has done below. Aren't they pretty?
These pleasing little potatoes are a sure sign that warmer weather is on its way, beginning their short season in Spring. There’s no need to peel Jerseys either - as much of their flavour and vitamins lie in their delicate, earthy skin. With a waxy, sweet taste they hold their shape well once cooked - which makes them ideal for salads. I like scoring them finely across the top then adding lots of seasoning and olive oil - before roasting in a hot oven for 30 minutes. Even better than chips, and they look great too.
Lettuce and Salad Leaves
An array of delicious green leaves come into season this month, including rocket, spinach and lettuce. There’s really no need for salad to ever be bland or boring, but if you don't have many ingredients at hand I'd recommend simply seasoning the leaves generously and adding olive oil and lemon juice. Hunt for little extras in the fridge or cupboard such as almonds, parmesan shavings and thinly sliced olives, all of which can transform plain leaves into something satisfying. On the subject of satisfaction, here's a salad our customers just love - a caesar with roasted tomatoes.
A favourite all year round for livening up sandwiches, dicing into green salads and dipping in hummus, the humble cucumber is also at its seasonal best right now. A crunchy, refreshing fruit, cucumber grows on a twisting vine and is picked unripe before it matures and becomes too bitter to eat. I'm eager to give this thin-skinned salad staple a moment of centre stage glory during its seasonal peak; try it in a simple yet virtuous cucumber gazpacho for something entirely different and reassuringly healthy.
So, what will you be cooking and eating in May? I’d love to hear your comments below, or you can tweet me @TescoRealFood.
Celia - Editor, Real Food Online
Read more about the tastes of summer in our handy guide to the season