Shopping local–farmers’ markets, community supported agriculture projects–and buying local and seasonal means you are reducing your carbon footprint and eating with the seasons, the way nature intended. Depending upon where in the world you are, blueberries from Chile in January taste bad because they’re not in season in the US, for example, and have been shipped thousands of miles to your grocery shelves. This is bad for the planet and your pocketbook. And we are basically an extension of the planet, so unhealthy earth = unhealthy humans. Food for thought.
So! What to look for out there? We’re on the cusp of stone fruit season, which means yummy peaches, apricots, plums, pluots, and cherries! Stone fruits and berries are seasonal in the summertime and will crop up very soon. Spring is coming to an end, but we still have asparagus, beets, fava beans, rhubarb, strawberries, artichokes, and greens (kale, chard, sorrel especially) are good pretty much all season. Lamb is in season now, too. Avoid the apples, pears, and citrus that you see at the grocery store – those are fall/winter fruits.
Asparagus is the star of the season, and I like it best in frittatas, or oven roasted with sea salt, cracked pepper, and olive oil. Or, if you don’t like avocados and want a fun variation on guacamole, try steamed asparagus pureed with salsa, cumin, garlic, onion, salt and pepper, and chile powder for a mock guacamole. Try it with sliced jicima instead of corn chips!
Here’s a good quick weeknight dinner after you grab a bunch of asparagus from the market.
Fish in Parchment
Four 15×15-inch squares parchment paper
Four 5-to 6-ounce fish fillets (such as halibut or cod; each about 1 inch thick)
12 fresh tarragon leaves
2 tablespoons butter, or ghee, cut into 4 pieces, or olive oil
1 pound slender asparagus spears, trimmed, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
tablespoons meyer lemon or regular lemon juice
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place parchment squares on work surface. Generously butter or olive oil half of each parchment square; top buttered half of each with 1 fish fillet. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper; top each fillet with 3 tarragon leaves, then 1 piece of butter or dash of olive oil. Arrange asparagus around each fish fillet; pour 1 tablespoon lemon juice over each. Fold parchment over fish and asparagus, folding and crimping edges tightly to seal and enclose filling completely. Place on 2 rimmed baking sheets, spacing apart. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Chill.) Bake fish packets 17 minutes. Slide packets onto plates and serve.
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