Spring into Nuts

 As we start to shed our winter clothes and watch the outdoors abound with blossoms, the eager await is over for all those wonderful spring vegetables and fruit that almost carry the sun’s rays in their flavor.  It’s the perfect playground for nuts, where they can be used to add crunch to a soup, make a meal out of the garden or add a gourmet touch to a simple vegetable dish.


Asparagus and hazelnuts are a partnership made in heaven, but the plump spears are also marvelous with almonds, pistachios, pine nuts and walnuts.  Try grilling, roasting or poaching, adding a crumble of goat cheese or ricotta and some toasty nuts. Or, for a main dish, add to pasta or risotto with roughly chopped nuts, basil, lemon and olive oil.


 For artichoke lovers, make a dip or even soup, adding nuts such as pistachios and almonds to the mix with lemon and herbs.  Or simply poach or barbecue and drizzle with a nut pesto, try walnuts.  Suddenly artichokes will be very wine friendly, such as Australia's delectable Shoalhaven Coolongatta Estate Savignin, fresh, crisp, lively old world style.

Those plump baby beets can be grated, roasted, boiled and pickled and are divine served with crumbled walnuts or pecans, and perhaps some Greek yogurt. And finely shaved radishes over those fresh spring greens like arugula and watercress make a lovely salad with any kind of nuts.  My favorites are almonds, pinenuts and pistachios for a lovely mix of color flavor and texture.

Try a salad of steamed garden peas and fava beans with mint a splash of wine vinegar and cashews, macadamias and hazelnuts, and follow that with a half grapefruit topped with some honey and pecans and broiled until golden.

And then there’s those rhubarb stalks – a pie or strudel made with hazelnut pastry, diced and sautéed with walnuts over a grilled chicken breast anyone?

Spring is for fun, so have some of your own with nuts!


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