Asparagus, rhubarb and broad beans are amongst May’s seasonal bounty. Here’s what to cook with them.

The marvellous month of May is a time of glorious bounty. Now, after a long and especially hard winter morphed into a patchy early spring, the garden is finally exploding into a riot of colour, as well as yielding plenty for us to harvest in our trusty trugs. Asparagus, rhubarb, broad beans, elderflower, new potatoes, wild garlic and radishes: each one has hit its stride and, as such, should be making its way direct to our tables. Here are just a few delicious ideas for getting busy in the kitchen with our favourite British seasonal ingredients, which we vow to make with the toweringly evocative words of Vera Brittain ringing in our ears: ‘I thought that spring must last forevermore; For I was young and loved, and it was May’.

Main image: Great British Chefs

Triple Pea and Asparagus Salad With Feta Mint Dressing

Food & Wine

Hetty McKinnon’s recipe for this gorgeous seasonal salad is a symphony in green. As she writes, ‘This salad brings fresh flavours to the plate with confidence and swagger. Barely blanched peas mingle with pan-fried sugar snaps, snow peas, and another of my favourite spring ingredients, asparagus, which are cooked on high heat until just tender yet still crisp with the slightest hint of charring to add smokiness.’ With the saltiness of feta cutting through the sweetness of the veg, the freshness of the mint and the lemon zest and juice to make it all sing, this is our ultimate salad for eating under the midday sun.
Get the recipe here.

Rhubarb And Custard Slices

Delicious Magazine

While we instinctively think of teatime as a winter indulgence, there is something undeniably evocative about serving it up on a lawn, complete with proper teapot, tea dresses and a soundtrack of birdsong. This wonderful take on a retro recipe is the ideal thing to accompany a cup of loose-leaf tea, especially when served with vivid and orange-scented rhubarb compote. You’ll need gelatine sheets to hand, as well as ready-rolled puff pastry. Now all that remains is to stick a jolly tune on the gramophone. Get the recipe here.

Green Linguine

Olive Magazine

You can tell that this stunningly verdant recipe is good for you just by looking at it. It contains in season peas and broad beans, along with chilli flakes, ricotta, parmesan, lemon and mint, for a zingy take on a classic pesto recipe. We could eat this under the warm sunshine for days. In fact, we probably will. If you have veg-dodging children, this is a great way of getting them to eat a few of their five a day by stealth. Get the recipe here.

Elderflower Sorbet

BBC Good Food

We love it when a good day’s foraging is rewarded with something truly tasty at the end. This easy sorbet by Cassie Best for BBC Good Food, has just three ingredients: freshly picked elderflower heads, lemon and sugar. There is nothing more refreshing on a hot day. And, as the recipe suggests, if you want to spice things up further, why not add a scoop to a glass, pour over gin and serve as an aperitif? Now we’re talking. Get the recipe here.

Baked New Potatoes With Sea Salt & Rosemary

Jamie Oliver

Few people are unfamiliar with how to cook new potatoes, no matter how challenged in the culinary department. And yet sometimes, being able to make the most basic of dishes truly memorable is the greatest testament to a cook’s skills of all. We love the perfect simplicity of Jamie Oliver’s in-season new potatoes with olive oil, sea salt and rosemary. There’s nothing fancy to see here; just one of the most crowd-pleasing delicious side-dishes in the world. Get the recipe here.

Wild Garlic Pesto

Great British Chefs

As the author of this recipe, ‘Food Urchin’ Danny, rightly notes, in spring, ‘a rash of [wild garlic] explodes onto restaurant menus across the land with chefs holding the location of their secret stash, close to their chests. However, ramsons, as they are also known, are quite easy to find anyway. Usually found in broad clumps in deciduous woodland areas or by riverbanks, wild garlic can be identified by its long, wide leaves and when in full bloom, pretty white star-like flowers. And if you come across a crop, the surrounding air will have a heady garlic aroma as the wind breezes through, which is all quite enticing really.’ We’re sold – both on a day’s foraging adventure and on this recipe, which features parsley as opposed to the traditional basil, along with lemon. If you do go picking wild ingredients, do remember Danny’s golden rule: ‘take one third of the plant, leave two thirds.’ Amen to that. Get the recipe here.

Spiced Radishes On Preserved Lemon Yoghurt

Olive Magazine

Radishes are one of those funny ingredients that often leave us a bit stumped. Apart from chopping them into salads or eating them dipped into a little sea salt, we often find ourselves somewhat uninspired. This gorgeously summery dish rights that wrong beautifully. Fried radishes on a bed of Greek yoghurt with preserved lemons: early summer heaven on a plate.
Get the recipe here.

By Nancy Alsop
May 2021

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Nancy Alsop


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