Herbs are Spring keeping her promise to us. Each year, especially in New England, there's a rush of activity around May and November. Our pace quickens a bit. Through the hard New England Winters we remember that Spring promises each year to return. The joy of the first tender shoots of this or that herb, the first little crocus flowers poking their purple heads through snowy soil... the ramps that appear in purple and green glory.
Even Artichokes appear in purple and green.
Fern fronds Cordova, Alaska.
Spring can be equivocal. Unreliable. Fragile. A young girl, not yet comfortable in her skin, but driven to flirt with her new-found power to attract.
After Summer, the softening; those languorous long shadows of Summer, there's the snap of Fall. That sharp air that smacks us out of slumber. It says wake up! Remember Winter, the short days, the cold nights ahead...
But it's these in-between times -- Spring and Autumn -- that are so fleeting in New England. I love Autumn first. Maybe it's because I was born old and have a reflective nature. The in-your-face-I'm-only-here-for-the-fun Summer season is so much of nothing to me. And I can't stand the heat. How my heart races in Autumn! My emotions swell, memories of those long gone resurface like a good friend whose mere presence comforts. Is it possible to inhabit a space between life and death, between Summer and Winter? I guess the Greeks beat me to it, but I'd have to say yes.
Winter is hard. Icy and strong. I love it for its unambiguous, solid nature. Nothing frail or flirty about Winter. I love Winter's cold, clear-headedness after the sun-drunk stupor of Summer. The scurrying about of Fall is over. What's done is done; what didn't get done, didn't get done. Winter is serious business.
And yet, Spring has grown on me. Maybe we're hard-wired to turn our attention in Spring and Autumn to these bright colors. After all they do contain nutrients needed before and after a season of scarcity.
I've noticed the little rush in my veins when I see the buds bursting, the greening, even through the chartreuse hell of pollen-snow, I've grown to love these budding, blooming things.
And then, of course, as I do with so many things I love, I eat them.
Duck egg, over the tenderest fiddleheads ever, and mushrooms. 51 Lincoln in Newton Highlands makes the most of seasonal ingredients and local farm-fresh foods.
Fennel fronds and chive blossoms.
Breakfast herbs. Sprout salad, scrambled eggs.
- Seasonal Striper and Fines Herbes
- Spice-rubbed Roast Fresh Ham and Garlic Scape Pesto
- Cheating on Winter
- Asparagus, Ramps and Morels
- Pimp Your Salad