Our three Great British Chefs share their most delicious seasonal spring ingredients to cook with now
There are so many advantages to eating seasonal and local produce. Not only are ingredients at their fullest flavour, but eating according to the seasons can help you eat a variety of healthy, colourful foods all throughout the year. Not to mention the environmental benefits, as your food has less distance to travel.
We ask three of the Great British Chefs what this season’s crop has to offer and why we should be adding them to our baskets.
Martin Wishart’s pick of the season…
Martin Wishart trained under classical French cuisine masters before returning to his native Edinburgh, where he has four restaurants. Inspired by his surroundings, his seasonally changing menus make the most of Scottish produce such as shellfish and game.
“I really like spinach because it’s so versatile, simple to prepare and quick to cook. It’s excellent in salads and, like watercress, works so well with bacon.”
Kitchen tip: Try spinach as a side with white fish or go simple and pair it with poached eggs.
2. New potatoes
“Ayrshire Earlies pop up after Jersey Royals have had their time in the spotlight. They’re creamy and sold unwashed to help protect the skin – just give them a quick rinse and boil them whole for a fantastic flavour.”
Kitchen tip: Serve them with butter and mint as a side dish for lamb or use them in a fresh potato salad.
3. Sea trout
“Sea trout fillets are beautifully firm and pink, it’s really quite difficult to make a bad dish with them!”
Kitchen tip: Cut the fillets into long 1cm-thin escalopes, then quickly sauté the slices in a hot pan with a drizzle of olive oil, cook so they’re still pink on one side. Add a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon, before serving with salad leaves and sliced avocado.
Chantelle Nicholson’s pick of the season…
From New Zealand law student to chef-patron of Tredwells in London, Chantelle Nicholson has risen through the ranks of Marcus Wareing’s restaurant empire. She has set up, run and cooked in some of London’s most popular restaurants and she loves creating healthy and inventive dishes.
“Spring lamb tends to appear towards the end of May and is incredibly tender. The flavour is savoury, nutty and earthy. I like to use lamb chops as they are so full of flavour.”
Kitchen tip: Fry your lamb chops in a very hot pan. Serve with a mint and malt vinegar salsa, peas, green beans and kalamata olives.
5. Garden peas
“Fresh peas are a wonderful addition to any salad or as a side for a spring roast dinner.”
Kitchen tip: Keep it simple by podding your peas, drizzling in olive oil with a pinch of salt and pepper then serving.
“Apricots are so juicy at this time of year and they have an aromatic, honey-like flavour, which makes for a tasty and fresh dessert.”
Kitchen tip: Try lightly pan-frying them in a little caramelised honey, and serving with crème fraîche or Greek yogurt, amaretti biscuits, almonds and a little rosemary.
Michael Caines’ pick of the season…
Michael Caines was at the helm of the two-Michelin-starred Gidleigh Park for 21 years and appears on television shows such as Saturday Kitchen and MasterChef regularly. He loves French cuisine and has recently opened his new country house hotel Lympstone Manor.
7. Morel mushrooms
“Morel mushrooms are prolific in springtime and have a beautiful texture and slight smoky flavour.”
Kitchen tip: They’re great served with chicken and a fricassee (white wine) sauce.
“The first English asparagus of the season is something I always look forward to. It’s so tender and goes great with salmon and seafood as well as poultry.”
Kitchen tip: Drizzle with olive oil and grill or pan-roast. Or cook it in boiling salted water with a lovely beurre blanc or hollandaise.
9. Wild garlic
“I love the smell of wild garlic wafting through the hedgerows when it grows in early spring. It’s not related to garlic, but it has a similar taste. Make sure you wash it before cooking.”
Kitchen tip: Pair it with spinach, or try it in a stir-fry. It’s also great puréed or in soup.
Feeling inspired to get cooking? Discover six healthy, seasonal recipes by the Great British Chefs