Apricots are stone fruits, and the fresh variety are small and pale orange with a fuzzy exterior (like a peach). Although more accessible as the dried version, apricots are more special (and more delicious) when they’re fresh, and are generally in season between April – August. They are subtly sweet, and can sometimes even be a bit tart, like a plum. Fresh apricots can be eaten raw, but sometimes cooking them a bit helps to bring out the natural sugars of the fruit. Try slow roasting apricots (recipe below) to enjoy with seared chicken or pork, or even used to top some ice cream.
Slow roasted apricots:
- 6 small apricots
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- .125 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 375°F. Rinse apricots and slice in half, gently removing pit and any remaining stem pieces. Arrange the apricots cut-side up in a small baking dish (they should fit pretty snug). Drizzle apricots with honey, olive oil, and salt. Transfer baking dish to oven to roast for 15 minutes, then increase heat to 400°F. Remove baking dish from oven and stir apricots, then return to oven to finish roasting until caramelized and liquid is reduced to a saucy consistency, about 25-30 minutes more. Allow to cool before enjoying.
Fresh asparagus are a fairly common household vegetable, but the time when their flavor truly shines is March – June. Fresh asparagus should be bright green and firm with no signs of shriveling. The tips may have a purplish color, but they should be firm and tight, never mushy. The best way to prep asparagus for roasting, sautéing, or stir-frying is to trim and discard the woody bottoms. You could either use a knife to trim off and discard the bottom 1/4 of the asparagus; or, what the chefs at season prefer to do is bend the asparagus towards the bottom 1/4 and see where they naturally break off. You may be left with some uneven sizes, but we think it makes it look more natural (and you don’t have to dirty a knife or a cutting board!).
Radishes are available year-round, but similar to asparagus, they really shine in Springtime. Especially the smaller, less-bitter varieties. Radishes have a strong flavor (that isn’t for everyone), but they add a wonderful colorful crunch to salads and crudités. A fun trick to do with radishes is to slice them extremely thin and then immediately put the thin slices in a bowl of ice water. Let them sit in the water between 5-10 minutes. It will not only help to mellow the flavor of the radishes, but the shock of the cold water makes them curl up into little cups which makes it very pretty for garnishing.