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THE FRONT BURNER

FLS reporter Katie Thisdell serves up news on local food finds, tales from home cooks and inspiration to help you have fun in your own kitchen.

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In-season: April

Here’s our monthly feature on what to look for in area farmers markets. For more vegetable-specific ideas on using seasonal produce in your kitchen, take a look through the archives of our “What’s Coming Up” feature, which ran last year in Food.

April: This is the month when we can finally welcome the fresh growth of spring into our kitchens. Make the most of tender spring eats like asparagus, pea shoots and young lettuces while you can, because they’ll disappear once the heavy heat of summer hits. Most area farmers markets will open by the end of this month. A sampling of what you’ll find:

Asparagus

Chard, spinach, kale, collards and other greens

Garlic scapes and green garlic

Green onions

Kohlrabi

Leeks

Lettuce

Pea shoots

New potatoes

Radishes

Early strawberries

Ideas for the kitchen:

-       Spring onions are just young onions pulled before their bulbs mature, so you’ll find them early in the growing season, usually now through mid-summer. Use them as you would regular onions, but know that the flavor will be milder. You can use the tops for making stocks. Or, caramelize spring onions on the stovetop or char on the grill and use to top pizzas, burgers and sandwiches.

-      Toss asparagus with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and any other desired seasonings and place spears on a medium-high grill for a quick side dish. Haven’t got the grill out yet? Roast in a 400 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes. For another approach, chop raw asparagus into ½-inch pieces and toss with your favorite vinaigrette, red onions and chunks of pecorino-romano cheese for an easy spring salad.

-      Kohlrabi is from the same family as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens and Brussels sprouts. Steam it as you would broccoli. The flavor and texture of kohlrabi are similar to broccoli stems. Or use it in your favorite curry recipe in place of potatoes, squash or another vegetable. Kohlrabi can be found in many Eastern cuisines.

Look for next month: English peas

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