Today is the first day of spring! The world is budding and blooming, bunnies frolic and robins sing their springtime song. Winter’s grip has loosened and we’re ready for a warmer embrace. We step outside and–
It’s raining. Or snowing. Or sunny but somehow icy cold. Maybe you’re lucky enough to have a warm day in front of you and you breathe deep and–
Pollen. Sneezing. Itchy, watery red.
Whatever the circumstances, it is officially spring, the most fickle time of year: gateway to summer, which seems to be most people’s favorite season (if not mine). Most of our favorite warm-weather fruits and veg aren’t in season yet but we’ve probably had enough of stew and look forward to fresher foods.
With that in mind, I’ve created a menu that uses some more wintry/pantry ingredients, but feels light and fresh. Perfect to eat outside in the sun (the burgers are great on the grill) or inside, wearing a sweater.
Sweet and Simple Broccoli Slaw
2 small crowns (or 1 large crown) broccoli, stem and all
3 large carrots (about the same volume as the broccoli)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp honey
1 tsp kosher salt
Using a food processor with the coarsest shredding blade you have, shred the broccoli and carrots. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayo, vinegar, honey, and salt. Toss in the shredded veggies. Taste for seasoning; add salt if desired. This can be eaten immediately or left to marinate in the fridge for several hours or overnight. (The less time it sits, the crunchier it will be.)
Bacon-Fennel Turkey Burgers
For the patty:
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
1 extra large egg, lightly beaten
3 slices thick-cut bacon: cooked, drained, and finely chopped
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp kosher salt
In a large bowl, using clean hands, mix all the ingredients together until evenly combined. Divide into six patties, placing each on a square of wax paper or parchment, and refrigerate at least thirty minutes to help them hold their shape. Cook on the stove top or grill, as you would any other burger, until the center registers 165 degrees, melting cheese on the top if desired.
Recommended for serving:
Brioche, potato, or Hawaiian buns (lightly toasted)
Bacon (if you’re feeling wild)
For the special sauce:
1/2 cup finely chopped roasted red pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 ounce finely shredded parmesan cheese (real, fresh, and preferably not from a bag)
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp kosher salt
Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Taste for seasoning.
For the crust:
2 cups Nilla Wafers, plus more for decoration
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Crush the Nilla Wafers to coarse crumbs using a food processor (or put them in a Ziploc bag and beat them with a rolling pin, which is more emotionally satisfying but a lot more work), then stir in the butter until it’s moistened and somewhat sandy. Pat the mixture into a nine-inch pie pan, creating an even layer.
Bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden. Cool completely.
For the filling:
8 extra large egg yolks
4 extra large egg whites (reserve the rest in the fridge–make macaroons or an omelet or something)
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 tbsp clementine (Cutie or other… I just thought Cutie Pie sounded better than Halo pie, you know?) zest
1/2 cup clementine juice
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup corn starch
1 stick butter, cut into small pieces
pinch cream of tartar
Place a fine mesh sieve over a medium bowl. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, whisk together egg yolks and one cup of sugar. Add corn starch, zest, juice, water, and butter, stirring to combine. Switch from a whisk to a wooden spoon or silicon spatula and place the saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens but does not boil. Pour this curd through the sieve into the medium bowl. Fill a larger bowl with a few cups of ice and place the medium bowl on top, stirring occasionally so that the curd chills (careful not to slosh any water into the curd).
While the curd is cooling, fill the base of a double boiler with an inch of water and bring it to a simmer. In the top of the double boiler, combine egg whites and cream of tartar. Whisk with an electric mixer on medium speed until foamy; slowly begin to add the sugar, whisking constantly. When the sugar is all in, increase the speed and beat over the heat until soft peaks form. Remove from heat and whisk until stiff peaks form.
Stir a small amount of the meringue into the curd to lighten it, then fold in the rest in two batches. Pour the resulting mousse into the cooled pie crust and decorate with Nilla Wafers. Refrigerate at least two hours, or freeze. (If you refrigerate and it doesn’t set up as stiffly as you’d like, you can always freeze it and pretend you meant to do it that way; the world will never know.)