Spring is here, and it's time to spice up your palate and refresh your whole being with delicious chicories, turnips and alium family vegetables.
Spring onions - also known as bunching onions, these mild aliums are delightful! They are often sold as they grow, with their bright green tops still on, they range from almost as slender as a scallion to about the size of a golf ball. Because they’re so sweet, they are fabulous when roasted with a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar or sauteed with garlic, olive oil, and rosemary.
You can also quickly pickle them. Trim the green tops to within an inch or two of the white section, and then split the onions vertically into two halves. Submerge them in a mixture of one part apple cider vinegar, one part water, a teaspoon or two of salt, and spices. Try either thyme and bay leaf or black pepper and mustard seeds. Let them sit overnight and add to a salad.
Chicories - members of the daisy family, varieties of Cichorium intybus like radicchio, endive, frisée, and escarole are all delicious.
These greens are terrific, either braised in a salad of roasted beets and carrots, or raw with tahini lemon vinaigrette. Sometimes,chicory is blended with beet root, dandelion root and barley to make a coffee substitute drink. Look for it in the coffee section of your local store.
Chicories are an acquired taste. However, after you realize how important the bitter flavor is to digestion, you will notice other bitter foods in your life, like olives, chocolate, or coffee.
Salad turnips - mild and juicy, these members of the Brassica genus are a wonderful spring substitution for the heavier potatoes and squash of winter.
Their spicy greens are delicious, too! Slice the turnips and toss them with vinegar, salt and olive oil. Set aside. Then, sauté the greens quickly, mix with the turnips, and garnish with freshly chopped parsley and toasted sunflower seeds.