All it takes is one week of sun for me to become Impatient Chef. No matter that at market I hear from the farmers how their fields are still buried under water, how they haven't been able to get even a quarter of their crops in the ground yet. I grab a case of asparagus, some beautiful leeks, a few bunches of green garlic, and mouth foaming, look around for more. But that is IT. No mas. No delightful fruits, cherries or stonefruit bursting forth. No English peas. Nada.
I've plugged asparagus into the menu as much as humanely possible before I get worried about customer revolt. I am so bored with my wintery kale salad that I almost can't stand the sight of it anymore. It's getting to be an unhealthy chef-menu relationship. So I've done what any self-preserving human will do - I ordered snap peas from Baja. They are exceptionally delicious and they have allowed me to move forward into Spring. I usually reserve this as a last resort on the tail end of a season to buy me a little time to transition a menu item. I hope I am not going to be judged too harshly for using out of state produce to launch an item. See the guilty conscience?? But hey, customers are constantly asking to add tomatoes to things in the middle of December so perhaps the seasonal awareness is not really as strong as I would like it to be.
Hand-wringing aside, I did have a lot of fun putting together this new salad. I sprouted Einkorn for a few days, boiled it briefly and then left it to soak in a mixture of lemon juice and yogurt. The vinaigrette is made from green garlic that has been confited (not sure if that is a word) in olive oil, then blended with dijon, champagne vinegar and EVO. The heirloom spinach is tossed with the aforementioned snap peas, radish and grain, topped with fromage blanc and mustard flowers that Nick has so graciously been gathering for me by the side of the road in Petaluma. And just like that, Spring is in the house!