P.G. Wodehouse (1881-1975), Something Fresh
Nigel Slater says that March is a terrible month for cooks, for the greedy and for those who take good care of their tummies; it is not often that I am forced to disagree with the Sainted Nigel, but things are really not all that dire, although perhaps a bit monotonous. I am beginning to hate the sight of cabbage and rhubarb!
Spring has almost sprung this year and winter is running out of steam, but in food (and gardening terms) this is considered the “hungry gap”. Between last year’s store crops and the advent of early vegetables (grown in poly tunnels.). We have the absolute joy of purple sprouting broccoli to look forward to this month too. Hurrah.
Leeks are something of March’ saviour, in soups, stews, purees and my favourite Glamorgan Sausages. Watercress and spring greens are coming into season and you could forage for young nettles if you’re feeling brave, they make a wonderful soup or a stuffing for pasta. Talking of foraging, look out for “ramps” or wild garlic which adds a delicious mild garlic flavour to both soups and salads.
My favourite wild salmon from Scotland is coming into season and it is a good season for shellfish (since it’s a cold month), so celebrate St Paddy’s Day on 17th March with a large bowl of mussels cooked in Guinness.
I can also recommend a celeriac and blue cheese soup or a leek and butterbean one. Beautiful colour and lovely flavour.
And finally let us not forget the potato; where would we be without it? (Probably a lot less flabby!) One of my favourite comforting potato dishes is a cheesey potato bake, which will do nothing for your waistline but is great for your soul.
vegetables, herbs and wild greens:
artichokes (Jerusalem), beetroot, broccoli (purple sprouting), Brussels sprouts, Brussels tops, cabbages (various green varieties), carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, chard, chicory, chives, endive, fat hen, greens (spring and winter), leeks, mint, mooli, nettles, parsley, potatoes, radishes, sea kale, sorrel, watercress, wild chervil (aka cow parsley)
fruit and nuts:
apples (pippin and russets), pears, rhubarb (forced and early)
meat and game:
beef, chicken, hare, mutton, pork, turkey
fish and shellfish:
cockles, crab (brown, cock and hen),lobster, herring, mackerel, mussels, pilchards, pollack, oysters (rock), salmon (wild), sardines, sea trout, shrimps