I was in Los Angeles last weekend and had a fantastic pasta dish with fresh artichokes and sausage at Waterloo and City. I love how versatile artichokes can be—they're great in a salad or over pasta, plus you have all the different parts of an artichoke. I also just like any vegetable that tastes good fried. —Ed Levine
RAMPS. Rather than spell it out again, I'll just quote myself from my defense of ramps last spring:
"Mild and sweet, with a unique aroma somewhere between garlic and onions, but with a pronounced funk—almost cheese-like in your nose. Unlike scallions or onions which soften and eventually turn mushy when cooked, ramp bulbs retain a pleasant snap, while the lily-like leaves rapidly inflate then collapse when seared in hot butter. Some people claim ramps are a fad—special only because of their cost and short season. Well I want my ramps to taste special. I appreciate them more because I have to make a conscious decision to spend a few more dollars on them than I would for any old onion. I like that I have to wait for them every year, and I love that when they finally come, I'm forced to test my culinary prowess to the full, discovering as many uniquely delicious ways to use them as I can before the short-lived jag is over." —J. Kenji López-Alt
There's not much in the world I love more than grabbing a bunch of slender green asparagus, tossing them on the grill with oil, salt, and pepper, and poaching an egg to crack open on 'em. In April and May, that's my dinner a good two or three times a week. (And sometimes my breakfast, too.) —Carey Jones
I remember the day I ate fresh peas for the first time and thought, holy wow, these are like an entirely different food from the frozen peas I grew up eating (from the bag with the carrot nubbins). They're naturally sweet, not all shriveled and raisin-looking, and have such a fresh green pop. I could snack on sugar snap peas like a bag of potato chips. I also want to throw them on every salad in the springtime. This salad is particularly special as it showcases a hat trick of pea action: fresh shelled English peas, sugar snap peas, and pea shoots (along with other springtime glory in the form of asparagus, ramps, and a runny egg). —Erin Zimmer
I too am a pea admirer, but I think peas deserve two slides because
they are just that awesome. Eating fresh peas is like being punched in
the mouth by spring, but instead of blood/bruises/broken teeth there's
just sunshine and the feeling that you rolled around in a lush field of greens and flowers.
...Ok, I might be overselling it a bit. All I know is whenever I see a seasonal pea dish on a menu, my instinct screams, "OH MAH GAWD GET IT!!!"
Sugar Snap Peas
I love the fresh crunch of good sugar snap peas. If I'm trying to be fancy I'll eat them with hummus...that is, if they manage to survive that long. —Jessica Leibowitz
Poor fava beans. They lack the sex appeal of asparagus and the ultra-short seasonality of ramps. And they're kind of chubby, demure little things. But I'll be damned if they aren't the best way to get your bean on come Spring, when you want something just a little substantial but still light and fresh in every way. My favorite falafel is made with favas (it's Egyptian-style, and tastes extra beany), as is one of my favorite dips (Egyptian ful, which is a lot like hummus with favas and copious olive oil standing in for chickpeas and tahini). Maybe it's because they both come with harissa, or maybe it's just a sign that a trip to Cairo is in order. —Max Falkowitz
My mother always used to simply cook rhubarb in a saucepan till tender (with sugar and maybe a strawberry or two) so I don't even need it to be in a pie. (Though I wouldn't turn down a pie.) I also love rhubarb in cocktails, like this Rhuboulevardier. (If you don't have Gran Classico, get it. But if you can't, sub Campari and dial down the sugar a little.) —Maggie Hoffman
I'm a total pea-head too. Just love 'em. Happily eat frozen peas all year round. The first time I had pea tendrils, man, they blew my mind. The problem is that they're not available for very long. When I spot them at the market, I buy armloads then saute them with a little garlic, lemon, and olive oil. They're bright and sweet and simply amazing. —Carrie Vasios
When everyone else at the market is freaking out about ramps (okay, myself included), I get really jazzed for green garlic. Early in spring, before the bulbs have had time to develop, the garlic shoots out of the ground in these soft green shoots. They're sort of like garlic flavored scallions, and their mild flavor means that you can use a ton of it without totally overpowering the rest of a dish the way dried garlic, or even fresh garlic later in the season might. My favorite use is to sautee the green garlic in a pot with a bit of olive oil, then add a whole bunch of clams, cover and let cook until the clams steam open. The combination is classic. —Ben Fishner