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It’s the time of year when British produce really comes into its own and we can celebrate the long-awaited joys of spring. Take a look at our round-up of April’s seasonal gems, as well as recipes to inspire you.
Savour the first spears of British asparagus in their relatively short season – lasting only a few months of the year. These tender green stems are best eaten fresh, and quickly cooked. Steam asparagus for simplicity and melt over a knob of butter, shave raw ribbons into a salad or griddle whole until tender and charred.
Asparagus pairs well with strong flavours like prosciutto and Parmesan in this twist on cannelloni. It’s perfect for a smart lunch or dinner party.
2. Jersey Royal new potatoes
Relish the springtime return of Jersey Royals until the end of their season in July. With a firm and waxy texture and a uniquely nutty, earthy taste, these are new potatoes fit for a king. Look out for the PDO (protected designation of origin) mark, which shows they are genuinely grown on the island of Jersey. Try them boiled then crushed with butter and chopped chives, steam before dunking into garlic aioli or use as the base for a frittata.
As the weather begins to look up, use Jersey Royals in the base of this warm salad for a weekend lunch or light supper.
Get cracking with British-caught crab this April. As something of a two-in-one ingredient, crab contains rich brown meat as well as delicately sweet and flaky white flesh. Use one or the other for their unique flavour qualities or combine the two for the best of both. Try your hand at classic crab cakes; stir crab meat through linguine with chilli, garlic and parsley; or simply mix with mayo and lemon juice before sandwiching between buttered brown bread.
Try it: Crab blinis
Crab makes a lovely topping for these dainty little canapés flavoured with lemon and tarragon.
Previously dismissed as a hasty garnish, watercress deserves to take centre stage more often. This fresh and mustardy flavoured leaf is packed with more vitamins and minerals than most other superfoods and adds vibrancy to salads, soups and sauces. It also pairs really well with salty ingredients – think anchovies, blue cheese or smoked fish.
Try it: Steak with watercress sauce
Blitz watercress into a verdant, peppery sauce for spooning over steak. Complete the meal with a side of chunky chips.
These fuchsia-pink roots bring colour and crunch to the seasonal table. With a mildly peppery taste, radishes are often served raw in salads and slaws; if necessary, crisp them up by plunging into iced water for a few minutes. You could also try pickling them with vinegar, sugar and salt to add punch to Asian dishes, sandwiches, burgers and more.
Roasting radishes mellows and sweetens their flavour and adds a springtime touch to this goat's cheese bruschetta.