It’s official – spring has sprung, the clocks have changed and the weather is (fingers crossed) finally starting to warm up. With this warmth comes shoots, sprouts and a flourish of exciting ingredients bursting from the shelves.
April must be best known in the UK for heralding in the asparagus season. The official start is 27 April, but it’s already available from farmers’ markets. It’s one of the truly great British ingredients – try Colin McGurran’s Chicken with wild garlic and asparagus or Emily Watkins’ beautiful Organic asparagus and hollandaise tart to make the most of the fleeting season, which only lasts until June.
Another short season in April is that of the highly revered morel, considered by chefs to be the king of all mushrooms. They come with a pretty hefty price tag, so it’s always best to ensure they’re the star of the show. William Drabble pairs his wild morels with chicken wings, gnocchi and asparagus, keeping things super seasonal, as does Matthew Tomkinson, with his dish of Wild halibut, morels, wild garlic and Jersey Royals.
The last – but by no means least – vegetable to appear this month is the Jersey Royal. This little potato’s incredible flavour is thanks to the unique growing conditions on the island of Jersey, which are so special the tubers now enjoy PDO protection. Serve them as a salad like Dominic Chapman, who dresses them with spring onions and aioli, or Shaun Rankin’s Warm salad of Jersey Royals with goat’s cheese, pine nuts and fresh figs.
Of course, it makes sense that asparagus, morels and Jersey Royals are a match made in heaven – just add a poached egg to the mix and you have a dish fit for a king.