Spring feasting: 3 fuss-free recipes to impress your guests

Spring feasting: 3 fuss-free recipes to impress your guests

by Great British Chefs 1 March 2019

With plenty of excuses to get the family round the dinner table and a gentle upturn in temperature, spring is a time for celebration and feasting. Take a look at three beautiful recipes from chef Luke Holder that are bound to impress and earn yourself some serious brownie points in the kitchen.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews as well as access to some of Britain’s greatest chefs. Our posts cover everything we are excited about from the latest openings and hottest food trends to brilliant new producers and exclusive chef interviews.

Spring is a truly glorious time of year. Not just because it signals the end of a long, cold winter, but also because it brings a bounty of new ingredients into our kitchens. Just as the days get brighter, so too does the food we eat – the earthy root vegetables and dark greens of winter are replaced by a brighter, more verdant palette of colours and flavours.

The start of spring is signalled by the arrival of wild garlic (or ramsons) all over the English countryside. Walk through any wood or forest and you should be able to find some fairly easily – they’re recognisable by their long, green leaves (and little white flowers later on in the season) but most of all, by the unmistakable smell of garlic! After that, we’re treated to all sorts of world-class ingredients, from beautiful stalks of British asparagus to intense, nutty morels, which bring mushroom enthusiasts out of the woodwork come late April and May.

Celebrating the new season’s produce is a fantastic reason in itself to invite friends and family around for dinner, but spring brings with it two Bank Holidays as well as Easter and Mother’s Day – all perfect opportunities to have a foodie get-together. If you’re already looking ahead and thinking of ideas check out these new recipes from Luke Holder, which make the most of some fantastic spring produce and really encapsulate the cheerful, colourful nature of the season.

Braised veal shank with polenta

Having grown up in the Middle East and Italy, Luke’s cooking incorporates a spectrum of different influences, but it’s the Mediterranean sensibility of clean, robust flavours that really shines through in his food today. This braised veal shank is a perfect example of that. Luke cooks the veal at a bare simmer with carrots and celery, before brushing in truffle-infused mustard and rolling in herbs. The polenta side is typical of northern Italy, and makes a fantastic alternative to mashed potato. You could serve this with any seasonal spring vegetables you like too.

Wild garlic and morel risotto

Though we think of risotto as being a ubiquitous Italian dish, it is far more common and popular in the north of the country, where all the good risotto rice grows. This one is a true celebration of spring – aromatic wild garlic and earthy, meaty morels always make perfect partners, and Luke allows them both to shine in his classic risotto dish. The key, as ever, is to gradually add the stock whilst constantly stirring the rice to release the starches for a creamy finish.

Cod with gnocchi and broccoli

Early spring is also the time to find Skrei at the fishmongers – these migratory cod travel thousands of miles every year, making them larger and meatier than their North Sea cousins (although regular cod works equally well if you’re struggling to find some). When you get a beautiful piece of fish it’s best to keep things as simple as possible, and Luke’s fantastic cod, gnocchi and broccoli dish is the epitome of that – perfectly cooked fish, soft, succulent gnocchi, gently-blanched broccoli and a light chilli vinaigrette – flavours that work in harmony with no added fuss.