Lee Clarke: Spring has sprung and you will see the results on your plate
Spring is here! It's one of our favourite seasons here in the PrÃ©vost kitchen as we start to include a range of seasonal ingredients into our menu '“ and many of them could find their way into your own home if you know where to look.
One of our favourite ingredients during this season is St. George’s mushrooms which are popular from Italy and Northern Spain to the Basque Country in Southern France. They got their name from when they first appear here in the UK, and when they are traditionally and historically picked – St. George’s Day.
A lot of these seasonal ingredients can be locally foraged and are commonly found around Peterborough – from nettles to chickweed that begin to shoot in these cool months.
We currently have a leek, wild garlic & mushrooms dish on our menu– this uses locally foraged wild garlic and mushrooms. You could try whipping up a wild garlic and mushroom omelette for your own take on a quick and easy seasonal dish.
It’s important to note of course that you have to be careful if you do go foraging – you have to know what you are looking for, so if you know someone who understands the good from the bad then take them along, or do some research of your own just to be sure.
Some of these ingredients may even be growing in your garden, or could be grown very simply in a shady area.
Now is the time of year where I’ll be looking to kick start the Prévost garden, planting some baby tomatoes and salad bits ready for future menus.
Around this time of year I also love cooking with fish. This is the perfect time to be making use of seafood as the water is colder and so the fish is fresher to start and also firmer. So head to your local market or supermarket and explore mussels, oysters, lemon sole, hake - flat fish are great this time of year – and lobster.
Incorporate your seasonal ingredients into your food and you’ll be set for some fresh takes on classic dishes. This is the season for growth, renewal and adventure – we’re moving out of the hibernation of winter and there’s plenty to explore, so what are you waiting for?
Lee Clarke is head chef and owner of Prévost, in Priestgate, Peterborough www.prevostpeterborough.co.uk