The first sign of spring for some may be cherry blossoms, but for culinary types, these veggies and fish are the early harbingers of warmer weather and abundant fresh produce. Here are a few places to find them.
These wild leeks are prized for their greens, which can be braised and pickled.
• Gnocchi comes topped with a ramp pesto at Alba Osteria.
• At Ris, the fettuccini is about as springy as it gets, with morel mushrooms, mint, peas, pickled ramps, pea shoots and mushroom cream.
• You'll find ale-brined chicken with local ramps, spaetzle and chicken-thyme juice at Jack Rose.
• Drink your ramps at Trummer's on Main, which offers a Gibson cocktail with ramp-infused vodka and gin.
• At Restaurant Eve, beginning Wednesday: Fried soft-shell crabs, carrots, bacon and ramps.
• At BLT Steak, there's a Wagyu strip steak with ramps, truffles and spring English peas.
Curlicues of green goodness. They're similar in flavor to asparagus.
• You'll find fiddlehead ferns with monkfish, spring onions, red pepper agrodolce, and Iberico ham at 1789.
• Fiddlehead ferns are a side dish, with hominy, caramelized pearl onions and sherry vinaigrette, at Mitsitam Cafe.
• The coils are found in a potato gnocchi and honey mussels entree at Trummer's.
• A dish called "Garden" at the Fainting Goat features a super-seasonal assortment of fiddleheads, ramps, kale and cauliflower, accented with garlic, ginger and mustard seeds.
Don't let the ugly appearance of the sought-after egg sacs fool you. The Latin Name for this fish is sapidissima, meaning "most delicious."
• BlackSalt has shad and shad roe in its fish market, and anything in the market can be prepared as an entree in the restaurant.
• You'll find both the roe and the filet at Mintwood Place, accompanied by mushrooms, rosti potatoes and a lemon demi-glace.
Plump and fresh, like little green pearls.
• Pillowy pockets of deliciousness at Osteria Morini, where you'll find agnolotti stuffed with braised veal and surrounded by English peas and spring onion.
• A caramelized scallops pasta dish at Red Hen comes with English peas, pancetta and clams.
• English peas are the base for a chilled soup with peekytoe crab salad and lemon curd at Vermilion.
Freaky-looking mushrooms prized for their nutty flavor and nuttier appearance.
• They're paired with smoky octopus and spring pea harissa at Kapnos.
• Try them creamed with marsala, a vidalia lardo biscuit and hen egg at 1789.
• Or with sweet pea and ricotta ravioli with lobster cream, royal red shrimp and peas at BlackSalt.
Reviled as weeds, but healthy and delicious in salads.
• A springy salad on the menu at Flight: Dandelion greens, watermelon radishes, cucumber, mint, parsley, tomatoes, sumac and pomegranate vinaigrette.
• Kapnos braises its dandelion greens with kale and mushrooms as an accompaniment to seared rockfish, finished with mint and dill.
The tart vegetable starts popping-up on dessert menus mid-spring.
— Nikki Rappaport (@nikkirap) April 10, 2014
• Rhubarb meets ramps in a new shortbread dessert at Rose's Luxury.
• Or, get your traditional strawberry-rhubarb pie fix at Dangerously Delicious Pies.
• For a savory take on rhubarb, head to Table for tiger prawns and foie gras with rhubarb, mango chutney and ginger dressing.
These light-deprived stalks can be mellower than their green counterparts.
• At Alba Osteria, the Santena is white asparagus, peas, speck and crunchy bread crumbs .
• White asparagus is smoked at Kapnos, and topped with sun-dried tomato, caper berries, cured orange and green olive.