En saison: What to put on your plate in May
Because the French never eat strawberries in winter and even different types of goat’s cheese have seasonality...
Recipe: Rhubarb and strawberry shortbread
Ingredients: 500g rhubarb, 30g sweet butter, 50g brown sugar, 400g strawberries. For the dough: 180g flour, 150g very cold semi-salted butter, 70g sugar, the rind of a lemon, one egg and a yolk.
Peel the rhubarb and cut it into chunks. Cook it over low heat for 15 minutes in a saucepan with brown sugar and butter. Reduce the juice until almost caramel-like. Dice the butter. Combine flour, butter, zest and sugar. Rub quickly with fingertips until coarse sand is obtained. Beat the whole egg and the yolk with a fork and add to the dough. Put it into a ball, then put it in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Spread the dough in circles on parchment paper. Cook for 20-25 minutes. Arrange rhubarb and strawberries atop the shortbread at the last minute.
Asparagus, garlic, chard, chestnuts, watercress, fine herbs (parsley, dill, chives, oregano, sage, coriander, tarragon), sorrel, peas, radishes, turnips, carrots, early leeks, young spinach shoots, early potatoes, purslane, artichoke, beans.
Focus on: radishes
Fresh, light and crunchy, the radish belongs to the cruciferous family – it is a root vegetable just like cabbage. There are several varieties, different colours, sizes and shapes: pink, white, reds, blacks (the black one is a winter vegetable), bi-colored with white collar, long, round, small, big...
France is the leading European producer with 51,000 tonnes produced annually, just ahead of the Netherlands. The two main production regions are Pays de Loire and Ile-de-France.
Radishes can be stored in the vegetable box for about a week, but the leaves must be cut and washed beforehand. They can be eaten with bread and butter to enjoy its spicy flavour or served sliced in salads with other crudités.
Fish, shellfish and crustaceans
Conger, sea bream, haddock, herring, turbot, monkfish, halibut, mackerel, whiting, sardine, albacore tuna, crayfish, langoustine, scallops.
Focus on: sardines
Sardines belongs to the Clupeidae family, the same as herring or anchovies. They live in schools in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, from Norway to Senegal. In season from April to September, it is a summer fish par excellence.
Sardines should be eaten as soon as possible after purchase (keep for two days in the refrigerator).
Recipe: Sardine rillettes
Ingredients: two sardines, one lemon, 100g fromage frais, two tablespoons olive oil, one tablespoon strong mustard, a few sprigs of chives.
In a saucepan, place the sardines in a large volume of water with a small handful of coarse salt. Bring to the boil, turn off and let cool in water. Drain the fish, remove skin, bones and crumble the flesh into a large bowl. Add the fromage frais, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, olive oil and mustard. Season with salt and pepper, stirring with a fork. Add chopped chives.