late APRIL :: beet greens | baby artichokes
Is there any green as exquisitely luscious as the BEET GREEN... ? Swiftly sautéed to lightly wilted with a pinch of chopped garlic (sprout removed), seasoned with unrefined sea salt and freshly ground pepper and, just before heaping onto a plate or dropping onto a bruschetta, christened with a pearl or two of fresh lemon juice - and a pinch of the zest. Heaven is just around the corner! Don't let anyone ever cut those tops off again! Not to mention they're chocked full of vitamins and minerals. From mid-spring to at least mid-summer they spread out their lofty leaves on vendors' stands at markets here in Paris, waiting to be gathered into your arms.
VIOLET ARTICHOKES, those baby ones, are cultivated all around the Mediterranean region. Certain Italian varieties are delectable eaten raw: very thinly sliced and served with freshly squeezed lemon juice and a good, spicy extra-virgin olive oil. Harvested from March to May (and often again in fall), they are of course are heavenly in a risotto or frittata.