6 Irresistible Side Dishes That Celebrate Spring
It’s the moment we’ve been waiting for all winter long: the arrival of vibrant spring produce. Goodbye, grueling winter temps and sad, limp produce and hello fresh English peas, gorgeous globe artichokes, crisp asparagus, spring onions, and tender leafy greens. Because these veggies are so flavorful on their own, we kept the recipes simple—and mostly vegetarian. (But hey, no one will be mad about the addition of a little pancetta or bacon). The fresh ingredients style themselves, so you can serve these at a spring-inspired brunch or dinner party without stressing about the presentation of the food. Just be sure to use every part of the produce. Celery leaves from fresh celery stalks, for example, make a beautiful garnish on the English Pea and Radish Salad With Celery and Miso. The spread is full of simple tips that elevate flavor but don’t take a lot of time, like adding lemon juice and zest to ricotta to make a bright, slightly citrus-y spread. But we want you to make these on weeknights, too, so we’ve also included some genius shortcuts. For example, the homemade aioli for the artichokes involves whisking garlic, egg yolk, mustard, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt in a bowl, then drizzling in olive oil, whisking constantly. It’s a fun and rewarding endeavor, and one every home cook should attempt at least once. But if you’re short on time, simply add chopped garlic and a squeeze of lemon juice to prepared mayonnaise. And voila! Instant aioli.
English Pea and Radish Salad With Celery and Miso
The varying shapes and colors in this vibrant salad will encourage guests to dive right in. The crunch from the celery and thinly-sliced radishes are a great complement to the creamy English peas. If you aren’t able to find fresh peas, you can substitute frozen and thawed peas—just skip the blanching step. Thanks to the addition of miso, a salty paste made from fermented soybeans, the dressing is full of depth and umami. To take this recipe from side dish to center stage, serve it with seared salmon. Garnish with the tender, pale green leaves from the celery stalks (the dark green leaves are more tough).
Get the recipe: English Pea and Radish Salad With Celery and Miso
Crispy New Potatoes With Oregano and Garlic
There’s nothing better than crispy potato wedges—and nothing worse than soggy ones. Cooking these potatoes in batches of garlic oil ensures each one is golden and crisp, resulting in quite possibly the best potato side dish you’ve ever tasted. Forget about dipping these babies in ketchup. They’re served with a homemade Dijon sauce (complete with fresh oregano) to give them some more oomph. Serve these as a party snack, alongside a frittata for brunch, or as a side dish with beef or chicken for dinner. They’re cooked entirely on the stovetop, leaving the oven free for whatever else you’re preparing.
Get the recipe: Crispy New Potatoes With Oregano and Garlic
Double-Fried Artichokes With Lemon Aioli
These artichokes require just 4 basic ingredients: lemons, artichokes, canola oil, and salt. This ensures their flavor comes through, and results in artichokes that are nicely tender and simple. It’s great as a party snack or light appetizer, and their gorgeous golden-brown finish is sure to impress a crowd. In the spring, baby artichokes will most likely be the ones available, which are perfectly fine to use. Leftovers are great in salads, pastas, or as a mid-afternoon snack. Just be sure not to skip the luscious lemon aioli. It offsets the crispiness of the artichokes with its irresistible silky-smooth texture.
Get the recipe: Double-Fried Artichokes With Lemon Aioli
Lemon-Caraway Asparagus With Ricotta and Pancetta
One skillet is all you need to create a flavorful side dish everyone will rave about. First, you’ll toast the caraway seeds, which unleashes their flavor and familiar fragrance. Then you’ll cook the pancetta, which can be broken into shards after baking, if desired. If you substitute bacon, it may need to be baked longer until crisp than the pancetta. Lastly, you’ll cook the asparagus in the pancetta drippings until tender, just 5 to 6 minutes. To finish it off, serve with an addictive ricotta mixture: a dollop of whole-milk ricotta, fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, and a little olive oil.
Get the recipe: Lemon-Caraway Asparagus With Ricotta and Pancetta
Spring Greens Tartine with Prosciutto, Fontina, and a Fried Egg
This savory, show-stopping tartine has an exciting mix of flavors and textures. The runny egg yolk and melted fontina offer a rich and creamy counterpoint to the earthy sautéed greens. Caramelizing the onions brings out their natural sweetness, which balances out the dish. Ultimately, it’s an addictive combination of crunchy toast, gooey, melty cheese, wilted greens, crispy pancetta, and of course, the fried egg. It’s great as a lunch or brunch dish—especially when served with a mimosa or a glass of bubbly white wine. Just be sure to set aside one or two for yourself. They disappear quickly.
Get the recipe: Spring Greens Tartine With Prosciuto, Fontina, and a Fried Egg
Shaved Rainbow Carrot Salad With Pomegranates and Pistachios
Though it may look complicated, no fancy gadgets are needed to create these gorgeous multicolored carrot ribbons. In fact, shaving carrots is simple: after you peel the top layer of skin off the carrot, keep peeling the fresh strands into a bowl. The vinaigrette brings the dish together, and the pomegranate molasses in the dressing complements the bright, juicy pomegranate seeds in the salad. A handful of salted pistachios keeps the salad from tasting too sweet. Pomegranate molasses is worth seeking out (it basically never goes bad, so you’ll have it forever), but feel free to substitute honey. Serve the salad with lamb, chicken, or pork.
Get the recipe: Shaved Rainbow Carrot Salad With Pomegranates and Pistachios