In my corner of the globe, early April is the transition from winter to spring. While on a walk one short week ago I saw what must have been the first grass mowing of the season in my Tiny Town. I was eager to catch the summer’s-coming scent of freshly cut grass streaming from this overachiever’s machine, but all I could smell was wild onion. See, I thought, the grass isn’t even high enough to cut. Just a few days later, most of the responsible neighbors have made the first pass over their yards with their mowers and are no doubt wondering what’s up with us. Spring springs suddenly sometimes.
It can be hard to know what to eat. The temperatures are so changeable, and our appetites change with them. Warming midday weather makes me plan a lighter dinner, but by the time the sun goes down and we sit down to eat it is chilly enough to make us wish there was something hearty on the plate. At breakfast and lunch I find myself nibbling, rather like the rabbits that appear in the yard and watch for the first garden lettuce as eagerly as I. In contrast to the summer when I want food so light as to feel like nothing at all in my stomach, in spring I want to eat something very fresh but substantial enough to make me know I have had something to eat.
It can be a hard desire to fulfill, but this small plate does the job admirably – a few perfectly hard-cooked eggs, a little cured meat, my favorite spring vegetable, and a piquant dunk for every bite. It is pretty and cheerful and tasty. It is light and still substantial. The individual ingredients are substituteable, and it is a cinch to put together if one has thought ahead a bit. It works as a lunch for one or a party platter for a crowd. Most of all, it is just what I want to eat right now.
Orange Mint Mayo
makes about ½ cup
½ c. good mayonnaise
zest of one orange
about 1 T. chopped fresh mint
1 T. juice squeezed from the orange
Stir together in a small bowl. Serve with just about everything. My favorite go-withs are hard-cooked eggs, cold cooked or smoked salmon, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, plain asparagus, cold ham, or cold boiled potatoes.