At the Market: Spring Produce with Alex

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Alex Guarnaschelli 2.jpg

Alex Guarnaschelli celebrates spring with some of her favorite dishes that highlight the season's freshest produce.

Rhubarb Salsa
I don't think there are enough recipes that celebrate rhubarb in a savory recipe. I love it in pie with strawberries and other desserts but this recipe is a little different. I like to put this salsa on top of fish or meat. It also works well on top of other vegetables like braised artichokes or roasted potatoes. When you cook rhubarb, know that it goes from being crunchy to mush in a matter of seconds. Take care to cook it quickly if you want to retain the firm texture.

Arugula and Strawberry Salad
My first exciting afternoon was spent at Mountain Sweet Berry Farm in Roscoe, N.Y. A bunch of us chefs sat in awe as Rick Bishop drove us around the property in his car and pointed out all of the wondrous things growing there. The arugula was beautiful. A few rows away stood the rows of tiny strawberries. The choice was clear. A salad formed in my head: one that would showcase how delicious strawberries can be when used outside of the "dessert" realm.

Roasted Beet and Ginger Salad
I love to use the first batch of beets in spring for this salad. The mint is the perfect complement to the apple cider and balsamic vinegars in the dressing.

Seared Shrimp Salad with Sauteed Ramps and "Pickle" Vinaigrette
If you can't find ramps in your grocery store or farmers' market, I suggest substituting scallions in this salad.

Angel Hair Pasta with Lemon, Fingerling Potatoes and Sunflower Greens
I love pasta and a little cream. Combined with the lemon and the earthiness of the potatoes and sunflower greens, this is a winner!

Spring Lamb Stew
For me, small carrots and parsnips symbolize the beginning of the spring season. This stew recipe celebrates that for me.

Baked Potato Salad
I really love baking the potatoes for this salad; it's a way to avoid using a waterlogged potato. I also love the flavor that the herbs' stems give, so I leave some of them attached. Most of all, this is a flavor that takes me back to a childhood picnic on the beach and feels American to me.

Pork Meatballs
Alex perks up her meatballs with fresh parsley, which lends fresh spring flavor to a hearty dish. She makes them with her mother's recipe for Marinara Sauce.

Cheese on Toast
The thing I like most about a recipe like this is that you have a chance to showcase your favorite type of cheese in a way that's hard for people to resist. I like goat cheese for the "tang" factor and the supple texture. This goes great with a bowl of my chicken soup but can really fit in with any soup for the "comfort" factor.

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