THE SPRING OF IT

recipes + photography SANDY GARSON

Parsley Omelets

These green pancakes sing of the new season: spring onions, eggs and lots of parsley. They’re perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch or snacking, especially because they’re fine hot, warm or room temperature.

Makes 15 (2- to 3-inch) pancake-style omelets

1 large bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, cleaned
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
¼ teaspoon fresh cracked or ground black pepper
6–7 scallions (aka spring onions), cleaned
6 extra-large eggs
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil

Put parsley, garlic, pepper and scallions in the bowl of a food processor and chop. Or chop each individually, mincing the garlic, and combine.

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl and blend in salt. Whisk in the parsley mixture.

Heat a large flat skillet over medium heat and coat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. When oil is hot, put in 2 tablespoons of egg mixture as though making a pancake. Scrape the ooze to try to keep a reasonably round shape 2–3 inches in diameter. Do this again 2 or 3 times until the skillet is full but there is space between the omelets. Cook until the edges start to brown, then flip. Cook another minute. Remove from heat.

Continue making omelets until the egg mixture runs out.

Serve these warm or at room temperature. They are delicious wrapped in lavash with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt and thinly sliced cucumber.

. . .

Cabbage Crisp

For many years I made fruit crisps in the summertime in Maine, so famously that a friend who owned a restaurant “borrowed” the recipe and it immediately became his most popular dessert. Crisps are just fresh fruit quickly cooked under a very crunchy topping that can be gluten-free. They are simpler, less caloric and juicier than pies. I created this vegetable variation for a vegetarian cookbook I wrote. The sour cream stirred into the cabbage is a tribute to all that vanilla ice cream people scooped over my peach and blueberry crisps. I originally published this recipe in my book Veggiyana, the Dharma of Cooking.

Serves 6–8

4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon caraway seed
½ teaspoon celery seed
1 medium onion, diced
1 small red cabbage, cored and shredded
½ large round green cabbage, cored and shredded (the goal is equal amounts of the 2 cabbage colors)
1 large Granny Smith or other tart apple, peeled, cored and finely diced
1 small celeriac bulb, peeled and grated (1 cup will do)
½ teaspoon salt
Juice of 1 large lemon
¼ teaspoon balsamic or sherry vinegar
½ cup raisins, plumped for 10 minutes in water and drained (optional: add ¼ teaspoon orange flower water, orange juice or rose water to the water for added flavor)
¾ cup sour cream
½ cup freshly chopped dill sprigs

Crisp
8 tablespoon (1 stick) butter
1½ cups Kashi 7-grain cereal
1 teaspoon freshly minced ginger root
⅓ cup almond meal, or roasted chickpea flour
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
½ cup slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350ºF and get out a glass pie dish.

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large sauté pan. Add the caraway and celery seeds and stir them into the butter. Add the onion. Sauté over medium low heat until it is soft and translucent, but not brown. Add the cabbages, apple and celeriac. Carefully blend all ingredients. Sauté 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until the cabbage is soft. Then turn up the heat and try to make any moisture in the pan evaporate.

Remove from heat. Drain off any excess liquid. Add salt, lemon juice, vinegar and the drained raisins.

Let the cabbage cool 5 minutes, then add the sour cream and dill. Blend well and put the cabbage mixture into the pie plate, distributing evenly and smoothing the top. Leave at least ½ inch at the top of the pan for the “crisp.”

To prepare the crisp
Cut the stick of butter into tablespoon-size chunks and put it in a food processor with all the other ingredients except for the slivered almonds.

Using the pulse button 3 or 4 times, get the butter to stick and make clumps of Kashi.

Dump the mix into a bowl, add the almonds and use your hands to make clumps. You will still have some loose and dry ingredients. Spread the clumps evenly over the top of the cabbage and fill in with the loose powder. Be careful to extend to the edges to seal the cabbage juices in underneath.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 30–35 minutes at 350º, until the top is browned and the cabbage is boiling up the sides of the dish.

Cool for 5–10 minutes before serving.

. . .

Lamb with Spinach

This is very easy to prepare: the long ingredient list is mostly spices. It is Indian in origin, a cousin of the popular Kashmiri dish rogan gosh. Its bright color and flavor lift spirits sagging from winter wear. It looks elegant as well as glamorous and feels nourishing. Serve it with basmati or jasmine rice and a mint or mango chutney.

Serves 4

Lamb
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 inches fresh ginger root, peeled
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 small/medium green chilies like serrano, seeds removed
½ teaspoon salt
½ lemon, juice only
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon red chili powder (such as aleppo or chipotle)
1+ pounds spring lamb: leg steaks, rumps or 8–12 chops
3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, to pan-fry the lamb

Spinach
2 pounds fresh baby spinach leaves (if you find a 1 kilo package, OK)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee
1 teaspoon cumin seed
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 large onion, peeled and finely diced
1 large green chili (like serrano), seeded and diced
1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and finely diced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon fenugreek seed, crushed or ground
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chickpea flour or semolina (a flour coarser than white wheat)
1½ tablespoons butter
⅓ cup cream (heavy or light)
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Heat oven to 375ºF.

In a small food processor or mortar, combine all the ingredients in the first section

(from vegetable oil to red chili powder) and grind into a paste. You can use a bit of water if that helps.

Smear this all over the lamb and let the meat marinate 30 minutes.

While waiting, fill a large pot with water, bring it to a boil and drop the spinach in. Cook until it wilts, about 2–3 minutes. Immediately drain, run under very cold water to cut the cooking heat and drain as well as you can. You will probably need two steps: one squeezing it in a colander and one squeezing it in a towel. When it’s as dry as you can get it, put it in a food processor and get it into a smooth green paste. It will be thick, no worries.

In an ovenproof heavy-gauge frying pan or grill pan, heat the oil to very hot. Put in the lamb and sear it on both sides. This will likely take 3 minutes per side except chops may need only 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the lamb rest 5 minutes. Now mix the yogurt with a pinch of salt and smear it evenly over the lamb. Put the meat in the oven to roast at 375º for 6 minutes. Chops may be done in 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the meat rest while you finish the spinach.

In a heavy-gauge flat-bottom pan, heat the ghee or vegetable oil over high heat until it is very hot. Add the cumin seeds. When they crackle, lower heat to medium-low and add the garlic and onion. Sauté 3–4 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent. Stir in the chopped chili, ginger, ground coriander, fenugreek and 1 teaspoon salt. Sauté 1–2 minutes. If heat is not now on low, put it there. Gradually stir in the flour, carefully stirring to avoid clumps and lumps. Stir in the spinach and mix it thoroughly with everything in the pot. Stir in the butter until it melts. Very slowly, still on very low heat, carefully fold in the cream. Sprinkle on the ground nutmeg and remove from heat. Cooking too long with dull the bright spinach green and perhaps force the cream to separate.

Spread the spinach evenly all over your serving plate.

Cut the lamb—not the chops—into strips and arrange whatever lamb you used over the spinach. Serve warm with rice.

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