Springtime in the kitchen
Seafood pairs easily with the amazing produce from spring because the crisp textures and fresh flavours combined with the more soft textures and delicate flavours of seafood provides an unrivaled taste experience. And amazing taste is just one of the benefits you gain when you choose to work with seasonal produce in your kitchen. Let's dive into some of the benefits!
More flavour and texture by the penny
A high price is not equal to a ton of flavour in vegetables and getting the most flavourful ingredients can make all the difference for an otherwise simple combination of ingredients.
When it comes to flavour, fruits and vegetables depend upon taste (the balance between sweet, sour, acidity and low or no astringency) and aroma (concentrations of odour-active volatile compounds).
A key factor in preserving flavour is the amount of time between harvest and consumption; the longer time between the two, the greater loss of characteristic flavour and the greater the risk of the development of off-flavours in most fruits and vegetables.
Therefore, when the produce is grown in season with the optimal conditions and harvested as close as possible to the optimal state of ripeness, the flavour and texture have the best possible conditions to develop fully.
Nutrients are booming
The nutrients are – as the flavours – at their peak when the produce is grown in season and harvested at the optimal state of ripeness. A study made by Wunderlich, Feldman, Kane & Hazhin has shown interesting results about the content of Vitamin C in broccoli.
The study was rather simple; go to grocery stores and purchase different kinds of broccoli – in season, off-season, conventionally grown and organic and measure the level of Vitamin C. To ensure as few interference sources as possible, the broccoli were all at the same stage of ripeness and purchased by random shoppers.
The broccoli was then sampled for content of Vitamin C. The reason why Vitamin C is so interesting in terms of nutrients in vegetables is that this particular vitamin breaks down very quickly and therefore is a good indicator for, how storage affects fresh fruit and vegetables.
While the study showed no significant difference between organic and conventional grown broccoli, the difference between seasonal and off-season was astonishing; The broccoli purchased in season had almost double the amount of Vitamin C compared to the broccoli purchased off-season.
There's money to be saved
When you cook with seasonal produce, there is an advantage for your budget as well. The abundance of seasonal produce make the prices go down. Simply put, it is all about supply and demand.
So what is in season now?
We have gathered some of the seasonal spring produce from Northern Europe and paired it with our favorite seafood below. Try cooking up a true spring recipe by playing with our suggestions:
Cooking with all the flavours and textures of spring
Part of creating a successful dish is hitting the nail on all parameters of the sensory compass and playing with different textures as well.
One example from the spring matrix above is the combination of the cold-water prawns firm, yet juicy texture and slightly sweet flavour and the mild white asparagus with a hint of bitterness, served with the intense and rich sauce mousseline on a bed of crisp butter lettuce and a slice of lemon.
Alternatively, try a moist and delicate pan-seared Greenland halibut loin, served with a side of white wine braised leeks and topped with chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, thyme and chives – a simple and light dish with plenty of room for a rich desert.
Kader, 2008: Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, Flavor quality of fruits and vegetables