A Seasonal Menu for April

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A Menu for April

Watercress Soup with Anchovy Croutons and Spring Herbs
Seared Sea Scallops with Cauliflower Purée and a Currant and Pine Nut Relish
Vanilla Semifreddo with Rhubarb Compote

I’m exited to share this menu for April! We are coming out of the depths of winter and happily there are plenty of inspiring ingredients at our local farmer’s markets to help us usher in the flavours of spring. I have been thrilled to see stinging nettles, hedgehog mushrooms, radishes and fiddle heads. Many of the vendors are now offering bags of jewel-coloured watercress and bunches of chives with their pink flowers attached, along with the first stalks of rhubarb.

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This month’s menu perfectly showcases some of these early spring arrivals and the flavours are light and bright like the season itself. The menu was inspired by recipes from one of my very favourite cookbooks Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin. This cookbook is filled with fantastic seasonal menus that and is a constant source of inspiration for me.

Both Diane from Nourishing Vancouver, (my collaborator on this seasonal menu project) and I tweaked the recipes from Sunday Suppers to help streamline the dishes to make them doable for the home cook without sacrificing the bold flavours of the original recipes.

We started with a lovely watercress soup. I am always looking for new way to cook with watercress and this soup is an absolute winner that will become a staple in my watercress repertoire. The colour alone is enough of a reason to make and serve this soup but it also happens to burst with springtime flavour in every spoonful. We both added a potato to the broth to thicken the soup slightly and I topped my bowls with croutons that I seasoned with a compound butter seasoned with anchovies, lemon zest and herbs.

For the main course we wanted to highlight scallops. This dish comes together with ease, especially if you make the pine nut and currant relish in advance. Diane garnished her scallops with a mint and pistachio pesto and some cherry tomatoes which is something I will definitely try next time. The purée of cauliflower is a simple, healthy component that is super quick to make. Just steam florets of cauliflower and then put them in the blender with some olive oil, salt and pepper. I also roasted some of the florets for a colour, flavour and texture contrast on the plate and loved the result. The agrodolce currant relish with pine nuts and herbs works beautifully with the scallops but this would also be lovely on halibut or other white fish The whole dish comes together in about 20 minutes.

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Dessert in early spring means rhubarb for me. I grow rhubarb in my garden and am always giddy with excitement when it comes time to harvest the first slender stalks. I am personally not a fan of mixing rhubarb with other fruits, like strawberries, but let your palate be your guide here. You can caramelize the rhubarb for a deeper flavour but I just made a simple compote with a bit of orange zest, sugar and vanilla and it worked well with the vanilla semi-freddo.

I would love any feedback from those of you who are following along and making these menus or the individual recipes at home! Also, any spring favourites that are staples in your kitchen this season?

xo J







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One Response to A Seasonal Menu for April

  1. Melissa says:

    Such a lovely post Julie. The food looks amazing and the photos are perfect.

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