Spring Recipes | Online Exclusives, April 2012

Spring into Spring with Healthy Recipes

Make light and nourishing meals this season

Aaah … springtime is finally here! The winter doldrums have been replaced by vibrant shades of green and blossoming flowers. Traditionally, spring has been seen as a time to celebrate life and new beginnings. After a long, drab winter, there is no better way to welcome warmer weather than by ditching your hearty cold-weather meals for lighter dishes.

There are a slew of healthy spring recipes to choose from, each with fresh ingredients that are reminiscent of the explosion of growth occurring just outside your kitchen window. Whether you pick the ingredients from your personal garden or order them through a grocery delivery service, these recipes are sure to please.

Online ExclusivesFresh Pea and Mint Soup
Makes 10 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 2/3 cups chopped shallots
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups shelled peas or two 16-ounce bags frozen petite peas, unthawed
5 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth (here’s a vegetarian broth for all you herbivores)
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

Heat oil in heavy, large pot over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic. Sauté for 7 minutes or until tender. Add peas and stir 1 minute. Add 5 1/2 cups broth and bring to simmer. Cook 8 minutes or until peas are very tender. Cool 15 minutes. Purée soup and 1/4 cup chopped mint in batches in blender until smooth. Return to same pot; thin with more broth by 1/4 cupfuls, if desired.

This soup can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, cover and chill. Rewarm soup over medium-low heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and garnish with additional mint.

Fish Fillets in Parchment with Asparagus Orange
Makes 4 servings

4 14×15-inch squares parchment paper
4 5- to 6-ounce fish fillets
12 fresh tarragon leaves
2 tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 pound slender asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
4 tablespoons orange juice

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place parchment squares on work surface. Generously butter half of each parchment square; top buttered half of each with 1 fish fillet. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper, top each fillet with 3 tarragon leaves and 1 piece of butter. Arrange asparagus around each fish fillet and pour 1 teaspoon of orange juice over each. Fold parchment over fish and asparagus, folding and crimping edges tightly to seal completely. Place on baking sheets, spaced well apart.

Bake packets 17 minutes. Slide packets onto plates and serve.

Can be made 4 hours ahead and chilled until prep time.

Online ExclusivesRhubarb and Ginger Brioche Bread Pudding
Makes 12 servings

1 cup seedless raspberry preserves
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1 tablespoon finely grated orange peel
2 1/2 pounds (8 cups) rhubarb, ends trimmed, stalked cut into 1/2-inch-wide pieces

3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
8 1/2-inch-thick slices brioche or egg bread, cut lengthwise in half
Lightly sweetened whip cream

For rhubarb: Whisk preserves and 1/2-cup water in heavy large skillet over medium heat until preserves dissolve. Sprinkle ginger and orange peel over. Scatter rhubarb evenly in skillet. Bring mixture to simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes, occasionally stirring very gently, until rhubarb is slightly tender but still intact. Pour mixture into large sieve set over large saucepan. Let drain 15 minutes.

Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover fruit and syrup separately and chill.

For pudding: Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk sugar and eggs in medium bowl. Place milk and cream in heavy medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Gradually add hot cream mixture to egg mixture, whisking custard to blend.

Butter 13×9x 2-inch oval baking dish. Arrange enough bread slices to cover bottom (some spaces will remain between slices). Spoon half of rhubarb mixture evenly over break. Repeat with bread and rhubarb layers. Pour custard over the top. Place baking dish in roasting pan. Add enough hot water to pan to come halfway up sides of dish.

Bake pudding until it’s just set in the center, about 50 minutes. Remove from oven. Let stand in water bath 30 minutes. Remove.

Boil reserve syrup until reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Keep warm.

Brush top of pudding with some rhubarb syrup. Spoon warm pudding into bowls and top with syrup and whipped cream.

Recipes from Epicurious.com.

Sarah would like to believe that she is a gourmet cook, but the reality is that she writes more about cooking than actually doing it.

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