Photo credit: Photo Guide: The ABCs of Northwest Spring Produce>
I have been blessed to work with many local chefs that utilize and live by the standards that their cuisine should reflect what is currently produced. Right now, Chef Don Curtiss at Volterra is using fiddlehead fronds, English peas and morels served with a scallop which admittedly sparked this article.
I LOVE fiddlehead fronds. They are the youthful beginning of ostrich ferns that curl tightly and have the same texture as slightly cooked pea vines. Some say fiddlehead fronds are similar to asparagus. I do not find them as bitter and the flavor is richer. At Volterra, we pair the scallop and spring vegetables with Montenidoli Vernaccia. However if you are cooking these at home without morels, try them with a verdejo such as Chamelin (currently on close out SALE for $10.99 | Mixed Case $8.79) or a local Washington Sauvignon Blanc. (But please not a New Zealand or Loire- too much citrus, not enough grassy undertones.)
Mmmmmm…. Morels! A meaty mushroom treat sautéed in butter and red wine- serve this with any local Syrah, such as Darby or 5 Oros Tempranillo (Spain).
Nettles are a bit time consuming to harvest but such a healthy and unique delicacy. These are another bitter green yet high in iron. Nettle gnocchi, similar to spinach gnocchi, paired with Noveau Aligoté or Tenuta Giaccobe Soave.
The beautiful white flower, Elderflower, with its delicate fragrance is a fantastic dessert as a simple syrup. I like Dolin Blanc on the rocks with a touch of Elderflower simple syrup. Chef Don Curtiss served his lemon mascarpone custard with Elderflower simple syrup last fall! We paired that with VVS Brachetto.
Watercress salad or garnish with Ossau-iraty and enjoy with Clos du Bosqut Pinot Noir
Rhubarb as a pie is always nice- but as chutney with your pork tenderloin… Yes please. Pelassa Barbaresco with its rich cherry undertones, tannins and soft leather is a great match.
Next time you are at your local farmers market, ask for something off your beaten path. How is your local farmer cooking it? What are your local chefs growing and bringing in? Each season presents bounty here in the PNW. Portalis is here from 11am-5pm on Sundays if you are at the Ballard Market and need a pairing with your freshly foraged produce and local finds.
Sommelier, wine+food writer