Keep it Seasonal: Spring Eating in France
Eating seasonal fruit, vegetables, and seafood is simply the best choice whenever possible: it is good for the planet, good for your wallet, and good for your tastebuds. Now that we are out of the cold, dark winter days, it also becomes a bit easier to eat seasonally in Paris as we see increasing options available to us at markets and shops.
Spring produce is an absolute breathe of fresh air. We finally get fresh and punchy flavors that nod at the warmer temperatures to come. Cooking times shorten and colors brighten. Here are the seasonal fruits and vegetables you can expect to see in French markets in spring: Asparagus, banana, red cabbage, watercress, endive, spinach, fennel, strawberries, wild strawberries (fraise des bois), turnips, onion, sorrel, grapefruit, leeks, pea pods, apples, radishes, rhubarb, salad, artichokes, cucumber, zucchini, and peas.
Produce isn't the only food that is seasonal; did you know fish and seafood are seasonal too? In springtime, look for the following types of fish in France:
Northern pike (brochet)
Sea bream (dorade)
Meal ideas to consider
Wondering how to put some of these seasonal items to good use?Try some of these ideas:
Add strawberries to porridge/oatmeal
Add sorrel and radishes too a salad to freshen up the flavor factor
Create a spring pasta dish with artichokes, leeks, peas, and asparagus
Sheet pan chicken thighs with fennel, sundried tomatoes, and turnips
Apple rhubarb whole grain muffins for a make-ahead breakfast or goûter
Roasted red cabbage drizzled with tahini
Baked cod and zucchini fritters (similar to crab cakes, but seasonal, veggie-packed, and easy to make at home!)
Or why not try a seasonal sheet pan dinner? It makes the perfect one pan meal, is loaded with flavor, and pairs perfectly with some brown rice or local bread. Prefer not to eat fish? Try swapping in tofu. Check out the recipe below.
Spring Sheet Pan Salmon
1 jar of artichokes, drained
2 leeks, tough green ends removed, tender white and light green parts sliced
1 bunch of asparagus, tough ends trimmed and cut into 3cm segments
1 fennel bulb, sliced
1 tsp fresh or dried oregano
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 salmon filets
1 garlic clove, unpeeled
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Optional: brown rice or farro for serving
1. Preheat oven to 205 degrees C.
2. Combine artichokes, leeks, asparagus, and fennel on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with oregano, salt and pepper to taste, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss until well combined. Roast for 15 minutes.
3. Remove vegetables from oven. Layer salmon filets on top of vegetable mixture and season with salt and pepper. Nestle garlic clove among vegetables on baking sheet. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, until salmon is opaque throughout.
4. Once vegetables are crisp/tender and salmon is cooked through, remove baking sheet from the oven. Remove the pulp of garlic clove from its peel, place in a bowl and mash with a fork until it resembles a paste. Add lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and whisk with the fork until well combined.
5. If serving with a grain like brown rice, serve salmon and vegetables over the grain and drizzle the lemon-garlic mixture over everything. Otherwise, drizzle lemon garlic mixture over the salmon and vegetables on the baking sheet and serve.
Note: This article was initially written for the Message Paris blog. It first appeared on the blog for Message Paris on May 8, 2023. It has been replicated here with permission.