Seasonal Eating Ideas: Mayby Annabel Warne May 11 2018
May is here and tastes amazing. Fill up on our seasonal favourites, which include asparagus, new potatoes, broad beans, lamb with wild mint and rosemary, goat burgers, wild boar schnitzels with Frankfurter green sauce and wood pigeon cooked on an open fire.
The asparagus season is here, Jersey Royals are finally available, and the barbecues are out. Life is good! If you want to make sure you don’t miss out on this month’s bounty, read on for our guide to the best of May’s seasonal ingredients.
Jersey Royals and new potatoes
At long last, we can get our hands on the first Jersey Royals, which were hit hard by frost and sub-zero temperatures in February. If you can find some, snap them up because they’ll be in high demand this year. The exceptional flavour of Jersey Royal new potatoes is the result of their unique growing conditions. The island slopes from north to south, giving the growing crops more sunlight than mainland potatoes. In addition, Jersey has ideal soil that is well-drained and nutrient-rich, having long been fed with fertiliser made from locally harvested seaweed.
Now is definitely not the time to try a low-carb diet: irresistible Jersey Royals and local new potatoes are set to become a staple part of most of our main meals, whether based around wild meat, free range meat, poultry or fish.
Who doesn’t love asparagus? Here in Suffolk, we’re fortunate to live near some of the finest producers and we can’t get enough of these succulent spears with their unmistakable taste. We aren’t overly concerned with complicated recipes. For us, boiled new potatoes, a pan-fried pigeon breast and a bunch of tender steamed asparagus spears drizzled with salted butter cannot be bettered.
Don’t hang about, though. The asparagus season only lasts until around Midsummer’s Day so gorge on them while you can!
Free range lamb
British free range lamb is at its most tender in May and June. It’s also a great match for other seasonal ingredients, including wild mint, rosemary and broad beans.
Wild mint can be found in fields and meadows, although it’s best to avoid picking leaves from fields where livestock has been grazing. The leaves are smaller than common mint but you’ll find the flavour is twice as strong. Make a marinade for lambchops by heating extra-virgin olive oil or cold pressed rapeseed oil in a pan. Fry sliced garlic until golden then transfer to a blender with a few sprigs of wild mint, rosemary, parsley and marjoram, a pinch of ground fennel, cumin, salt and pepper, and a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Blend until smooth then use to marinate lamb chops overnight ready for grilling. Serve with new potatoes and minty broad beans or asparagus.
You could also serve your herby lamb with a fresh salad, now that lettuce is crisp and plentiful. Brighten up salads with borage and chive flowers (saving a few borage flowers for your Pimm’s, of course).
Borage and other herbs can also be made into a delicious Frankfurter Grüne Soße. Frankfurter green sauce is traditionally made with a mixture of herbs including borage, parsley, chives, chervil, watercress, sorrel, salad burnet, tarragon and lemon balm (or as many of these as you can find, avoiding dill which overwhelms other herbs’ flavours) as well as boiled egg yolks, sour cream, yoghurt, mustard and vinegar. We love it with new potatoes and wild boar sausages or a schnitzel made with a wild boar haunch steak.
Now that we have some better weather, it’s time to leave the confines of the kitchen and get cooking outdoors. Fire up the barbecue or build an open fire to add a smoky taste and richness to your food.
Try our recipe for wood fired pigeon, which is incredible cooked on the red embers of an open fire, and served with watercress, simply dressed.
If you still haven’t tried squirrel yet or are a converted fan, why not give this recipe for spatchcock barbecue squirrel a go too?
If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could also try building your own pit oven. You don’t have to roast a whole deer, like Jimmy Doherty did for Jamie & Jimmy's Friday Night Feast, but you could use this ancient cooking technique to slow roast a mouthwatering venison haunch joint or wild boar roasting joint.
Not that there’s anything wrong with a failsafe barbecue! And if you love a burger, you don’t have to settle for beef. Our range includes wild venison burgers, wild boar burgers, free range lamb burgers, Sutton Hoo gluten free chicken burgers and goat burgers. You can also make some tasty cheese filled rabbit and bacon burgers.