Mussels are fantastic right now. Breathe in the tantalizing sea-fresh steam. Savour it. And then get to the task at hand; extracting succulent offerings from gaping shells and soaking up the fragrant broth with pieces of crusty-soft bread for a complete sensory food experience.
March is a bit of an intermittent month. Everyone is waiting for the full bounty of produce that arrives with spring, but it’s still early enough in the year to feel the heels of winter in the air. However, the past few months have been much milder than usual, which has resulted in a few spring favourites cropping up earlier than previous years.
One of these ingredients is wild garlic (or ramsons), which is now growing in woodlands all over the UK – you should be able to smell the flowers if you’re near some.
The first stalks of asparagus are beginning to appear in places like the Wye Valley, but it’s best to wait a few more weeks until they really start to taste their best. In the meantime, stock up on the last of this year’s purple sprouting broccoli, one of the only British-grown greens you can find in the supermarket at the moment.
British-grown chicory is a good choice at this time of year. It’s cultivated in the same way as forced rhubarb – grown in the dark over three weeks – and adds a welcome burst of bitter freshness to seasonal dishes.