Cookin' With Chef Kyle Williams

A crash course in spring eatin’ from Chef Kyle.

Chef Kyle Williams — April 2021

Spring nutrition tips from Chef Kyle

It’s starting to warm up in Kansas City. If you’re like me, you’re more than ready to welcome spring. Now is the perfect opportunity for fresh new foods and a new take on our nutritional habits. Here are some of my tips for seasonal eating featuring palate-pleasing flavors.

Eat what’s in season  

Spring brings an abundance of fresh vegetables, while fruits tend to reach their peak later in the season. Tasty, nutritious vegetables like asparagus, peas, radishes, spinach, arugula, beets and scallions are now in season. Now is the time to head to the produce aisle or farmers market – safely, of course.

Not a seasoned cook? No worries. The beauty of these veggies is that it doesn’t take much effort to bring out their flavors. Asparagus can be steamed and tossed in olive oil or another oil with a touch of salt for a ready-to-eat treat. Arugula has a mild peppery flavor that can add pep to salads and other dishes. Beets can be roasted in the oven with some oil and salt, with minimal fuss and maximum flavor.

Also, lettuce doesn’t have to equal salad (and even if it does, it doesn’t have to equal boring). Some dark leafy greens like spinach, kale and romaine lettuce can be incorporated into yummy recipes that offer health benefits like bone and anti-inflammatory disease protection.

Fruit fans are in luck later in spring when blueberries, strawberries and blackberries abound. You can feel good about eating berries because they may improve blood sugar and insulin response, helping protect against diabetes.

Your own produce aisle: growing a garden

As the popular saying goes, April showers bring May flowers. But they can also bring healthier foods to your table. Growing your own garden will help introduce more nutritious, plant-based meals into life – right from your backyard. Gardening also yields other welcome benefits. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers gardening an exercise as it uses every major muscle group in your body. On top of that, growing your own food gives a satisfying sense of accomplishment. Trust me, when you see the fruits—or vegetables—of your labor begin to emerge from the soil, you’ll likely be hooked.

Never gardened before? No worries. There are countless garden enthusiasts and resources for starting a garden. Remember: every gardener was once a newbie.

And now, for a recipe that will grow on you …

Let’s start with a tender mix of spring greens, toss them in a lively avocado vinaigrette, and then top with a piece of omega-rich grilled salmon. This salad is brimming with some of my favorite spring flavors. Let me know if you agree.

Grilled Salmon Spring Salad

MAKES 2 SERVINGS

INGREDIENTS 

FOR THE SALMON

  • 2 4-ounce salmon filets, skin on
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • Salt and pepper, as needed

FOR THE SALAD

  • 8 cups spring mix lettuce greens
  • ½ cup asparagus, bottom peeled, diced
  • 1 cup fresh snap peas, diced
  • ¼ cup carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 2 tablespoons radish, shaved
  • ½ cup peeled golden beets, small diced
  • Salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

FOR THE AVOCADO VINAIGRETTE

  • ½ avocado, peeled and deseeded
  • Pinch thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon green scallions, tops
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 -3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • ½ lemon, fresh squeezed juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Water, if needed
  • Salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of lemon balm, verbena or mint leaves (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat outdoor charcoal or gas grill.
  2. Season salmon lightly with oil and seasonings.
  3. Once the grill is preheated, grill salmon, skin side-down until completely cooked. Reserve warm on the side.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, add all vegetables from the salad mix.
  5. For vinaigrette, add avocado, scallion, herbs, lemon juice, and vinegar in a blender and puree on high.
  6. Slowly drizzle in oil. Add water if too thick. Should be the consistency of pourable ranch dressing for example. If you make a mistake and make too thin, add more avocado. Then, season with salt and pepper.
  7. Toss greens lightly with vinaigrette and season to taste.
  8. Place in bowls.
  9. Top with grilled cooked salmon.
  10. Garnish and enjoy!

GARNISH

  • Fresh grated lemon zest
  • Chive, minced 

CHEF NOTES

Everything tastes better fresh. Buy vegetables from a local farmers market or your favorite grocery store that has a good supply of fresh seasonal produce. Do not use lemon juice concentrate for this salad. Only fresh squeezed.

From the kitchen of Chef Kyle Williams 

Bon appétit!

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