Fresh picks in San Diego this month
Spring = asparagus, so start planning how you’re going to use this gorgeous mostly green, but also white or purple stalk. Whether you prefer the stalks fat, pencil-thin, or somewhere in the middle, their sweet grassy flavor tastes great roasted and dressed in a vinaigrette, steamed, boiled (particularly the purple ones), stir-fried, or turned into soup. Just be sure to use them quickly: Snap off the fibrous, tough ends; peel the white ones (not necessary with green or purple); and don’t overcook.
Even if you don’t want to make it yourself, soup doesn’t have to come from a can—just ask caterer Shanti Claydon. She has some 70 varieties, based on local, organic products. The soups—like North African vegetable, Italian cannellini bean, and watermelon gazpacho—are all vegan and usually gluten-free. They’re sold in quart-size jars for $10, but you’ll get a dollar back when you return the jar. Find her at the Little Italy Mercato and Leucadia farmers market. shantiskitchen.com
San Diego’s Asian market options just grew exponentially larger with the arrival of H Mart in Mira Mesa. The sprawling Asian market is part of a Korean-oriented chain launched in the late ‘80s in Queens, New York. The name was shortened awhile back from Han Ah Reum, which means “one arm full of groceries.” Your cart will runneth over with items from the bountiful produce department, an oceanic seafood department, and aisles featuring bean paste, miso seaweed, and fish cakes. 9440 Mira Mesa Boulevard