January fruits and vegetables
Here we are in the new year. The festive season is drawing to a close, there is little desire for returning to the grind. But never as in these days, it is so important to get back on track and detox after festive binge eating by tucking into healthier recipes. It is essential to pay more attention to the dictates of nature, which brings to our dining tables what’s necessary to meet the needs of this time of the year. As always, the main thing is to choose an excellent raw material: fresh, good, but above all seasonal, in order to have the best result in our dishes as well as nutrient-dense meals for the cold season. Cold-hardy vegetables are brassicas, cardoons, carrots, artichokes, beetroots and cos lettuce, while fruit baskets are filled with citrus fruits.
January veggies: brassicas and cardoons
Swiss chard, lots of it, and the whole cruciferous brassica family that, as already pointed out, will be with us for a while yet. Green light, then, to recipes with broccolini, Savoy cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts that will warm you up, especially when used in soups. Now it’s also time for the Roman artichokes which make for delicious dishes: fried alla giudia (Jewish style) or braised alla romana (Roman style) with lots of lesser calamint. First course vegetables to be used first and foremost in risottos or lasagne, or as tasty side dishes to be cooked in the pan or in the oven (the combination with potatoes is a great classic that never gets old). January produce include onions, fennel, curly endive, leeks, escarole, radicchio, turnips, beetroots and cardoons. Among the traditional recipes to try out the cardoon gratin, leek and potato soup, radicchio risotto (the sweet tooth can add the gorgonzola cheese) and bean and kale soups.
January fruits: citrus fruits, apples and pears
In addition to the sweets brought by the Befana to our homes, the month of January also opens its doors to a great deal of seasonal fruits: apples, pears and kiwis along with fragrant citrus fruits, the real protagonists of the coldest days and an excellent source of vitamin C. Stock up on lemons, citrons, mandarins, oranges and grapefruits to make liqueurs or marmalade, or try them in savoury dishes: the zest can liven up many dishes, even the simplest. Apples and pears keep taking centre stage in pastry: delectable sponge cakes, fruit tarts, pound cakes and pancakes to bake with a little sugar to satisfy the desire for sweetness without exceeding the calorie supply.
by Michela Becchi