Celebrate spring with a dinner party inspired by the farmers’ market. With so many new fruits and vegetables coming into season, a fresh and colorful menu is a breeze to pull off — especially when you recruit a few friends to help. Read on for our best recipes starring asparagus, sweet peas and strawberries, and scroll down for tips to make the occasion special and stress-free.
Start off with a couple of casual hors d’oeuvres to snack on as guests arrive. These ricotta and pea crostini are delicate and unexpected, thanks to additions of fresh tarragon and pink peppercorns. Sliced raw crudites with a creamy herb dip highlight the colors of the season.
As the host, offer to prepare the main course yourself. Tender farro tossed with a medley of spring vegetables makes a beautiful centerpiece, healthy, hearty and satisfying. Substitute vegetable stock for chicken stock and leave out the pancetta for a meatless main; the peas, leeks and asparagus are plenty flavorful on their own.
Serve a green side salad with fresh herbs, bright and pleasantly bitter when made with a mix of greens. Finish the meal with a gorgeous strawberry galette, topped with a dollop of crème fraîche and a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.
- Ask guests to bring the appetizers, salad and dessert, and send them the recipes in advance (they’ll appreciate the guidance).
- When everyone arrives, set out the food buffet style for easy serving. Depending on the size of the group, you may want to create a couple of different buffets: one for appetizers and drinks, and one for the main course, salad and dessert.
- The light, mild flavors of spring call for a crisp wine — find warm-weather wine picks here.
- Vibrant, rustic dinnerware is ideal for almost any kind of gathering, but the colors truly pop in spring. If you like, accent the solid pieces with salad plates inspired by the blooms of the season. Incorporate natural textures, too, such as a wooden board for the crostini or a cherry wood salad bowl.