Featuring recipes selected from the award winning Paradiso Season, A Paradiso Year offers a practical and inspirational approach to cooking and eating seasonal food. After months of heavy dishes made from roots and 'cupboard food', we have the first shoots of spring greens and sprouting broccoli, wild garlic, rocket; and later, asparagus, artichokes, broad beans.
The plants of spring change how we cook, lightening our dishes, giving them a high, delicate sweetness and vibrancy. Where spring is full of promise and hope, summer is the big payoff of the growing season. At the height of the season, we feast on so many varieties at one time – tomatoes, peppers, courgettes and their delicate flowers, chard and all of the beans and peas.
But if there is a highlight to the bounty of summer, it is surely the delicate, fragrant fruits that feed our memories as much as our bellies. Cherries alone would make the season worthwhile, yet they are followed gluttonously by sun-ripened strawberries and raspberries, the almost sinful pleasures of peaches, and intensely fragrant melons.
Denis Cotter is owner of the Café Paradiso restaurant in Cork. He is the author of the acclaimed Cafe Paradiso Cookbook and Paradiso Seasons (winner of Best Vegetarian Book in the World Award 2003)