Celebrate the arrival of spring with ingredients that capture the flavor of...

Celebrate the arrival of spring with ingredients that capture the flavor of the season.

Seared scallops over pesto pasta.

Seared Scallops over Pesto Pasta
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 6

2 lbs. sea scallops, rinsed, patted dry
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. butter
1/2 c. olive oil
2 c. fresh parsley
1/4 c. pine nuts
1/3 c. Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic
Zest of one lemon
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 lb. linguine or fettuccine
1-1/2 c. peas
1 lb. fresh asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces (discard ends)

Season scallops lightly with salt and pepper. Heat butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy skillet and sear scallops over medium-high heat about 3 minutes per side until nicely browned and cooked through. Set aside. In a blender or processor, combine parsley, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, 1 tablespoon lemon zest and 1 tablespoon lemon juice; blend until lightly chopped. Add oil and blend until smooth. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, blanch the asparagus and peas for 1 minute in boiling water. Drain. Toss pasta with pesto, asparagus and peas, and serve on plate with scallops on top. Season with fresh pepper.

Mushroom and Gorgonzola Salad
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 6

4 c. baby portabella mushrooms, halved
1 c. button mushrooms
1 tbsp. fresh thyme
1/3 c. olive oil
1/2 c. Kalamata olives, pitted
2/3 c. marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1/4 c. sundried tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
6 c. fresh arugula or spinach
4 oz. Gorgonzola cheese
Pepper to taste

Combine mushrooms and fresh thyme in a large baking pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Roast in 400-degree oven for 15 minutes or until browned. Cool slightly. Combine mushrooms, olives, artichokes, and sundried tomatoes in a bowl. Whisk together remaining olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Toss mushrooms and vegetables with dressing. Place arugula on a large platter. Spoon mushrooms over arugula and crumbled cheese. Season with pepper.

Balsamic-Glazed Strawberries on Pound Cake
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Serves: 6

3 c. strawberries, quartered
5 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
5 tbsp. brown sugar
1 pound cake, sliced into 1″ slices
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream or whipped cream
Fresh mint to garnish (optional)

Heat vinegar and brown sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until sugar is dissolved and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add strawberries, tossing to coat. Spoon berries over pound cake and top with scoop of cream.

Lemon Gingerade
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 6

3/4 c. fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1 c. sugar
1 c. water
2 c. fresh lemon juice
12 oz. vodka
2 c. club soda

In a small saucepan, combine ginger, water and sugar. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Simmer 30 minutes. Cool and strain into a container. In a large pitcher, combine lemonade, vodka and syrup. Stir and serve over ice. Top with splash of club soda. Garnish with lemon slice.

Carrie Hanna is the author of Florida’s Backyard, a collection of original recipes. To order the book, call (800) 839-8640.