A Trio of Lush Spring Dinners from Full Belly Farm
Here’s a fresh meal plan for the week, complete with a quick shopping list and three easy recipes.
Wondering what to make for dinner this week? Well the freshest way to start would be with spring veggies, which have finally landed at the market. “We feel fortunate,” says Dru Rivers of Full Belly Farm in the Capay Valley, which managed to escape the devastating floods this winter. “But we just got a lot of rain. And it was also really cold.” As a result, she reports that many crops are running about a month behind, so you might have to wait a hot minute for juicy tomatoes. But Bi-Rite Market is now bumping with creamy new potatoes, the sweetest snap of baby carrots, and plenty of tender greens and fragrant herbs.
Earth mama Dru and her chef son Amon Rivers generously shared three quick and easy recipes they love to feed family and friends this time of year (each recipe makes 4 servings). We’ve rolled them into a weekly meal plan, because let’s call one night for leftovers and another for takeout (or tendies). Check out the handy shopping list below, ready to pull up at the Market or click through to place an online order. With crispy golden chicken, a cool noodle salad, and a lush green pizza, spring produce is officially on the table.
Weekly Shopping List
- New potatoes
- Spring onions
- Green garlic
- Jalapeño chiles
Meat & Seafood
Panfried Chicken Thighs & New Potatoes with Herbs
Truly fresh new potatoes are exceptionally creamy in the spring, when Full Belly likes to sizzle them with a big whiff of fresh herbs. Top them off with crispy chicken thighs to make it a full skillet.
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 to 2 pounds new potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
4 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on (about 2 pounds)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and boil until nearly tender, 10 minutes. Drain and let cool enough to handle, then cut into ½-inch coins. Meanwhile, in a sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the chicken thighs, season with salt and pepper, and sear until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Return the sauté pan to the heat, add the rosemary, oregano, and parsley, and fry until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the potatoes, season with salt, and place the chicken thighs on top. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook until the chicken thighs are firm and the potatoes are thoroughly tender and starting to brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken and potatoes to plates and serve warm alongside asparagus prepared your favorite way.
Rice Noodle Salad with Shrimp and Spring Veggies
Full Belly calls this their “almost summer” noodle salad, featuring the cool crunch of cabbage and carrots. Tossing in cooked shrimp makes it easy, or you could swap in grilled chicken or baked tofu.
8 ounces rice noodles
6 to 8 cabbage leaves, thinly sliced
2 carrots, shredded or julienned
1 or 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
½ cup tightly packed cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
1 pound cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
Jalapeño-lime dressing (see below)
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the rice noodles and boil until tender, according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water. In a large bowl, toss together the noodles, cabbage, carrots, spring onions, and cilantro. Scatter with the shrimp and peanuts and serve, spooning the dressing over the top at the table.
For the jalapeño-lime dressing:
3 cloves garlic, peeled
⅔ cup water
½ cup fish sauce
½ cup fresh lime juice, from about 4 limes
½ cup rice vinegar
¼ to ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar, to taste
1 or 2 jalapeño chiles, seeded and minced
In a food processor or blender, add the garlic and pulse to mince. Add the water, fish sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and jalapeños and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Pour the dressing into a bowl and serve. Makes about 2 cups.
Potato Pizza with Leeks and Arugula
Full Belly is known for their pizza nights, when family and friends like to kick back on the lawn at the farm. In the spring Amon sprinkles the pies with spring veggies, like these fluffy potatoes, sweet leeks, and peppery greens.
1 ball fresh pizza dough
Semolina or all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
3 to 5 new potatoes, thinly sliced
1 leek, sliced
1 or 2 stalks green garlic, sliced
1 handful fresh oregano, chopped
1 or 2 handfuls arugula
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)
Let the pizza dough come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Sprinkle a baking sheet with semolina or all-purpose flour. Working on a floured surface, shape the pizza dough into a round, then transfer it to the prepared pan. Brush the round with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the mozzarella, potatoes, leek, green garlic, and oregano, and season again with salt and pepper. Bake until the potatoes are tender and the pizza is golden brown and bubbling, 12 to 15 minutes. Let the pizza cool slightly before cutting into wedges. Pile on the fresh arugula, finish with a squeeze of lemon and drizzle of olive oil and serve warm. Add a sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano if you like.