Nigel Slater’s recipes for a spring vegetable tart, and ricotta stracciatella dessert

Capture the taste of spring with green veg and a fresh fruit trifle

I bring radishes home, two bunches at a time, snowy tipped and bushy leaved, and plunge them, leaves and all, into deep, icy water. It feels like the start of something. And so it is, with those late-spring, early-summer trips to the greengrocer, coming home with peas and broad beans – tiny, like doll’s house vegetables – the first tomatoes from the Isle of Wight and, of course, asparagus. There is mint and basil in pots on the windowsill getting their first taste of early-summer sun.

I make a dressing for my daily salads, but I have also taken to eating salad leaves fresh from the icy water, with not a jot of olive oil of vinegar – just to taste each leaf, each sprig, pure and crisp and clean. We had a vegetable tart the other night, too, raiding the veg-box delivery for early radishes and leaves, with herb-freckled cream cheese and some unnecessary but beautiful wild garlic flowers, like tiny white stars. Cut into slices and eaten outside, it felt like we were celebrating something. Perhaps we were.

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