Peter Som’s Fresh Seasonal Fare

Four bright recipes to welcome the late-spring, pre-summer season.
Opt for a European-style butter to achieve the perfect creamy sauce. Photo: Peter Som

By Peter Som 

A new season awakens after the chill of early spring, and it’s during these times that I crave dishes that are still hearty, but also nod to those bright, fresh flavors of the coming season. Easy, simple recipes that let the ingredients shine, but with the added flourish of fresh herbs, the tender sweet bite of peas, a drizzle of a citrus-infused vinaigrette—all to awaken the palate for the Technicolor bounty to come.

Bucatini With Peas and Miso Pecorino Butter

This is a case where using the best butter you can find is imperative—as it’s truly what makes up most of the sauce. Find a European-style butter—either imported or locally made—which has a higher fat content and less water; it’ll make all the difference in creating that glossy, silky sauce. I call for salted butter in this recipe. If you don’t have it on hand, use unsalted, and up the seasoning. However, add the salt and pepper at the end, as the miso has a salty flavor profile already. I’ve used bucatini here for its delicious chewy bite, but feel free to use any dry pasta shape you like.

Serves 4


1 pound dry bucatini

2 tablespoons white or yellow miso

8 tablespoons European-style salted butter, cut into cubes

1 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese, plus more for serving

2 cups frozen peas, thawed

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. In a large pot of well-salted water, cook pasta to al dente according to package instructions. Drain pasta, reserving 1½ cups of pasta water.

2. To the empty (but still warm) pasta pot, immediately add 1 cup pasta water and miso, and whisk quickly until miso is dissolved. Return pasta to pot along with butter, pecorino and peas; use tongs to combine. 

3. Add remaining pasta water if needed, and continue to mix until a glossy sauce coats the pasta. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Transfer to a serving platter or pasta bowls, finish with more pecorino and serve immediately.

Creamy Herby Zucchini Soup

This light yet hearty soup is bright with vibrant herbs that pair perfectly with the delicate flavor of zucchini. Cashews are used to thicken the soup, along with an optional splash of heavy cream at the end. If you’d like to make this soup vegan, omit the heavy cream and yogurt and add another ½ to 1/3 cup of cashews instead. This soup is equally delicious served chilled. 

Serves 4


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing

1 small yellow onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, sliced

3 medium zucchini, cut into ½-inch pieces

1/3 cup cashews

3 cups vegetable broth

½ cup mix of roughly chopped dill, mint and parsley, plus more for garnish

1/3 cup heavy cream (optional)

½ cup Greek yogurt, for serving

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. In a medium soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, add olive oil along with onion and garlic and saute for 2 to 3 minutes or until softened and just golden brown in spots. Season with salt and pepper. 

2. Add zucchini and saute for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often until softened and starting to turn golden brown in spots. Add cashews and broth and mix to combine. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. 

3. Turn heat off and add herb mix, then use an immersion blender (or carefully transfer to a blender) to puree until smooth. Stir in heavy cream and season with salt and pepper.

4. To serve, ladle soup into bowls, finish with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a glug of olive oil, and garnish with reserved herbs.

See for more inspired recipes. 

Scallops are high in protein, low in fat and provide several vitamins and minerals such as selenium, zinc, copper and B12. Photo: Peter Som

Pan-Seared Scallops With Spring Fried Rice

A universal and personal favorite—fried rice—gets a fresh seasonal update that’s perfect for company. Verdant and vibrant vegetables along with handfuls of fresh herbs give this dish a decidedly “primavera” vibe. No soy sauce here—instead, mirin, rice wine and a dash of sesame oil add balance and depth. At the last moment, a quick pan-sear of the scallops, and it’s ready to serve. Comfort food that’s spring dinner party-ready—that’s the name of the game here.

Serves 4


1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or other neutral oil, divided

2 eggs, beaten

½ cup diced onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 scallions, sliced, plus more for garnish

1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 head Romanesco cauliflower, cut into florets and bite-size pieces

1 cup frozen peas

3-4 cups cooked day-old jasmine rice

2 cups baby spinach

¼ cup minced chives, plus more for garnish

¼ cup roughly chopped dill fronds, plus more for garnish

1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish

4 tablespoons mirin

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 pound sea scallops

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. In a large pan or wok over medium-high heat, add ½ tablespoon grapeseed oil. Add beaten egg and cook in a single layer until top is set. Slide out of pan and cut into ¼-inch-thick ribbons. Set aside.

2. In the same pan, add onion, garlic and scallions and saute until soft and just golden brown, approximately 1 minute. Add asparagus, Romanesco cauliflower and peas and mix to combine. Cover with a lid for 2 minutes. Remove the lid and turn the heat to high. 

3. Add rice, spinach, chives, dill, cilantro, mirin, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil and stir to combine. Season with kosher salt and pepper to taste. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes and transfer to a serving platter. Wipe pan clean.

4. Pat scallops dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides. In the same pan, add remaining ½ tablespoon grapeseed oil. Add scallops and sear for 2 minutes, undisturbed, on one side until golden brown, then flip and sear on the other side for 1 minute. Remove scallops from the pan and add to the platter. Garnish with remaining herbs and serve immediately. 


White asparagus—traditionally a German delicacy—boosts heart and digestive health. Photo: Peter Som

White Asparagus and Prosciutto With Jammy Eggs and Orange-Chive Dressing

Late spring marks the finale of white asparagus season, so be sure to get them at their most tender and delicious. Milder and more delicate in flavor than their green cousins, this is a case where the simpler the preparation the better. Here, they’re paired with Belgian endive, which sees its peak season ending around the same time—so it’s a perfect dish to herald the changing of the seasons. Dressed simply with an orange Dijon vinaigrette that brings brightness to the dish, and the addition of salty, fatty (and delicious!) prosciutto along with jammy eggs, this dish is the perfect light lunch or dinner starter to serve alongside salmon or chicken.

Serves 4


1 bunch white asparagus, ends trimmed

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon orange zest

4 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard

1 teaspoon honey

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon minced chives, plus more for garnish

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 Belgian endive heads, leaves separated

4 slices prosciutto

Flaky sea salt


1. Fill a large pan with high sides with well-salted water and bring to a boil. Add asparagus and eggs into water. Boil eggs for 7 minutes, then remove and peel. Set aside.

2. Check asparagus for tenderness by piercing with a knife— depending on thickness asparagus should take 7 to 10 minutes. When asparagus is done, remove from water and set aside.

3. To make dressing, in a jar with a tight lid, add orange zest and juice, Dijon and whole-grain mustard, honey, olive oil, and chives. Place lid on jar, tighten and shake vigorously until emulsified and combined. Season with kosher salt and pepper. 

4. Transfer asparagus to a serving platter. Tear prosciutto lengthwise in half and arrange alongside endive. Cut eggs in half and add to platter, then spoon dressing atop. Garnish with remaining chives, finish with flaky sea salt and serve at room temperature.