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Southern Specialties offers menu ideas for the spring

As Southern Specialties approaches the spring season, Charlie Eagle, vice president of business development for the Pompano Beach, FL-based company, said it’s well prepared to offer strong programs for its customers with a complete line of Southern Selects products, including asparagus, French beans, baby vegetables, peas, heirloom tomatoes, berries and more.

“Some of the most popular items for Easter and Mother’s Day celebrations that we have would be asparagus, heirloom tomatoes, English peas, French beans and rainbow carrots,” Eagle said. “When you’re talking about asparagus from Southern Specialties, we offer it 365 days a year and we like to encourage our customers to serve up something unique for the holidays and our white asparagus program is perfect for that.”

SS-Baby-Heirlooms-Product-edited He explained that white asparagus has a more delicate flavor than the green asparagus but many people don’t realize they are also cooked a little differently in that white asparagus really present best and tastes best when you give it a very light peel with a carrot peeler and then cook it in salted water about a few more minutes longer than you would with the green asparagus.

“They merchandise beautifully on the store shelves and they look great on a serving platter,” Eagle said. “Frequently served with Hollandaise sauce or a vinaigrette and some chopped parsley, they are a great spring time item and a great item that’s a little different and a great complement to the normal asparagus offerings on the store shelves.”

When Eagle has guests of his own, sometimes he’ll serve an asparagus vinaigrette salad that has both white and green asparagus, and he said not only does it look great on the plate, but people love it.

Another product that is very popular in the spring is the Southern Select Heirloom Tomatoes, and the program includes either the assorted, large heirloom tomatoes in a single layer flat as well as the baby heirloom tomatoes that come in a variety of colors.

“Both of them offer a lot of excitement on the plate,” Eagle said. “The great application for the large heirloom tomatoes would be sliced with Burrata cheese, a fantastic spring time item, and the baby heirlooms are sensational as a garnish or vegetable item.”

Sometimes, Eagle will melt them in a 250-degree oven for up to 90 minutes with some olive oil and salt flakes on them, and he noted that makes a great complement for any dish.

Spring also means the introduction of Southern Select English Peas —English peapods all selected and harvested by hand.

“You get some pasta primavera with shelve English peas and maybe some diced prosciutto, olive oil, garlic and Parmesan, and it’s a great way to enjoy our peas,” Eagle said. “Or simply simmering or boiling them in a little bit of salt and water with a teaspoon of sugar to bring out the sweetness. It’s a beautiful item with great shelf presence.”

Another beautiful option for springtime would be Southern Select Rainbow Peeled Baby Carrots.

“They still have a little bit of the green top on there to indicate the freshness and they come in a variety of colors,” Eagle said.

“It’s another sensational way to create excitement on the plate. They are perfect for Easter buffets, great for Mother’s Day dinners and really great anytime you want to get a great reaction from your guests. I oven roast them with a little bit of honey and a little bit of butter and they have great sweetness and a color that pops any dish.”

Southern Select French Bean program is one of the programs that the company is best known for. They are offered in a variety of presentations, anywhere from an eight-ounce microwavable bag up to a two-pound bag. This, Eagle said, is perfect for caterers, parties and serving large parties.

“We’re touting a number of these for spring time and wowing guests at the table or restaurants,” Eagle said.