The Year In Food » Fine Seasonal Eating

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Green Almonds

There’s that palpable change happening again – a sense of building anticipation and elation as the weather warms. On Monday evening while driving to a friend’s, it struck me how odd and wonderful it was that at 7:30 pm there was a golden evening glow about the sky – it felt too late to still be light out, but here we are. I had made my peace with those early dark nights – as I do every winter – because I kind of enjoy them for a little while, and because there’s no escaping them. But when these long evenings return it feels like falling in love. San Francisco’s been in the grip of an early little burst of heat, and the city comes alive under its magnificent spell. There’s an electricity in the air, a sense of togetherness in our hustle, a sense of anything-is-possible-ness. It’s invigorating.


So I’m spending my evenings outside on the deck, resurrecting my little garden, marveling at a breathtaking city view that I try not to take for granted after five years here, and turning on the stove as little as possible. I love this time of year.

In April, Maggie Battista and I adventured out to Berkeley Bowl – perhaps one of the best local spots to take anyone enthusiastic about food, and especially produce. It’s unmatched in variety and weirdness. We got some green almonds there. She brought hers back with her on the plane – I like anyone who brings food home from travels. That Friday I dined at one of my favorite local spots, Heirloom Cafe. I had been mulling what to make with those green almonds until I had some roasted asparagus dressed with a gorgeous salsa rustica there. While there were no green almonds in theirs, it was totally obvious that a salsa rustica was the perfect home for these tart, crunchy young almonds.

Happy Spring, gang! Happy Friday. Hope you all have a fantastic weekend.


Inspired by Heirloom Cafe; salsa rustica adapted from Chez Panisse Vegetables

2 shallots, minced
1/2 cup thinly sliced green almonds (rinse thoroughly!)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons capers
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for cooking asparagus
Sea salt and pepper to taste

1 bunch asparagus
4 quail eggs or two hen eggs, optional

In a mixing bowl, toss the shallots and green almonds with the red wine vinegar. Set aside to macerate for at least 15 minutes.

If using quail eggs, bring a small pot of water to a simmer. Using a slotted spoon, carefully drop the quail eggs into the water, and set a timer for 3 minutes. Drain, and place in an ice bath to cool. Set aside.

Next, add the capers, parsley and thyme to the bowl with the shallots and green almonds. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over a medium flame. When hot, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the asparagus, and saute until tender, about two to three minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the spears.

Divide the asparagus among four plates. Top generously with salsa rustica.


  • Sina - How lovely. My first time seeing green almonds and such small eggs. The dish looks really tasty.ReplyCancel

  • Stacy - Gosh. Yum, lady! You never stop coming up with brilliant combinations, and I never stop being impressed. xoReplyCancel

  • Gemma @andgeesaid - This looks so wonderful :) The colours are beautiful! xx


  • Juliette - Waow, i never knew green almonds could be eaten like that!
    THANKS for teaching me. Now i can’t wait to find some and try your recipe!
    Looks SO good… :-)ReplyCancel

  • Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl - Beautiful dish popping of colors. Have a great weekend!ReplyCancel

  • Irina @ wandercrush - Beautiful! The first time I ever had fresh almonds was in Greece. This salsa is genius, and such a good way to enjoy asparagus season :)ReplyCancel

  • ileana - I’ve never seen this before. What a gorgeous dish!ReplyCancel

  • la domestique - I’ve never seen green almonds- how neat! The dish looks gorgeous with those tiny quail eggs and their perfect yolks.ReplyCancel

  • Mimi - Wish I could get my hands on these!ReplyCancel

  • Joanna - All these years I had thought that you could not eat the green almonds because they contained cyanide.ReplyCancel

  • Lynda - Great use of green almonds- I have a bag in my fridge I need to use asap!ReplyCancel

  • Elliott - I applaud your description of the onset of Spring and the parallel to falling in love. So very well put.ReplyCancel

  • Nik@ABrownTable - That is one gorgeous, delicious and unique combination. Now I just need to find some here in D.C.ReplyCancel

  • shelley - wow, i am fairly foodie-ish, but this was WAY off my radar!!!
    thanks for that cuz i love to learn…keep it comin’!ReplyCancel

  • Dan from Platter Talk - Nothing short of spellbinding, in prose and image. Thanks so much for the post.ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn - Love the bright spring colours of this, so vibrant and full of that anticipation you talk about and which is my favourite thing about this time of year. Wonderful.ReplyCancel

  • Ole @cookingbrains - Wow, this is the first time I passed by your blog, but I surely won’t be the last. I love the colours – this looks amazingly yummy. Unfortunately you can’t get fresh almonds up where I live. Do you have a suggestion for a substitute?ReplyCancel

  • Rosemary C - This looks gorgeous. I love asparagus and I usually eat it raw. I’ve never eaten or even seen green almonds before (I live in the UK). Do you eat the whole thing, the part that will become the shell and all? Or do you kind of peel them?ReplyCancel

  • Kathryne - Look at those fuzzy little almonds! I almost want to snuggle with them. I am so glad spring is here. Optimism is in the air and it is lifting my spirits.ReplyCancel

  • kirti - I never knew how to cook green almonds until I saw this. Thankyou, thankyou anfd thankyou.

    Your blog is amazing. And such an inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • Fettavskiljare - Such a beautiful dish! I will definitely try this green almonds recipe.ReplyCancel

  • Sara - Wow, if only I could find green almonds. this looks inspired!ReplyCancel

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