A strongly aromatic herb, fennel tastes like licorice and is found often in Mediterranean cuisine and salads. While it's usually the leaves you're after, fennel’s bulb and seeds (particularly when dried) can be incorporated into dishes like braised fennel or pastas. Also, fennel’s one of the primary ingredients in absinthe.
Where you’ll find it used: White Dog’s Crab Cake ($16) Amis’s Fennel Gratin ($8)
While this fruit’s native to Mexico, it's good for much more than guac. Try avocado on its own, spread on toast, stuffed in sandwiches or tossed on a salad. 75% of avocadoes’ calories are fatty, but don’t be deterred — it’s the good kind. These green guys have got 35% more potassium than bananas and lots of fiber, too.
Where you’ll find it used: Matyson’s Chimichurri Chicken Wrap ($10) Honey’s Sit ‘n Eat Brisket Soft Tacos ($12)
Eaten by Romans and grown in Henry VIII’s garden, these funny–shaped vegetables might be history’s favorite fruit (with some concession to the olive). Boil one in salted water and use its leaves as scoops for creamy dips, or stuff them with your favorite bread and cook — the artichoke is versatile and lends itself to creativity.
Where you’ll find it used: Chloe’s Ravioli ($17) Osteria’s Lamb Neck ($28)
You know it makes your pee smell, but did you know asparagus contains vitamins A, C, E and K and is so favored that several cities host week–long festivals to celebrate its spring arrival? If you can’t make it to Nuremberg to see the world’s fastest asparagus peeler this April, try shaving its stalks yourself. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon for cheap a cheap and refreshing alternative to lettuce.
Where you’ll find it used: Garces Trading Company’s Verde Pizza ($16) Monk’s Cafe’s Mac & Cheese ($16.50)