Neanderthals could cook a steak over fire. Preparing carrots and their ilk creatively takes a little more evolutionary thought.
Credit: Photo: Cultura RM Exclusive / Leon Harris / Getty

Sometimes opening up the refrigerator crisper drawer is like staring at a blank page. Dinner won’t write itself tonight. Those torpedo-shaped spring onions, that bunch of carrots, and the first-of-the-season asparagus you bought earlier in the week? It’s time to shape them into paragraphs.

Let’s be honest: Even seasoned weeknight dinner pros like you and me get stuck in ruts. We make excuses. We procrastinate. Sometimes we close the crisper drawer and just order in the pizza.

Not tonight. Tonight, we’re cooking. Slice those carrots into thick pieces, rolling them each time you cut at an angle to make oblong shapes, and toss them with olive oil, cumin, and coriander. Roast them in a 425°F oven, leaving the skins on to add chewy character. Carrots love creamy dairy fat, so slice some of the onion tops, stir them into Greek yogurt, and smear the sauce all over the bottom of a serving plate. Pile on the carrots, and grate some lemon or orange zest over top. Add chopped toasted nuts if you have them.

Take advantage of spring produce with a veggie-loaded frittata.

Now we’re getting somewhere. Slice the spring onions into knuckle-length pieces and sauté them, making sure to swirl the butter so it coats the sides of the skillet and makes it more nonstick. Crack a few eggs into a bowl, and whip them into a froth. Pour that into the skillet shimmering with butter and onions. When the eggs begin to seize, add a few chunks of feta or grated Parmesan, and finish the frittata in the oven.

In the meantime, grill those fat spears of asparagus until charred and barely tender. Serve them at the table on a warm plate pooling with good olive oil and sea salt for swiping and rolling the spears, plus some warm, crusty bread. There, that’s better—a vegetable dinner. And we should all be eating more vegetables.

Neanderthals could cook a steak over fire. Cooking carrots and their ilk creatively takes a little more evolutionary thought. Thankfully, the warmer the weather gets, the less work it takes. Come late spring and summer, dinner writes itself.