Thursday, June 2, 2011

Spring Vegetable Ragout

I love the simplicity of cooking in the springtime. Fresh, vibrant spring ingredients like fava beans, asparagus, mushrooms, and peas have such a natural affinity for each other and taste their best with very little cooking. That is primarily why I love making a beautiful, bright, and healthy vegetable ragout in the spring!


The approach is straightforward- cook your favorite spring vegetables until bright and crisp tender, finish off with a touch of cream, a squeeze or two of lemon juice, a pinch of lemon zest, and a dusting of parmesan cheese, and you have a taste of spring for dinner. For a little kick, I love adding a generous pinch (or two) of crushed pepper when I cook the veggies.

You can make the ragout as simple or as complex as you wish, depending on how much shelling of peas and favas you want to do! As a result this can be a quick dish to prepare in a pinch or an involved dish that can take an hour or so to make. Either way I think you will enjoy the burst of spring flavors. The ragout can be served as a side dish or as a main over polenta or tossed with pasta.


I simply drew on the contents of this week's CSA box to create this wonderful medley of spring goodness- fava beans, peas, radishes, thin asparagus, wild mushrooms (morels would have been wonderful too), and tiny new potatoes. Honestly, frozen peas would work just fine.  If it were not the end of a busy day, I would have added freshly pared artichoke hearts, but shelling the favas and peas gave me plenty to do :)

Spring Vegetable Ragout
2 lbs of fava beans, removed from pods
3 small radishes, thinly sliced into rounds and then halved
1 to 1.5 cup fresh shelled peas (or frozen peas)
1 lb thin asparagus, sliced on a diagonal into 1.5"pieces
4 oz wild mushrooms, stems trimmed and larger ones sliced into quarters, others in half
1/2 lb tiny new potatoes
2 stalks of green garlic, thinly chopped on a diagonal
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp (or splash) of heavy cream
6 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 tbsp olive oil
pinch of crushed red pepper 

Bring water to a boil, add salt. Add fava beans  and cook for 2 minutes. Remove and cool in an ice bath. Once cool, slip off the jackets and set aside.

In the same pot, boil potatoes until tender, about 10-15 minutes depending on the size. Drain and let cool. Slice on the diagonal into halves or thirds.

In a large saute pan, heat olive oil and 1/4 cup water. Add a pinch of red chili flakes. Once the water boils, add spring garlic and potatoes, cover and cook for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms, cook covered for 3-4 minutes. Add asparagus, peas, fava beans, and radish, cook covered for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with lemon juice and lemon zest. Add a splash of cream. Toss to coat well. Transfer to serving bowl and top with fresh basil and cheese.

1 comment:

  1. AnonymousJune 03, 2011

    Heaven in a bowl! Looks just incredible.


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