Sunday, May 04, 2008

Spring vegetable ragout

My mother was here visiting over the weekend...it was fun and exhausting. I think she has more energy than anyone I know. She's like a tiny, Italian perpetual motion machine. We had a great time and made a trip to the Morningside farmers market. There were tomatoes (although they were probably not grown outdoors), and strawberries, fava beans, lettuce, arugula, green garlic and tons of other produce available. I thought these perfect springtime veggies would go well in a fresh ragout with some lemon juice, dill, and and a little cream. We had Betsy, Ryan and Paul over and everyone got to hang out with mom, drink wine, learn to juggle, etc.

Start with 8 tiny baby artichokes. If you can't find them, you can use big ones and cut them up into quarters (or use good quality artichoke hearts for a different style but equally delicious dish). Steam or boil them until tender--about 30 minutes. Fish them out and slice in half lengthwise and set aside. Shell about a pound of fava beans. I know it's tedious as hell (you have to shuck them out of the pod, then skin each one) so if you don't feel like preparing a whole pound, don't worry about it. The amounts here are very flexible. Or you could use frozen shelled edamame instead, if you don't have fresh fava beans. Thinly slice 3 green garlic (or scallions can replace) using a few inches of the pale green part in addition to the white bulb. Saute the green garlic/scallion in 2 tablespoons butter until soft and fragrant. Add 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, a pinch of salt, your shelled fava beans and 1/2 cup green peas. Saute everything together in the butter for 1 minute, then add 1/2 cup chicken stock and continue to stir. After 5-7 minutes over medium-high heat, add a teaspoon of dill (use fresh dill if you have it, but add at least twice as much), and 1/4 cup heavy cream. Stir everything gently together and add the baby artichoke halves at the very end, just to heat through. Fresh mint would be wonderful scattered over the top to serve but I didn't have any.

1 comment:

Steve Kempster said...

We are scheduling an ATL trip this summer. Though there are no conditions to us going, it would be really really awesome to have some of your homecooking, 'specially if it involves wine from Greens and a little nit noi. We miss you deeply :)