Tag Archives: peas

Spring Vegetable Sauté

This is an excellent side dish that showcases spring peas and asparagus. I added some edamame too for added dimension of texture and flavor. Serve as a side dish for brunch, or as I did, at dinner with grilled lamb chops, malbec-fig reduction and Parmesan polenta.

Spring Vegetable Sauté
kosher salt
1 bunch asparagus
1 1/2 cup fresh, shelled peas (you can use frozen, too)
1 1/2 cup fresh, shelled edamame (you can use frozen here, too)
6T good quality butter (I like European butters, like Plugra, Lurpak or Kerrygold)
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1/4 cup buttermilk
about 1/8 cup mint leaves, torn into small pieces
about 1/8 cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

1. Put a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Add enough kosher salt so that it tastes like the ocean. Sometimes, this takes cups of salt – fear not!

2. Clean your asparagus. To do this, snap off the bottom of the stalk, and discard (or save for flavoring vegetable stock, or making asparagus soup.) Then, use a vegetable peeler to peel the bottom half of the remaining stalk. Don’t go all the way up to where the flower starts, just get the tough fibrous peel off. Then, cut your spears into 1″ lengths, on the bias.

2. Set up an ice bath. Fill a large bowl with ice and add water.

3. Blanch your asparagus. When the water is at a full rolling boil, drop the asparagus pieces into the pot and wait until they just turn bright green, about 25 seconds. Scoop them out and drop them in the ice bath. This is easiest if you have some kind of basket or metal colander to lower into the pot of water. Otherwise, use a slotted spoon to fish out the veg.

4. Repeat step 3 with the peas.

5. Repeat step 3 with the edamame. You don’t want to blanch all the veg together, because they may need different amounts of time.

6. Drain the vegetables and set aside.

7. Meanwhile, in a sauté pan, melt the butter over low heat. When the butter fat solids just start to turn brown and smell a little nutty, throw in your shallots and cook until just soft, about 2 minutes.

8. Add all the vegetables, toss or stir to coat with the butter mixture and when everything starts to steam, add the buttermilk. Turn up the heat to medium and cook until the liquid evaporates.

9. Remove from the heat, taste and add salt if you need it. Toss in the mint and parsley and stir to evenly distribute. Serve hot.

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Recession Special

The Gourmand & I calculated how much $$$ we’ve been spending at the farmer’s market, and then how much money we spend on take out (as a result of laziness and exhaustion at the end of long work days) and then how much of our farmer’s market veggies never make it to plate before turning odd colors, going to seed in the refrigerator or being petrified in the crisper. Not good! I have shelled lots of peas and frozen them in gallon bags, along with some strawberries to save for the cold days of winter when Driscoll’s just won’t do.

However, we LOVE to shop for food. Some women gravitate to Canal Street for knock-off purses. I go to Stinky Brooklyn for a new hunk of Mimmolette. This has led to a full kitchen pantry, a blue metal hutch filled with flax seeds and pastas and imported jellies and tuna in olive oil from Sicily, which are so much fun to buy! The colorful labels jump off the shelves and into my basket like LV embellished handbags. The more foreign the language, the better.

Like the handbags (I imagine) many of our purchases end up on the shelves, and slowly get pushed to the shadowy corners and forgotten about. Until yesterday!

Maybe its because we can’t fit one more thing on the shelves of our pantry. Maybe its because our freezer sends hardened pork chops and duck stock bouldering to the floor when we open it, or when I heard myself say, “We don’t have anything to cook.” The Gourmand rose to the challenge! Of course, feel free to substitute or supplement the recipe with whatever you have on hand. Improvising is the key to using stuff up – and making room for more!

Potato Gnocchi with Spring Peas, Garlic Scapes and Bacon

1 package Mediterranean Potato Gnocchi (from Trader Joes, purchased in March)
4 strips thick sliced bacon (from Ray Bradley Farms, purchased last fall sometime and frozen)
1/4 cup chopped garlic scapes (purchased 2 weeks ago from Farmer’s Market)
2 cups frozen sweet peas (purchased 2 weeks ago from Farmer’s Market)
olive oil
shaved parmesean  reggiano (unknown, but still smelled and tasted good and had no fur)

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the gnocchi according to package instructions. (Pillowy and light, these starchy puffs are the foundation of many italian primi piatti. As versatile as pasta but with more density and addictive chewiness.)

Meanwhile, place the bacon in a large sautée pan over medium heat. The key to cooking bacon is “low and slow” low heat and lots of patience. Allow the bacon to get dark brown and crisp and render out most of its fat. Remove from pan and allow to cool enough to handle. Chop the bacon fine and set aside.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat and add in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. (I know it sounds like a lot, but this is the basis for your sauce – no other liquid will be added and you want the gnocchi to be evenly and well coated. And remember, small portions are the new mega meal.) When the butter melts and the foaming slows down, add the garlic scapes and the peas. Sautee until they are bright green. Add back in the bacon. Drain the gnocchi and add to the pan as well, tossing until coated and the peas are evenly distributed.

Serve with shaved parmesean cheese, and cracked pepper, if you have it in the pantry!