It worked! It really, really worked. All my whining and locavorism lapses last week did the trick: they ushered in spring. Real spring. Sunshine, warmth, green. And allergies, lots of those. If I knew that it would be that easy to bring an end to last week’s persistent, relentless gloom and grey, I would’ve been making strawberry-rhubarb crisp, pie, crumble and the like in February. Really, I would have.
Now that spring finally seems like a reality—something I can see and feel—I only have eyes for green: not just those chartreuse mini-leaves budding on trees everywhere I look, but green on my plate too. We’ve been eating asparagus like it’s going out of style. And, with a little luck at the market, we’ve been eating fava beans too—just buttery and meaty enough for me to forget just how tedious the little buggers are to prepare.
It seems appropriate to ring in spring with this recipe that combines both the asparagus and the fava beans. Along with tiny peas, minced shallot, thinly shredded basil and a little bit of butter, this dish is pure spring: simple, clean, bright, and gloriously green.
This recipe is perhaps most obviously a side dish, but I combined it with chopped toasted walnuts and crumbled feta for a hearty lunch too. I think it would also be great stirred into some pasta or farro, along with a squeeze of lemon and a dusting of parmesan. I’m sure I’ll dream up some other uses, too, as I continue to ring in real spring.
Asparagus, Peas & Favas with Basil
Adapted from Gourmet
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots (about 2)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups fresh shelled or frozen peas
1 cup fresh shelled or frozen fava beans
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Handful of torn basil leaves (about 3/4 cup
Cook shallots in butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until just tender, about 4 minutes.
Stir in asparagus, peas, favas, sea salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, then seal skillet with foil. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender but still slightly al dente, about 8 minutes. Stir in basil and sea salt to taste.