Sunday, June 24, 2012

Green Spring (or mid-summer) Vegetables


One of my hopes for this year, especially for the spring and summer, was to eat seasonally and locally. Over the last few years, I've learned that it's important to do that as much as possible, for sustainability's sake, and because it just tastes good. Once you start incorporating seasonal produce into your diet, you'll never eat another January berry or November asparagus. I promise.

Keeping this in mind, and using my new favorite cookbook, I've planned my menus around the seasons more than ever before. When I saw this recipe from Ina Garten, I knew it fit in perfectly with my goal, and it just looked darn delicious. I mean, look at that green! Even Hannah munched on this side dish, and we're in the middle of a picky phase right now.

I think what makes this recipe work is that it's pretty simple, and the true flavors of the vegetables really shine through. Since these particular veggies are in season right now (the sad, tail end of the season for asparagus and snap peas) it's also economical. Delicious, economical, green..what's not to love?

Green Spring Vegetables
(Adapted from Ina Garten)

1/4 lb. green beans, trimmed
1/4 sugar snap peas, trimmed
1/2 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 lb. broccoli, chopped roughly
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare an ice water bath in a large bowl. Salt the boiling water generously, and blanch the green beans for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon or spider/skimmer, lift the green beans from the hot water and plunge them into the ice water bath to shock them and stop the cooking process. Repeat this process with the snap peas and asparagus, cooking for one minute only. Blanch the broccoli and cook for 2 minutes. Immediately plunge vegetables into the ice water bath after cooking to stop the cooking process. (This also helps them retain their bright green color.)

When all the vegetables have been added to the water bath, drain well. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.

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