Monday, May 3, 2010

Food Adventures: Spring veggies à la Barefoot Contessa

Green Green Spring Vegetables

We switch up our closets to welcome Spring so why not apply a little of that variety to our refrigerators and meals?! Buying veggies in season not only guarantees the best bang for your buck, but it also brings with it the best flavors.

As I was brainstorming recipes for Supper Club, I was very aware of the upcoming dates on which clothes are optional, as in bikini season, Hello! Also, I wanted something basic- yet not a salad, healthy- yet not reminiscent of cardboard, and simple to make- yet not requiring a can opener!

Ina Garten's "Green Green Spring Vegetables" recipe was just the right complement for the season, the roasted peppercorn pork tenderloin, and all my aforementioned, very important requirements.

Here's what you'll need:
1/4 pound French string beans (haricots verts), ends removed
Kosher salt
1/4 pound sugar snap peas, ends and strings removed
1/4 pound asparagus, ends removed
1/2 pound broccolini, ends removed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (Spread over 6 servings, no big!)
1 tablespoon good olive oil (I prepared an infused version in advance with garlic and several Italian herbs!)
3 large shallots, sliced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

And this is how to do it:
Blanch the string beans in a large pot of boiling salted water for 1 minute only. Lift the beans from the water with a slotted spoon or sieve and immerse them in a bowl of ice water. Add the snap peas to the same boiling water and cook for 1 minute, until al dente, adding them to the ice water and the beans. Cut the asparagus in 2-inch lengths diagonally and cook in the boiling water for 2 minutes, and add to the ice water. Cut the broccolini in half, boil for 1 minute, and add to the ice water. When all the vegetables in the water are cold, drain well.

When ready to serve, heat the butter and oil in a very large sauté pan or large pot. Sauté the shallots over medium heat for 5 minutes, tossing occasionally, until lightly browned. Add the drained vegetables to the shallots with ½ teaspoon salt and the pepper and toss. Cook just until the vegetables are heated through. Serve hot. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

This was my first foray into blanching, and I will do it again and often! It was simple enough in that I was able to catch up with my guests (and sip on wine of course!) sans screwing up the dish AND the veggies were cooked, but had that perfect crunch, color, and just enough flavor!
Unknown said...

Love that barefoot Contessa! She is one of 3 chefs that can actually inspire me to cook! Great post!

Willow Decor said...

Sounds Yummy!! I love Ina's recipes!!

Roxy Te said...

it was!! I love her "back to basics" approach!

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