Meatless Monday: Spring Garden Vegetable Hodgepodge
I’m a big fan of Deborah Madison, former chef of Greens Restaurant in San Francisco. For that matter I’m a huge fan of Greens Restaurant. On the fortunate occasions that I get to visit the Bay Area, I always make time to go to Greens at least once. The food is healthy, innovative and always inspiring.
As a vegetarian since 1978, it’s like Christmas to go to a restaurant where I can order anything on the menu. Back in the early days, salads were often the only thing I could order at most restaurants. This is still the case much of the time at fine restaurants. Often vegetarian choices are less than inspired, because veggie food is not most restaurants’ focus. Greens’ entire menu is fair game, and the choices are very creative.
One of Deborah Madison’s cookbooks, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, is the book I turn to more than any other for meal planning. So I was very happy to hear this recipe featured on NPR’s “The Splendid Table” last weekend. It comes from Madison’s book, Vegetable Literacy. This recipe takes advantage of the freshest veggies of the season. The results are bright and vibrant.
I found this recipe online at seriouseats.com.
Deborah Madison’s Spring Garden Vegetable Hodgepodge
Yield: 2 servings
- Handful of radish thinnings, plus their greens
- 3 thin leeks, white part plus a little of the pale green, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
- 10 ounces pod peas, shucked (about 3/4 cup)
- 3 thick asparagus spears, tough ends trimmed, peeled, and sliced on the diagonal
- Spring butter, made from the milk of grass-fed cows, or your favorite
- 1/2 to 1 cup water or veggie stock
- Sea salt
- About 1 teaspoon finely chopped tarragon
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Prepare and wash all your vegetables. Trim the radishes and slice them lengthwise, making all the pieces more or less the same size. Also wash and dry the greens, and ready the leeks, peas, and asparagus. (If you wish, you can make a stock to use in this dish with the leek trimmings, pea pods, asparagus peels, some tarragon, and salt. You’ll need only 1 cup or so.)
When you are about ready to eat, melt a few teaspoons butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and 1/2 cup of the water and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with a few pinches of salt, add the radishes and asparagus, and simmer for 3 minutes. Next, add the peas and radish greens, making sure there is liquid in the pan as you go and adding more if needed. Continue cooking until the peas are bright green and the leaves are tender, about 2 minutes longer. The radish leaves will wilt and look a little funky, but they will taste mild and slightly nutty.
When the vegetables are done, remove from the heat, add a heaping spoonful of butter, season with salt, and stir in the tarragon and lemon juice. Taste and adjust the seasonings, then serve and enjoy your garden in a bowl.