This bright green medley captures a variety of flavors and textures. Use leafy greens (lettuce, chard, spinach, escarole, pea shoots), alliums (spring onions, leeks, green garlic), something with crunch (asparagus or broccoli), and a few peas or beans for accent. If you observe Ashkenazic kashrut, omit the legumes during Passover and add sprouting broccoli, also known as broccolini or baby broccoli, to the mix. I’ve given quantities here, but the choices are up to you.
Makes 8 servings
1 pound (450 g) fava beans in the pod, about ½ cup (75 g) shelled
1 large onion, 2 leeks, or 1 bunch good-size spring onions, about ¾ pound (340 g) total
4 or 5 green garlic plants
1 bunch white-stemmed Swiss chard, ½ pound (225 g) spinach or pea shoots, or 1 head escarole or lettuce
1 bunch thick asparagus
1 pound (450 g) English peas in the pod (1 cup (145 g) shelled), ½ pound (225 g) sugar snap peas, or ½ pound (225 g) sprouting broccoli
2 tablespoons avocado, grapeseed, or extra-virgin olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or dill
1 Meyer or Eureka lemon
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
Prepare the vegetables for cooking, keeping each separate (this can be done a day ahead and refrigerated). Shell the fava beans and cook them in boiling salted water until the skins are loose and the beans are tender but still bright green, about 3 minutes. Drain and let cool until they can be handled, then slip the skins off of the beans and discard. You should have about ½ cup (75 g).
Cut the onion into bite-size pieces. If using the leeks or long spring onions, thinly slice crosswise. Thinly slice the green garlic, including about 5 inches (13 cm) of the tender green tops. If using chard, strip the leaves from the stems as directed on page 17. Chop the stems as you would celery and set aside. Cut the greens crosswise into ribbons 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide. If using spinach, tear any large leaves. If using pea shoots, cut into 2-inch (5-cm) lengths, trimming away tough tendrils or stems. If using escarole or lettuce, cut into ribbons 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide.
Snap off and discard the woody ends from the asparagus spears, then cut the spears into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces. If using English peas in the pod, shell them. If using snap peas, cut crosswise into thirds. If using the broccoli, cut into small florets.
In a 12- to 14-inch (30.5- to 35.5-cm) sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion or leek, green garlic, chard stems (if using), and a little salt and cook, uncovered, until onions are softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the leafy greens, season with salt and pepper, and cook until tender, 5 to 10 minutes, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons water if the pan seems dry and covering the pan halfway during cooking.
Stir in the asparagus, peas or broccoli, and fava beans, cover, and cook just until tender but still bright, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the mint. Using a five-hole zester, and working over the pan, remove the zest from the lemon in long strands, capturing both the zest and the spray of citrus oils in the pan. Season with salt and pepper, then mound on a platter and serve warm or at room temperature.
SHOPPING TIP: Before there were the large hybrid broccoli we are most familiar with today, open-pollinated varieties produced side shoots that were cut from a central stalk, in the manner of Brussels sprouts. Today, the mature but tender shoots of these mostly heirloom types are known as baby, or sprouting, broccoli and broccolini.
Reprinted with permission from The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen © 2015 by Amelia Saltsman, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Staci Valentine.