Spring Vegetable Ragout

Tuesday, May 3rd 2011, 9:35 am
By: News On 6


1 pound fresh fava beans

1 bunch asparagus

2 good sized leeks

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 ounces oyster mushrooms separated (or your favorite mushroom cut into pieces)

About a dozen baby carrots (actual baby carrots, not the zeppelin-shaped ones in a bag) peeled and halved lengthwise

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

A handful of fresh herbs, including: chervil, savory, basil, chives and/or parsley

Juice of 1 lemon

4 ounces snow peas or sugar snap peas, ends trimmed, strings removed

A few handfuls of baby spinach, sorrel or pea shoots, torn into pieces

1 bunch small breakfast radishes, greens trimmed (or larger radishes, cut in half)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Toasted crusty bread, for serving


1. Slit open the fava bean pods with your fingers and remove the fuzzy beans. Drop them into a pot of boiling water and boil for 30 seconds. Scoop beans out into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking and pop off the fuzzy outer skins. Set the peeled beans aside.

2. Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus. Line them up and cut the stalks crosswise into ½-inch thick coins, stopping when you get to 3 inches from the tip. Set coins and tips aside in separate piles.

3. Slice the leeks in half lengthwise, the crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Soak pieces in a bowl of cold water to remove any dirt, and lift pieces out of water with your fingers and set aside on paper towels.

4. Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter and the olive oil in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add leeks and sauté for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add mushrooms, carrots, garlic and half of the herbs. Squeeze the juice from half the lemon over the mixture and add a cup of hot water. Shake the pan, cover and lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook until the carrots have begun to soften, but are not yet fully cooked, about 2 minutes. Add asparagus, peas, spinach, radishes and fava beans, cover and cook 2 more minutes.

5. Uncover and stir in the remaining 4 tablespoons butter, the rest of the herbs and the juice from the remaining lemon half. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter has melted into the liquid, forming a sauce, and the vegetables are as done as you like them. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately with bread.

Serves 4 to 6