June Vegetable Ragout
- SERVINGS: 4
Inspired by the extraordinary array or fresh vegetables in the market in June, Patricia Wells combined young garlic, purple-tipped artichokes, plump fava beans, last-of-season peas and asparagus for this dish. (She has also had terrific results with thawed, frozen artichoke hearts, as well as thawed, frozen lima beans instead of fava beans.) The fruit and acid of the wine bridge the flavors of the vegetables.
- 1 lemon, halved
- 8 large artichokes
- 2 pounds fresh peas in their pods, shelled (2 cups)
- 20 asparagus tips
- Ice water
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 medium onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
- 1 large head of garlic, cloves peeled and thickly sliced
- Bouquet garni made with a small bunch of fresh summer savory or thyme and fresh flat-leaf parsley tied with kitchen string
- 2 pounds fresh fava beans in their pods, shelled and skinned (2 cups)
- 3 tomatoespeeled, cored, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
- Garden Pesto and crusty bread, for serving
- Squeeze the lemon juice into a large bowl of cold water and add the lemon halves. Break off or cut the stem from the base of the artichokes. Using your hands, snap off the tough outer leaves near the base. Continue snapping off leaves until only the central cone of yellow leaves with pale green tips remain. Using a large knife, trim the top cone of leaves to just below the green tips. Trim any dark green areas from the base with a small sharp knife. Using a small spoon or a melon baller, scrape out and discard the hairy choke. Quarter the artichoke hearts. Place the artichoke quarters in the acidulated water.
- In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, blanch the peas and asparagus tips for 2 minutes. Drain the vegetables and then plunge them into a bowl of ice water. Drain them again thoroughly.
- In a large nonreactive skillet, combine the oil, onions, garlic and bouquet garni; season with salt. Cover and cook the vegetables over low heat until they are partially softened, about 10 minutes.
- Add the artichoke pieces, fava beans and tomatoes. Stir in the wine and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes longer. Add the blanched peas and asparagus and cook for 1 minute longer. Transfer to a platter, drizzle Garden Pesto all over the vegetables and serve at once with plenty of crusty bread.
Use a delicate, not too floral white. Wells' choice is a wine made from Sauvignon Blanc, a grape that loves garlic.