Although these are all genuine vegetables, they are not exactly all spring vegetables. The beans are not fava beans, they’re soybeans (edamame) and they are found in my supermarket freezer. The peas are also frozen, although I use fresh peas when I can find them. This is a wonderful side dish to make for a large party because for the amount of time and effort it takes to clean and cook asparagus, you can have a spring-tasting combination of vegetables that pleases everyone–including the cook. Despite the predominance of frozen vegetables in this dish, the finishing flavors (mint and lemon zest) are bright and not un-springlike.
Mock Spring Vegetables
2 lbs asparagus, bottom portions of stems peeled or snapped off
2 small shallots, peeled and finely diced
1-lb bag frozen edamame
10-oz. box of frozen peas
1/4 c mint leaves
zest of 1 lemon
4 tbls olive oil
salt and peppet to taste
In boiling salted water, blanch asparagus for about 4 minutes (working in small bunches, if necessary). Shock in cold water if not using immediately. In the same boiling salted water, add the soybeans and boil for 5 minutes. Drain. In the same water, blanch the peas for 1 minute and drain.
Saute shallots on low heat in 3 tbls olive oil until translucent and wilted. Add asparagus and continue sauteing until slightly golden, about 3 minutes. Add peas and edamame and taste and add salt and pepper. Drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkle with lemon zest and mint leaves and serve at once (mint leaves blacken immediately). Can be served later at room temperature but add a few more bright green mint leaves right before serving.