Spring Vegetable Ragout

This week’s recipe combines butter-poached peas, scallions and garlic scapes, which become a quite different vegetable when cooked–bean-like and sweet.

Spring Vegetable Ragout

10 oz sugar snap pea-pods, trimmed (about 4 cups)
8 oz shelling peas (about ½ cup shelled)
8 garlic scapes, tender parts only, top-knot discarded
8 scallions, trimmed back to six inches
1 cup pea-cooking water, plus some extra
8 Tbs cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
salt, pepper, big squeeze of lemon juice
2 tbs fresh chopped parsley,
few tarragon leaves, chopped (optional)

Prep vegetables: cut scapes into green-bean-like lengths. Cut each scallion into two 3-inch sections; if bulbs are nice and fat, slit lower section lengthways, exposing the bulb’s white interior. Set aside. Drop sugar snaps into lightly-salted boiling water and blanch for a minute, adding shelled peas for the last 30 seconds. Drain, reserving blanching water. Cool peas and pods in fresh icy water to set color, then drain well.

Make poaching liquid: put 1 cup of piping-hot pea-blanching water in a blender, add 1Tbs. cold butter, cut in small pieces, and pulse to blend. Gradually add remaining butter in the same way, pulsing after each addition. Season with pepper.
Warm poaching liquid in a large sauté pan or flame-proof casserole. (Liquid should cover bottom by a quarter-inch or so. Add a little reserved pea-blanching water if pan gets too dry.) Add scapes and scallions and simmer until scallion bulbs start turning translucent. Stir in sugar snaps and peas and cook, basting vegetables, until vegetables are just tender but still a nice green. Squeeze over lemon juice, check seasoning, and give vegetables a final basting with their poaching liquor. Dish up, scattered with parsley and a hint of tarragon, if you have some. If you remove vegetables to another serving dish, poaching liquid can be further reduced to glaze vegetables. Serves 4.

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