Asparagus, Peas, and Basil

Yesterday on my walk in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, I spotted two hopeful signs of spring: purple crocuses and a robin. I nearly swept them up in my arms, so welcome were these harbingers of warm weather, especially after the dour, unrelenting winter of snow we suffered this year.

These merry messengers put me in the mood for spring’s brightest, greenest vegetables. So, scavenging the ever-trusty, I found this blast of spring: in one neat recipe, there’s fresh peas, asparagus, and--in a sneak preview of summer--fresh basil. Enhanced with shallots and butter, it’s an emerald spring garden that will refresh your spirits as it brightens your plate.

ASPARAGUS, PEAS & BASIL (6 servings)

- 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots (about 2)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3/4 pound shelled fresh peas (2 1/2 cups; 1-3/4 pound in pods) or 1 (10-ounce) package thawed frozen peas
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Handful of torn basil leaves (about 3/4 cup)

Cook shallots in butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until just tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in asparagus, peas, sea salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, then seal skillet with foil. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender but still slightly al dente, about 8 minutes. Stir in basil and sea salt to taste.

Variations: Fresh mint can be tossed in the the basil. Alternately, the whole medley can be served over short pasta with alfredo sauce, or over brown rice.

Recipe from