Asparagus Ragout for a transitional season

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by: Monvile






This ragout is on my menu when I’m ready for spring but it’s not altogether ready for me. In this transitional dish, the peas and asparagus are the link to spring, but the rest of the vegetables—carrots, rainbow chard, mushrooms—hang back a bit, still in winter. As this is not a hefty stew, you'll want to include a more substantial component in your meal, but make it something that doesn’t need any of your attention—baked ricotta cheese with pepper and thyme or the sautéed cheese. Or you might consider slipping a few cooked ravioli into the stew at the end. Serve a Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc. It will stand up to the asparagus and the beurre blanc.




ingredients

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serves: 4

THE BEURRE BLANC:

1/4 cup white wine vinegar or Champagne vinegar

1/4 cup dry white wine or Champagne

2 tablespoons finely diced shallot

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

6-8 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces

THE RAGOUT:

1 bunch rainbow chard, with stems

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons butter

5 teaspoons olive oil

1/3 cup finely diced onion or leek

8-12 slender carrots, halved lengthwise

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 1/2 pounds asparagus (the tough ends snapped off, thick stalks peeled and cut into 3-inch lengths)

1/4 pound edible-pod peas and/or snow peas, trimmed

3/4 pound fresh shiitake or cremini mushrooms (stems removed, the larger caps quartered or halved, the smaller ones left whole)

2 tablespoons minced chervil or a mixture of parsley and tarragon

Nutrition Facts
Asparagus Ragout for a transitional season

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Amount per Serving

Calories: 451

  • Total Fat: 29.9 g
  •     Saturated Fat: 15.6 g
  •     Trans Fat: 0.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 61.5 mg
  • Sodium: 325.3 mg
  • Total Carbs: 32 g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 10.3 g
  •     Sugars: 13.4 g
  • Protein: 8.5 g
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preparation

1.  To make the beurre blanc, put the vinegar, wine, shallot, and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan and simmer until only 2 tablespoons remain. Turn off the heat and whisk in the butter piece by piece until all is incorporated. The sauce should be thick and white. Season with a little pepper and set aside.

2.  To make the ragout, slice the leaves off the chard stems, wash well, then cut into ribbons about an inch wide. Trim the stems so that you have even planks, then cut them into strips about 3/8 inch wide and 3 inches long. Bring 2 to 3 cups water to a boil, add a few pinches of salt, and simmer the chard stems until nearly tender, about 5 minutes. Lay the leaves over the top and cook them until tender, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

3.  Heat 1 tablespoon each of the butter and oil in a wide skillet fitted with a lid. Add the onion and carrots. Cook over medium-high heat for a few minutes just to brown things a bit, then reduce the heat to medium. Add the wine, let most of it sizzle away, then add 1 cup water and the asparagus. Season with a few pinches of salt, then lower the heat even more, cover, and cook until the asparagus and carrots are nearly tender, about 6 minutes. Add the peas. In all, this should take about 8 minutes.

4.  Heat the remaining butter and oil in a wide skillet over high heat. When the butter foams, add the mushrooms and quickly stir them about. Saute until the mushrooms have browned nicely, then released and partially reabsorbed their juices, reducing the heat to medium once they’ve colored, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5.  Taste each part of the dish for salt. Loosely arrange the vegetables into 4 pasta bowls. Distribute the chard and chard stems among them, then spoon several tablespoons of juice into each. Add a dollop of beurre blanc to each bowl, cover with the mushrooms, then garnish with the minced herbs and serve.

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