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Monday, April 23, 2012

Easy Spring Vegetables

Spring is a great time to take full advantage of warmer weather and all the delicious young vegetables coming into the market.  Two techniques will make your life in the kitchen simple, they are:  blanching and then pureeing.  A quick swim in boiling water will blanche vegetables, lock in their gorgeous vibrant color and cook them just through.  After you shock them in some ice cold water, all you need do is puree the veggies down with some stock or broth into a soup or a sauce and you can instantly transform any meal in just a few minutes.  This recipe works great with just about all spring vegetables, from asparagus to peas to carrots….!

About 1 ½ pounds of asparagus, or 1 bunch of carrots or 1 ½ cups of spring peas (shelled)
Coarse or Kosher salt
Chicken or vegetables broth, as needed

Prepare the water bath and the ice bath.

Place a rimmed skillet or large sauce pan filled with about 2 inches of water over medium high heat, add some salt to season and bring to a boil.  In the meantime, prepare an ice bath by filling a bowl of ice with cold water. 

Blanche the vegetables.
Carefully place the vegetables into the boiling water and let the water return to a boil.  Boil the vegetables until bright in color and just cooked through, no more than 1 ½ minutes.  Carefully remove the vegetables from the heat and, using tongs or a slotted spoon, place into the ice bath.  Let cool about 2 to 5 minutes and then remove to paper towels to drain.

Puree the vegetables.
Cut a few tips from the asparagus or julienne a few slices of carrots and reserved for a garnish.  Coarsely chop the remaining vegetables and place into a blender or food processor.  Puree until smooth adding water or broth to thin to desired consistency.  You can put the puree through a fine mesh sieve to create a more silky texture. 

Serve with seafood or poultry, as a sauce; or serve warm as a soup.


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