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Rites of spring

Around this time two years ago, I was coming up with various uses for peas. Before that, I was all about asparagus. While the grass outside is only showing the barest shades of hopeful green, days of sun and warm breezes have put a definite sense of spring in my step. It is fitting then that this year I am embracing the warmth of recent days by serving both green vegetables.

This simple side can be served warm or at room temperature, offering up sweet and tender-crisp veggies tossed with a vinaigrette that can be called nothing short of enthusiastically herby. Served alongside a seared salmon filet this would make a lovely light supper for these glorious early days of the season.

Spring vegetables with green goddess pesto
While not wholly traditional pesto ingredients, the name refers mostly to the texture of the vinaigrette. The combination was inspired by the original Green Goddess Dressing.

2 shallots, cut in quarters OR 3 green onions, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves
1/3 cup fresh flat leaf parsley
2/3 cup mixed fresh herbs; whatever combination of chervil, dill, tarragon, lemon thyme and basil you prefer
1-2 anchovy filets, rinsed if salt packed
Zest and juice from half a lemon
About 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (see note)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound asparagus, trimmed, cut into approximately 1 1/2" pieces, blanched
2 cups frozen or fresh petit pois, blanched

To make the vinaigrette; place the shallots, garlic, herbs, lemon zest, juice and anchovies into a blender or small food processor. Pulse to reduce the contents to a coarse purée. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil in slowly, scraping the sides down as needed. Season to taste.

In a medium sauté pan over medium-low heat, gently cook the pesto. Stir constantly for about 2 minutes, or until the edge (raw flavours) of the garlic and shallot are mellowed slightly. Toss through the blanched vegetables until just warmed through. Taste again for seasoning. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 4-6.

• The olive oil measurement is only a guide, adjust the amount to best suit your textural preference.
• If you do not mind the pungency of raw garlic and shallots, cooking the pesto can be skipped.
• For this, and many other similar preparations, I prefer to use an immersion blender and a container only slightly wider than the blender head (like a mason jar); this way, the ingredients are well chopped and fully blended.

Reader Comments (17)

That is the most gorgeous plate of spring I have ever seen!

April 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTea

These look and sound AWESOME.

I'm ashamed to admit it, but we've only recently started eating asparagus. I love it, and wish we'd not put it off for so long.

I'm going to beg my wife to make this one soon.

Good form!

April 9, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAngie's Hubby

This is the most gorgeous mouth-watering plate of veg, that I've seen in a while! Bring on Spring!

April 9, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMevrouw Cupcake

That green color is GORGEOUS! I'm so excited spring is finally here.

April 9, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHillary

My idea of springtime foodie bliss...

April 9, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteraforkfulofspaghetti

Made this tonight and it was so springy and delish. I will definitely be making it again. Had with simple steamed talapia and rosemary and thyme roasted sweet potatoes. amazing.

April 9, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterandante


April 10, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterclinka

Thanks so much for saying so, Tea. I was definitely inspired by the weather.

angie's hubby, I hope Angie obliges. The recipe is an easy one, and hopefully one you will enjoy.

mevrouw cupcake and hillary, I could not agree more.

aforkfulofspaghetti, this is a great season for being a foodie, no?

andante, I am so happy to hear that you not only tried the dish but also enjoyed it. Sounds like a great meal.

clinka, I hope you and your little apples try it sometime! Or, I'll just have to make it for you.

isa, I hope you enjoy the recipe!

April 14, 2008 | Unregistered Commentertara

Oh so green! I'm longing for that kind of spring-ness in a big way.. The dish looks delicious!

April 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMichèle

aren't green foods the best?!? I recently made this avocado pesto with sauteed spinach that was a hit with all my friends.
I can't wait to try out the green goddess pesto, it sounds delicious!

April 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAntonio Tahhan

This is by far the most beautiful plate of green veggies That I have EVER seen. Springtime on a plate...

michèle, it surely has arrived - no? Actually, it seems Southern Ontario has decided to skip spring just now and go straight for summer! It is 24° Celsius just now!

antonio tahhan; avocado and spinach sound an interesting combination, I will have to try that out. Hope you enjoy this dish!

nina, thank you so very much for the compliment!

April 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commentertara

What a flavorful pesto/dressing...and healthy too! I love peas in herby butter sauce, so I'm game to give this variation a try.

i love spring..great food shot!

April 22, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdiva

This is beautiful! So much green makes me happy!

April 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTartelette

I'm Sophie, Key Ingredient's Chief Blogger. We would like to feature this recipe on our blog. Please email if interested. Thanks :)


June 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSophie

This is my first read of your site - and I have yet to find the lamb you write about, BUT WHAT a site!! Congratulatioons - you can only but go on my blog roll, so I never forget to read it. Thanks so much.

July 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjustfoodnow

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