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Pistou of Spring Vegetables

Pistou of Spring Vegetables
Blanching is a process that involves submerging food (usually vegetables or fruits) briefly in boiling water, then plunging it into ice water to stop the cooking and preserve the color. The immersion in boiling water does not cook the food but simply softens the texture. For this recipe, blanch the asparagus and peas for 2 to 3 minutes; the fava beans, 3 to 5 minutes; and the basil, 1 minute.

Ingredients:

  • 1⁄2 lb. asparagus, tough ends trimmed, spears
      cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces and blanched
  • 1 1⁄2 lb. fava beans, shelled, blanched and
      peeled
  • 1 cup shelled peas, blanched
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as mint
      and flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves, blanched
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (see related recipe
      at left)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Thinly sliced fresh mint or basil for garnish
  • Crème fraîche for garnish

Directions:

In a bowl, combine the asparagus, fava beans, peas and chopped herbs. Transfer half of the vegetable mixture to a blender and add the basil. Slowly add the 1 cup olive oil, pureeing until the mixture is smooth. Reserve the remaining vegetables.

In a large pot over medium heat, warm the 2 Tbs. oil. Add the shallot and cook until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the reserved vegetables, the pureed vegetables and enough stock to reach the desired consistency. Heat the soup, stirring occasionally, until warm, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and garnish with mint and crème fraîche. Serves 8.

Adapted from a recipe by Dan Barber, chef of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, NY.