Author Notes: By the time asparagus season rolls around, I’ve had enough of stews and risottos and soups; I want fresh, green vegetables, prepared as simply as possible. Here, basil and lemon are a supporting cast to fresh asparagus and peas. The dish is best served immediately, while the vegetables are still hot and the basil just wilted. —Rivka
Serves: 4 as an appetizer, 2 as a side dish
cup freshly shelled peas, from about 40 or so pods
tablespoons unsalted butter
good flaky salt
freshly cracked black pepper
cup torn basil leaves
zest 1 lemon, preferably unsprayed
tablespoons lemon juice
- Wash and dry asparagus spears. Trim 1-1.5 inches off the ends, and cut on the bias into three or four pieces each.
- In a large, shallow frying pan, heat butter on medium until it foams and then subsides. Add asparagus, and shake pan to get pieces into a single layer. Add a sprinkling of salt. Continue cooking, shaking pan frequently, until asparagus are cooked through but still very firm, about 2 minutes. Turn heat to low. Add peas. Shake pan to distribute, and cook 1 minute longer, just until peas are very plump (they may start to pop and/or jump out of the pan; if that happens, you’re done — turn off the heat). Remove pan from heat; add lemon zest, basil, and a few grinds of pepper. Shake pan again to distribute evenly. Transfer to serving bowls or platter and sprinkle with another pinch or two of salt, to taste. Squeeze abut 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice over the vegetables — just enough to offset the salt, you don’t want the lemon to overpower the vegetables — and serve immediately.