A Celebration of Spring Vegetables: English Peas, Favas, and Asparagus with Mint
Peggy Knickerbocker
Shelling the peas and fava beans is really worth the extra effort. But check with your guests before serving favas: They can trigger a dangerous anemic state called favism in people with a certain inherited enzyme deficiency (most prevalent in people of African, Mediterranean, and Southeast Asian descent).
Servings: Serves 4 to 6
  • 1 1/2 pounds fava beans , in shell
  • 1 pound English peas , in shell
  • 3/4 pound yellow wax beans , trimmed
  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil , plus more for drizzling
  • 1 medium onion , finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine or water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt , plus more to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper , plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup mint chiffonade
While shelling fava beans, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add shelled favas and cook 2 minutes. Drain, then plunge into ice water to stop cooking and set color. Drain again, then slip skin off each bean with your fingers. Place beans in a small bowl. Set aside.

Shell peas and add to favas. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring a few inches of water to a boil. Add wax beans and cook 2 minutes. Drain, then plunge into ice water. Drain again. Set aside.

Prepare asparagus by breaking tough ends off where they give, and then peel each stalk. Cut trimmed asparagus diagonally into 2-inch lengths. Set aside.

Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and cook another minute or so, stirring frequently.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and asparagus, turn heat to medium-low, and cook until asparagus are just tender when pierced with a fork, 5 to 7 minutes depending upon their thickness and freshness. Shake pan to prevent asparagus from sticking.

Add wax beans and stir to incorporate. Add wine or water and gently fold in favas and peas. Season with salt and pepper and cook just until favas and peas are warm, about 1 minute. Adjust seasoning, if necessary, before turning onto a warm serving platter. Scatter with mint chiffonade and drizzle with high-quality extra-virgin olive oil, if desired.


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