A cool spring day in the garden inspired a gathering of vegetables and herbs of the moment. We sat around communal bowls of freshly picked and simply prepared vegetables, one after the other. There were picturesque French breakfast radishes, tiny pungent scallions, plump stalks of asparagus with a sprinkling of olive oil and salt, rhubarb compote smeared on quinoa cakes, and this delectable medley of buttery fava beans, leeks, green garlic, crisp radishes and herbs. We finally felt that the spring harvest had arrived.
At this time of year, you can eat the inner pods of fava beans, but here I chose to peel off the second shell. After shelling the beans from the long green pods they grow in, you plunge them in boiling water for less than a minute, shock them in cold water and pierce the pod just enough to be able to squeeze the bright green centers onto a plate. We prepared the favas as we were eating our successive plates of vegetables.
Slender spring leeks and green garlic that I thinned from our burgeoning patch were simmered in olive oil and a little water in a covered pan until they were softened. (When cooking leeks this way, it’s important not to let them brown since they can get tough and bitter. Better to brown them after they’re fully cooked if that’s the result you want.) I tossed in chopped tarragon and mint to the cooked leeks and green garlic and added more to the finished dish. By the way, bean-sized pieces of meaty smoked bacon are dynamite with this mixture of vegetables