Cooking the vegetables separately, then combining them, makes it possible to have everything ready in advance. Radishes and broccoli stems may be surprising, but they really give this dish an exceedingly fresh spring look.
While popovers or fresh herb noodles are good accompaniments, I sometimes add some potato gnocchi or cheese tortellini at the end for a soft, surprising mouthful.
Yield: 4 servings
Salt and freshly milled pepper
12 baby carrots, or 2 carrots peeled and thinly sliced
½ cup snow peas
6 radishes, including ½ inch of the stems, halved
18 3-inch asparagus tips
6 scallions, including the stems, cut into 3-inch lengths
2 broccoli stems, thickly peeled and sliced diagonally
4 small turnips, or 2 rutabagas and 2 turnips, peeled and cut into sixths
4 tablespoons butter
4 thyme sprigs, preferably lemon thyme
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
10 sorrel leaves, sliced into ribbons, optional
1 tablespoon snipped chives
2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon chopped tarragon
Bring 3 quarts water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt. One type at a time, blanch the vegetables until barely tender, then remove to a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking. When all are blanched, reserve 1 cup of the cooking water. Drain the vegetables. (This can be done ahead of time.)
In a wide skillet, melt the butter with the thyme sprigs and reserved liquid. Add the vegetables and simmer until they’re warmed through. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Add the sorrel and herbs and cook for 1 minute more. Serve at once.