I’ve been noticing a lot of recipes recently for summery green vegetable ‘stews’. A Stew of Mixed Summer Vegetables – Menestra – in Rick Stein’s Spain is a real looker, and I made my own version of it (which isn’t much to look at, but tasted great) the other night, just with what’s in season/in the fridge. Rick’s version uses globe artichokes which I’d like to try later in the summer. My version used broccoli, green beans, asparagus and perpetual spinach, but you can use whatever you fancy, so long as it’s some shade of green! I’d like to try it with green peas when they come into season, and fennel bulb. A bit of watercress in it could be nice and peppery, too, and little gem lettuce halves could work well. I didn’t fancy the idea of onion in my stew, so omitted it and added more garlic, plus I finely chopped a few stalks of celery to fry with the garlic for extra flavour.
Seasonal green stew:
– Blanch your chosen vegetable, each for the amount of time that suits them, eg asparagus just 2-3 minutes, broccoli a little longer etc. Set aside and keep the cooking water.
– Very finely chop 4 cloves garlic and 2 sticks celery (optional, or use onion if you like), then sautee over a medium heat in plenty of olive oil until softened but not golden. Add 2 Tbsp plain flour and stir through the garlic and celery, then add about 500mL of the cooking water. Lastly add the blanched vegetables and cook to heat through, about 2 minutes on a medium-high tempurature.
This green stew is excellent served with something that will soak it up – rice, mashed potato , couscous and the like. I served it the other night with gurnard fillets and steamed rice.