Late spring, 1981. Sitting on the side of the pool at the YMCA, the sound of distant thunder in the background, whispering through gritted teeth, “Please don’t rain, please don’t rain, please, please don’t rain.” The skies grew darker with every reiteration, until finally, the fateful whistle and the end-of-the-year party was over before it began. Ruined by the stupid rain. Springtime will do that to you, over and over again. Last week, I had my fingers crossed for peas, hopefully prepared this recipe, and then, guess what? It rained, and the peas were too wet for shelling. Luckily, the recipe works great with almost any tender spring produce–broccoli, cut into tiny florets, cauliflower, baby spinach, even greens. And, even luckier, spring rains means the peaches will be amazing this year, and the wildflowers are beautiful, and the mornings are soft and dewy and cool.
Tender Spring Vegetable Saute with Smoky Bacon, Mint & Feta
1 pound spring vegetables–English peas, sugar snaps, broccoli florets, cauliflower, spinach or greens
3-4 spring onions, cut into slivers
splash of white wine
5 oz. feta cheese, cut into 1/4″ cubes
small handful mint, chopped
small handful parsley, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
Blanch vegetables in boiling water for 30-45 seconds, then drain and refresh in ice water. Cut bacon into 1/4″ cubes or lardons and saute in a little olive oil until crisp and fat renders. Add spring onion and continue to saute for 2-3 minutes. Add vegetables to skillet and add white wine to deglaze pan. When hot throughout, add feta cheese and herbs and cook until herbs are bright. Serve sprinkled with additional chopped herbs.