RECIPE: Spring Asparagus Stew
SPRING ASPARAGUS STEW
1½ pounds fresh asparagus; break off tough ends and cut remainder into 1-inch pieces
2 cups fresh shelled green peas
Extra-virgin olive oil, for filming skillet
1 medium red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
¼ cup sliced (pitted) Kalamata olives
Juice from 2 fresh lemons
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Choose one or more of the following: Fresh burrata or mozzarella; slices of smoked salmon or wedges of cooked fresh salmon; chopped hard-cooked eggs; chopped prosciutto, ham or cooked bacon; sautéed wild mushrooms; grated hard cheese
Bring to a boil a large pot of salted water set over high heat on the stovetop; add the asparagus and green peas, and blanch for about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse immediately with cold water; set aside.
Warm a large skillet over medium heat on stovetop, then film with olive oil. Add the onion and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, just until it starts to soften.
Add the olives and cook another minute, just until warmed through. Add the blanched asparagus and peas to the skillet, stir to combine, then sprinkle on the lemon juice and mint. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper, toss and remove from heat.
Spoon the asparagus stew into four shallow bowls and top with one or more of the toppings. The stew also can be served over rice, tossed with pasta, or atop polenta.