Spring Grains and Asparagus
1 Bunch Asparagus, Woody Ends Trimmed, Cut Into 2-Inch/5cm Lengths
8 Oz/230g English Peas, Shelled
8 Oz/230g Sugar Snap Peas, Stems And Strings Removed
6 Oz/170g Fiddlehead Ferns (optional)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1/2 Yellow Onion, Minced
2 Cups/Couscous Or Favorite Grain Prepared
1 Cup/240ml Dry White Wine or Rice Vinegar
1 Cup/240ml Plus 1 Qt/960ml Chicken Stock Hot
2 Tsp Sea Salt, Plus More
Ground Black Pepper
1/2 Cup/50g Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/3 Cup/85g Store-Bought Basil Pesto
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Prepare a bowl of ice water. Add the asparagus to the pot and blanch, just until bright green, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the ice water to stop the cooking, about 30 seconds. Transfer the asparagus to a colander to drain. Repeat with the English peas, sugar snap peas, and fiddle-heads.
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté just until translucent, about 30 seconds. Add the grain of choice and stir until opaque, about 1 minute.
Stir the wine into the grain, bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring periodically, until it absorbs the wine, about 5 minutes.
About 15 minutes before you’re ready to serve, return the grain mixture to the sauté pan and cook over medium heat. Stir 1 cup/240ml of the hot stock into the rice mixture and cook until the moisture has been nearly absorbed. Season with salt and pepper. Repeat for the remaining 3 cups/720ml of stock, adding 1 cup/240ml at a time. When you still see liquid pooling here and there in the pan, remove from the heat and stir in the blanched vegetables and the Parmesan. Quickly stir in the pesto and serve.
Store covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Variation: Prepare your favorite Risotto and use as your grain of choice. Serves 4-6