This is a perfect summer dish, as it’s colorful, light and fresh. The vegetables only need a minimal amount of cooking before they are coated in a light butter sauce, scented with fresh vanilla seeds and thyme. One small point, however—don’t over do the vanilla or you will disturb the delicately balanced flavor of the dish. This is delicious served on its own or alongside roasts.
– PREPARATION TIME 20 minutes, plus making the stock.
– COOKING TIME 40 minutes.
– ½ cup podded fava beans, gray outer casing removed.
– 1½ cups podded peas.
– ½ cup halved green beans.
– 3 ounces baby carrots, scrubbed.
– 3 ounces baby leeks, trimmed and each cut into 3 pieces.
– 3 ounces baby turnips, peeled and quartered.
– 1 bunch asparagus tips.
– 1 baby cauliflower, cut into florets.
– leaves from 1 thyme sprig.
– sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
– FOR THE VANILLA BEURRE BLANC.
– 2 cups Vegetable Stock.
– 1¾ sticks unsalted butter, soft, cut into cubes.
– 1 shallot, finely chopped.
– finely grated zest and juice of ½ lime.
– 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise and seeds scraped out (you can keep the bean for flavoring vanilla sugar).
Step 2: Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the vegetables and cook, one type at a time, 2 to 5 minutes each until just tender. Lift them out with a slotted spoon and refresh in ice water, then drain once more, tip carefully into a bowl and leave to one side. Put a lid on the pan of water and reserve for reheating the vegetables just before you are ready to serve.
Step 3: To make the beurre blanc, melt 4 teaspoons of the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and fry 2 minutes until they are just soft. Stir in the lime juice, then add the reduced stock and the vanilla seeds. Bring to a simmer and simmer 5 to 8 minutes until there is slightly less than ½ cup of buttery stock.
Step 4: Turn the heat down to very low and gradually whisk in the remaining soft butter, a few cubes at a time. Keep whisking until the butter is incorporated before adding the next batch; this stops the sauce splitting by keeping it at a constant temperature. As you are whisking, you should see a foam of tiny bubbles form on top of the mixture and when all the butter has been added, the sauce should be pale in color and light in consistency, similar to a very thin custard, and should just coat the back of the spoon. This will take 10 to 12 minutes. At this point, season with salt and pepper to taste and add the lime zest. Cover with a lid and leave to one side in a warm place.
Step 5: Return the pan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the vegetables and cook 1 minute or so until heated through, then drain on paper towels. Serve the vegetables on plates with the vanilla beurre blanc spooned over the tops and sprinkled with the thyme.