Flowers And Vegetables

This was inspired by a Rick Stein clip I saw on TV this Saturday where he cooked an incredible mixture of fresh Mediterranean vegetables to serve alongside tuna steak with salsa verde. When I went to look for the recipe online I couldn’t find it so I just used the basic foundation – potatoes, courgettes and spinach – of the original and added some extra seasonal ingredients I picked up in Evergreen and The Dublin Food Co-op.

The last time I was in the Co-op was years ago, it was just after they’d moved into Newmarket when you used to have to pay in; I found the selection wasn’t great and never went back but I think I was a bit too hasty in writing it off because I was really impressed this time around. The entrance fee is now gone and there was a fantastic amount of great produce from Irish grown San Marzano tomatoes to raw milk (well, as of next week). On impulse, I picked up a few beautiful baby beetroot with the most fresh (it can be very hard to get unwithered ones) deep purple leaves as you can see here:

Beetroot Leaves

The courgettes I found too were excellent: nice and short and only slightly wider than the width of my finger; it’s great because in most shops you can normally only buy tasteless, oversized monsters. The same stand I got these from also sells edible flowers which I had such a nightmare trying to find in Dublin before that I went to Homebase and bought a load of nasturtium seedlings. I am now deluged with a glut because I bought too many so I stripped the ones I planted in the greenhouse where they’ve taken over and used them too.

The thing about this dish is it relies on the quality of the ingredients: if the vegetables aren’t at their peak there’s no place for them to hide and it’s going to be a disappointing meal; naturally this means the olive oil used to finish must be of the best provenance as well. I would also recommend seasoning quite aggressively to help bring out the flavours given how much water courgettes and spinach give off when cooked.

Flowers & Vegetables

Serves: 2

Ingredients:
4 small courgettes, quartered
1 clove garlic
25g young beetroot leaves
100g baby spinach
150g broad beans, shelled weight
300g cooked baby potatoes, halved
14 nasturtiums
1 lemon, juice and zest of
15g parsley, finely chopped
Salt
Pepper
Olive oil

Method:

  1. In a pot of boiling, salted water cook the broad beans for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Remove them from the water and plunge into iced water to stop them cooking.
  3. Peel the beans and reserve.
  4. Heat a pan on a medium heat and add the oil.
  5. Saute the courgettes and garlic for 2-3 minutes to soften.
  6. Add the beetroot leaves and spinach and cook until wilted down.
  7. Add the potatoes and broad beans and warm them through.
  8. Take off he heat and stir in the lemon zest, parsley and nasturtiums.
  9. Season the vegetables with lots of salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.
  10. Pour in a generous helping of olive oil and mix everything thoroughly before dividing between two plates.

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