Don made this delicious mixed vegetable dinner for us tonight. It is an old favorite of ours. It comes from Renoir’s Table, a beautiful cookbook by Jean-Bernard Naudin, Jean-Michel Charbonnir & Jacqueline Saulnier. Not only was it amazing, but I will have lunch for several days. Yum!
French Mixed Vegetable Dish
10-ounce ham steak
3 1/2 pounds young fava beans (shelled & cooked)
or 2 medium bags of frozen baby lima beans (cooked)
1 bunch scallions, white parts and about 3 inches of green parts, sliced
2 bundles of asparagus
18 small purple artichokes or 2 cans of artichoke hearts (drained)
1 large onion, peeled & diced
1 medium-sized carrots, peeled and diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup white wine
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
Cut the ham into long strips, leaving the fat on. If you use a leaner piece of ham, you might need a little more olive oil. The fat in the ham will dissolve while cooking and it will enhance the flavor of not only the ham, but the entire dish.
Trim the asparagus and cut them diagonally into 1/4″ pieces. Leave the tips in one piece and keep them separate from the rest of the asparagus. It takes the tips less time to cook than the rest of the stem.
We used canned artichokes, and they were already quartered. If you use the fresh artichokes, trim the leaves by cutting off about 1″ from the tip, depending on the size of each leaf. Remove the little leaves attached to the artichoke stem, as well as the outer leaves at it base. With a vegetable peeler, peel the stem until you reach the thick, white, tender heart. Split the artichokes into 4 pieces and rub the insides with half a lemon. This prevents them turning brown. Do not squeeze all the juice out of the lemon as it will be used again later.
Peel the onion and the carrot and chop them finely. I prefer additional carrots and I put in 3 carrots instead of one, but Don is not fond of cooked carrots and he was the chef tonight.
In a large frying pan, heat the oil over a medium heat. Add the strips of ham and fry them for 3-5 minutes, until golden on each side. Remove the ham to a platter and it warm in the oven while you cook the vegetables. Fry the onion and carrot for 5 minutes. Stir frequently so that the onion turns golden but not brown.
Add the artichokes and the white wine. Squeeze the lemon and add the juice to the pan. Cook for 10 minutes. Add the scallions and garlic. After 5 minutes, add the asparagus pieces, but not the tips. Stir continuously for 6-7 minutes. Add the asparagus tips and salt and pepper to taste. Add the fava beans, stirring gently.
Sprinkle with fennel seeds and allow to cook for 5 more minutes, uncovered, over low heat. Stir in the strips of ham and continue cooking for another minute until everything is heated through. Serve on a heated platter with Crusty French Bread.