Believe it or not, the unconventional route of cooking spring vegetables low and slow makes a vibrant, fresh-tasting dish. We add early season radishes, asparagus, and peas to our braising liquid in stages to ensure that each cooks at its own rate and maintains a crisp texture. Shallot, red pepper, garlic, and bay leaf provide a savory base to the braising liquid, citrus offers a sharp kick, and a finishing sprinkle of tarragon imparts freshness. Serve these vegetables immediately for the clearest flavor.
[Ed. note: hear Ashley Moore, from America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country, discuss the braising method at our interview page.]
You can use 1/4 teaspoon of dried thyme in place of the fresh sprigs.
1. Heat oil, shallot, garlic, thyme sprigs, and pepper flakes in Dutch oven over medium heat until shallot is just softened, about 2 minutes.
2. Stir in radishes, water, lemon zest, orange zest, bay leaf, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook until radishes can be easily pierced with tip of paring knife, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in asparagus and continue to cook, covered, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Off heat, stir in peas and let sit, covered, until peas are heated through, about 5 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Stir in tarragon and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to shallow platter and serve.