Though the temperatures in Southern California have already jumped to summer (90! degrees today), the farmers' market produce is squarely centered in Spring. At the Sunday Hollywood Market, I filled my bag with baby purple artichokes, sweet peas, spring onions and lemon basil. They all made their way into a simple spring braise last night, pea pods and all.
The lemon basil was a find from one of the Asian vegetable stalls--I can't stop sniffing it in amazement, and am tempted to tuck a few sprigs behind my ear for day-long delight. The pronounced lemon flavor mellows the light basil undertones in the tender, small leaves. It would make a lovely simple syrup for cocktails or lemonade. In this dish, be sure to sprinkle the chopped basil on right before you eat to enjoy its full flavor. This is my entry for Meeta's Monthly Mingle, Spring is in the Air.
Spring Peas, Onions, and Artichokes with Lemon Basil
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 pint basket baby artichokes, trimmed and halved
1 lb sweet peas, trimmed (not shucked!)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp water or stock
salt and pepper
6-7 spring onions, roughly chopped
large handful of lemon basil, roughly chopped
Heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add artichokes and saute until lightly browned, about 5-6 minutes. Add the peas, butter,water/stock, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and turn to medium low. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, until artichokes are fork tender. Uncover and stir in onions. Remove from heat, gently stir in lemon basil, and serve.