Early summer vegetables with lime and tarragon

Early summer vegetables with lime and tarragon

Mowie Kay

If you happen to have a lemon or lime tree (not a kaffir, these are too strong here), adding the leaves to the stock instead of the lime zest will give a beautifully subtle flavour which really works well with young vegetables. Depending on the time of year, I will garnish this with feathery fennel and borage flowers from the garden.


Quantity Ingredient

For the vegetables

Quantity Ingredient
15g butter
200g baby new potatoes, halved
2 small leeks, sliced
50ml white wine or vermouth
300g fresh baby broad beans, podded
a bunch asparagus, cut on the diagonal into lengths
2-3 courgettes or patty pans, sliced into rounds or wedges
500g fresh peas, podded
sea salt
black pepper

For the stock

Quantity Ingredient
reserved pea pods
trimmings from the asparagus
trimmings from the leeks
1 large sprig tarragon
2 pieces pared lime zest
2 lemon verbena or lemon balm leaves, (optional)
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon peppercorns

For the lime and tarragon oil

Quantity Ingredient
50ml olive oil
1 lime, Finely grated zest and juice
leaves from a large sprig of tarragon

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
fresh ricotta
or other creamy cheese
a few mint, basil or verbena leaves


  1. First make a quick stock. Put the pea pods, asparagus and leek trimmings left over from preparing the vegetables into a medium saucepan, along with the tarragon, lime zest or leaves and verbena or lemon balm leaves, if using. Add the spices, then cover with cold water – only about 600ml. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and leave to simmer for 15 minutes. Strain through a double layer of muslin.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan or flameproof casserole over a medium heat, then add the potatoes and leeks. Season with plenty of salt, then pour in the wine or vermouth. Allow this to almost completely boil off, then turn down the heat, cover, and leave to braise gently for around 10 minutes. Add 500ml of the stock and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the broad beans, asparagus and courgettes and simmer for a few minutes until just al dente, then add the peas – if they are very fresh and young, they will barely need cooking.
  3. To make the oil, put in a food processor with the lime zest and juice, and the tarragon. Season with salt and pepper and blitz until the oil is green flecked. Serve the vegetables with a tiny amount of the broth to keep them moist, with large spoonfuls of ricotta, a sprinkling of herbs and the oil drizzled over.
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