Serves 2 to 4

This pretty vegetable ragout should prove, if any doubt lingers, that members of the cabbage family can be delicate and pretty, especially in early summer.

Improvise with what you have: small onions or red scallions, spring leeks or green garlic, shallots in the fall, bunched spinach or loose leaves.

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
6 spring onions or shallots, halved
6 or more small turnips, scrubbed and quartered
2 or 3 small kohlrabi, about golf ball size, peeled and quartered
1 thyme or lemon thyme sprig
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound pod peas, shelled
a few handfuls of baby spinach
dollop crème fraîche
4 large basil leaves, slivered

  1. Melt the butter in a skillet and add the onions, turnips, kohlrabi, and thyme. Add water to cover halfway and a teaspoon of salt. Simmer while you shuck the peas.
  2. As soon as the vegetables are tender, after 12 to 15 minutes, add the peas and spinach and cook until the spinach has wilted down, a few minutes more. Stir in the crème fraîche and add the basil. Taste by itself. With a starch (puff pastry, ravioli, even buttered toast), it can be offered as a vegetarian main dish.