1cupshelled english peasyou can sub frozen, if you do, don't blanch them
1cupshelled fava beansyou can sub frozen, if you do, don't blanch them. Look for frozen favas in asian grocery stores, they're way cheap, and will be labeled "broad beans"
1cupfresh fiddle head ferns
8large rampsleaves removed and sliced into 1 inch strips, bulbs sliced
3cupscurly dock or kaleif you use kale, blanch it like the peas, asparagus and favas. Don't blanch dock since it won't keep it's color anyway.
2.5cupschicken stockpreferably homemade, if you use store bought, go easy on the salt. Water or vegetable stock could be substituted in a pinch
Kosher saltto taste
1/8cupvirgin sunflower oil
Fresh ground black pepperto taste
1/4cupfresh peppermint or spearmintshredded or torn
Peel the burdock root, then dice 1/2 inch and reserve in a bowl of water seasoned with lemon juice until you're ready to cook, then simmer in lightly salted water for 30 minutes or until it's tender and tastes good to you.
Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts of salted water to a rolling boil. One at a time, add the asparagus, peas, favas, and lastly the fiddleheads (add them last since they turn the water a swampy color). Cook each type of vegetable for 1 minute, remembering to allow the water to return to a boil before adding the next vegetable.
Remove each of the vegetables and cool in an ice bath, then drain and reserve until needed. If you are using fresh favas and peas, cook each of them longer than the other vegetables, say two minutes, especially the favas since they tend to take a while to get tender.
In a large, high sided pan, render the bacon on medium heat until crisp. Discard half of the fat, then add the sliced ramp bulbs and cook until translucent, 1 minute. Season the ramps lightly with salt.
Add the blanched vegetables, chicken stock and the burdock and cook until they are soft and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the ramp leaves, curly dock and wilt. Finally add the peppermint at the last minute.
Double check the seasoning for salt and pepper, then serve immediately in heated bowls by scooping out the vegetables, ladling some of the remaining broth over each portion, and finally garnishing each bowl equally with the sunflower oil.
Serves 4 as an entree. Think of it like you would a hearty vegetable soup. Serve with a crusty piece of bread and it'll make a nice, light meal. If you omit the pork it's a vegan paradise.