Garden Vegetable Saute: The Little Black Dress of Side Dishes
By Diane Rossen Worthington
Vegetable side dishes can sometimes be challenging to cook. A side dish should not overshadow the main course or be too bland. On the other hand, you want the dish to complement whatever you are serving as the entree and also to stand on its own. This tasty, colorful vegetable medley is my fallback side dish. It's a lot like the "little black dress" of side dishes -- it can be served with just about anything: grilled steak, braised chicken, roasted duck or sauteed fish.
Fresh julienned vegetables are quickly blanched in boiling water to cook them just slightly. Then the vegetables are sauteed in a little butter and oil to accentuate their flavor.
If you have a mandoline or food processor with a julienne blade, this is a snap to prepare. I am partial to the OXO mandoline slicer for its ease and flexibility. Try and cut the vegetables into 1/8-inch thick sticks, about 3 inches long. If you are planning to cut up the vegetables, use a very sharp chefs knife to avoid any accidents.
Garden Vegetable Saute Recipe
Serves 4 to 6
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into match sticks
3 medium stalks celery, peeled and cut into match sticks
1 medium yellow squash, cut into match sticks
1 medium zucchini, cut into match sticks
1/4 pound tiny green beans, stems removed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1. Fill a large saucepan with lightly salted water and bring to a boil. Place carrots in a kitchen strainer basket with a handle, and immerse in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and set aside. Place the celery, squash and zucchini in the strainer basket and immerse in boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain and set aside. Place the green beans in the strainer basket and immerse in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
NOTE: Vegetables can be blanched 1 day ahead through step 1, wrapped in plastic and refrigerated until ready to saute. Bring to room temperature before sauteeing.
2. Heat the butter and oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until soft and slightly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, squash, zucchini and beans, and continue sauteing another 3 minutes or until cooked through but not soft. Add salt and pepper and parsley, and mix well. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately.
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Recipes: "Garden Vegetable Saute: The Little Black Dress of Side Dishes "
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