Cooking Light magazine, in their April 2014 issue published a nice article about pan-charring veggies for a boost in flavor. More than simply offering a recipe, they shared a general method to deal with veggies like asparagus and green beans. Veggies that can take the heat, so to speak. All you need to do is choose three basic components: the fat to coat the veggies after the initial charring, the acidic ingredient to brighten things up and the herbs added right before serving. No matter which veggies you are dealing with, they will be ready in no time. I know I sound like a broken record, but when I get home from work and it’s my turn to cook, the last thing I want is a side-dish that takes 45 minutes to prepare. Give me something fast and flavorful, and I am game!
So here is my take number one on this method: charred asparagus flavored with lemon juice and fresh dill at the end… Before you accuse me of the capital culinary sin of non-seasonal cooking, let me say that this dish was made last May, not too long after I got the magazine. As usual, it takes me a while to go from table to blog. But, since last week I used this method to cook delicious green beans, I am taking the opportunity to talk about both dishes. Clearly, it’s all about the char…
(adapted from Cooking Light, April 2014)
Heat a medium, heavy skillet (not nonstick) over high heat for 2 minutes.
Coat pan with cooking spray. Immediately add asparagus pieces to pan, shaking them into a single layer; cook, without stirring, 2 minutes or until asparagus is very lightly charred. Cook asparagus 5 more minutes or until crisp-tender and evenly charred, tossing occasionally.
Remove pan from heat. Let asparagus rest 1 minute. Add walnut oil; toss to coat asparagus pieces. Add lemon juice; toss. Turn on heat if necessary to evaporate most of liquid. Sprinkle asparagus with dill and salt; toss. Serve right away.
to print the recipe, click here
And here is my take number two: the exact same method, using olive oil to coat green beans, a touch of apple cider vinegar as the acidic component, and fresh tarragon added at the end. Tarragon straight from the garden of our friend Cindy, who recently visited us with her husband. Remember, I am the lucky woman with the super generous friends…
Back in 2010 I wrote a blog post about “Blasted Broccoli“, stove-top version. We loved that recipe so much that I went through a long phase of cooking it weekly. I can see that this method could be adapted for broccoli too. Or sugar snap peas. Avocado oil, coconut oil, use your imagination (and your pantry) and play with this method. You won’t be disappointed…
ONE YEAR AGO: Pomegranate Chicken Thighs and Carrot Mash
TWO YEARS AGO: The Many Faces of Kale
THREE YEARS AGO: Short and Sweet
FOUR YEARS AGO: Ciabatta, a Classic Italian Bread
FIVE YEARS AGO: Magical Lamb Stew