Vegetables

Roasted Brussels Sprouts: High-Heat Roasting Gives Unique Flavor to A Colorful Side Dish

 

Who9_CB_BrusSprout_033587 doesn’t like Brussels sprouts? Actually most people I know. But once they experience my take on these baby cabbages I find that many Brussels sprouts naysayers become happy converts. I think I know the reason why.

Something happens to Brussels sprouts when they undergo high-heat roasting. They turn from a watery, blah-tasting green to become little gems, caramelized, slightly crisp on the outside and just cooked through on the inside. Really, all that is necessary is a light coating of olive oil and a good quality seasoning salt to bring all the flavors together.

If you are lucky enough to have any left over, you can use it to make a jewel of a vegetable salad with a glistening of your favorite vinaigrette. For an extra punch of flavor omit the pomegranate seeds and add some crumbled, crispy bacon bits just before serving— but make sure there are no vegetarians in the group.

This is a great side dish in the cooler months. For even more color and texture add 1/2 pound carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces, to the sprouts, along with an extra tablespoon of olive oil, and roast until the carrots are tender .The pomegranate seeds look like tiny red jewels and offer a festive winter touch.

Serve the sprouts as a side dish for simple grilled meats, roasted chicken, or roasted lamb. You can double the recipe; use two baking sheets, place them on separate oven racks, and switch them halfway through the roasting time.

 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Seeds

 

Serves 4 to 6

 

2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved if large

2 tablespoons olive oil

Favorite seasoning salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds for garnish

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Arrange the Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet with sides. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Using tongs, evenly coat the sprouts with the seasonings. Make sure that the sprouts all lay flat on the pan.

 

  1. Roast, turning the sprouts once with the tongs, for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. The timing will depend on the size of the sprouts.

 

  1. Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with pomegranate seeds, and serve immediately.

 

Advance Preparation: Make ahead up to 4 hours ahead through step 2. Cover and keep at room temperature. Reheat in a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes.

 

 

Chilled Artichoke Halves with Two Sauces

Ingredients

  • 3 large globe artichokes
  • Water
  • 3 slices lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Cut the sharp points off the artichoke leaves with kitchen shears. Remove the small, dry outer leaves from around the base of the artichoke. Cut off the stem 1 inch from the bottom of each artichoke.
  2. Soak the artichokes in cold water for at least 15 minutes to clean them.
  3. Place the artichokes upright in a large pan with about 4 inches of water, lemon slices and olive oil. Cook them on medium heat for 30 to 45 minutes, partially covered, or until the leaves pull off easily. Bring the artichokes to room temperature and then cut them in half.
  4. Scoop out the choke of the artichoke with a teaspoon and discard it. Place the artichokes in the refrigerator. Just before serving, arrange the halves on serving plates and spoon a couple of tablespoons of sauce into each half.

 

Here are two sauces that can be used on the artichoke. They are NOT meant to be used together.

Summer Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped basil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • 12 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the shallot, mustard, lemon juice, vinegar, basil, chives and parsley. Whisk to combine and slowly add the oil until it is incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. Place the vinaigrette in a tightly covered container and refrigerate. Remove it a half hour before serving to thin the dressing.

Red Pepper Aioli

Ingredients

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 roasted, peeled, seeded and finely chopped medium sweet red bell pepper
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Add the garlic cloves to a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until they are pureed. Add the red pepper and process until it is well-blended. Add the mayonnaise and process. Add the salt, pepper and cayenne, and taste for seasoning.
  2. Refrigerate the sauce until serving time.

Makes 6 servings.

Summer Caprese Salad with Watermelon, Cucumber and Feta Relish

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Ingredients

Relish:

  • 1 1/2 cups 1/2-inch diced seedless yellow or red watermelon
  • 1 1/2 cups 1/2-inch diced European cucumber
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped chives
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups mixed greens, such as spring greens, arugula or mache
  • 6 large, ripe beefsteak tomatoes

Instructions

  1. Combine all of the relish ingredients in a medium bowl carefully, making sure to not break the watermelon into smaller pieces. Reserve.
  2. In a small bowl, add the red wine vinegar. While whisking, slowly stream in the olive oil and continue whisking until the dressing is emulsified. Add the chives and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Just before serving, arrange the mixed greens in the center of a large circular platter. Cut the tomatoes into 1 1/2-inch slices and arrange on a platter in a circular pattern overlapping.
  4. Pour about half of the dressing over the relish and mix to combine. Taste for seasoning. Place a dollop of relish on each tomato slice. Drizzle with remaining dressing and serve immediately.

Advance Preparation

Relish and dressing may be made up to 2 hours ahead, covered and kept at room temperature. It is best to finish this just before serving.

Variations

  • Substitute diced or tiny balls of fresh mozzarella or crumbled goat cheese for the feta cheese.
  • Double the recipe. Use a very large platter or 2 platters.
  • Arrange the salad in stacks. Place a slice of tomato on the bottom of a salad plate and then a dollop of relish. Repeat 1 more time.

Serves 6-8 people

Baked Tomatoes

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Ingredients

  • 12 loaf Italian bread (about 8 ounces)
  • 5 to 6 sprigs flatleaf Italian parsley
  • 1 medium-size clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or more as needed
  • 2 large tomatoes or 4 small ones

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Cut away and discard the crust from the loaf of bread and cut the loaf in half lengthwise. Bake for 5 minutes on each side. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Raise the oven temperature to 350 degrees on convection heat or to 375 degrees in an oven without convection heat.
  3. Cut the bread into chunks small enough to fit easily in a food processor. Place them in the food processor and pulse until you have fairly even crumbs that are not too fine. Set aside 1 cup of crumbs and reserve any extra for another use.
  4. Finely chop enough parsley leaves to measure about 2 tablespoons. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Put the parsley, garlic, bread crumbs, capers, salt and olive oil in a mixing bowl. Mix well until the ingredients are evenly distributed and the bread crumbs are well coated with the olive oil. If there doesn’t seem to be enough olive oil to coat them, add a little more.
  5. Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise and scoop out the seeds. Place the tomatoes, cut side up, on a baking sheet. Fill the cavities with a generous amount of the bread-crumb mixture, heaping it on top of each tomato half.
  6. Bake until a brown crust forms, for about 20 minutes. Serve hot, or at room temperature.

Tips

  • Select tomatoes that are vine-ripened for the best flavor.
  • Remember to store tomatoes at room temperature. If they are not quite ripe, store them in a sunny place to hasten ripening.
  • Tomatoes vary widely in the amount of juice they exude, so add a bit of water if you find the pan is dry during roasting.
  • Roasted tomatoes can be made as much as 8 hours ahead and kept at room temperature. Serve at room temperature, or reheat in a 325-degree oven for about 10 minutes.

Serves 4

Picnic Potato Salad

Ingredients

  • Water, for boiling
  • 3 pounds medium red, tan-skin or yellow (Yukon Gold) potatoes

For the dressing:

  • 34 cup sour cream
  • 34 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 ribs celery, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 2 teaspoons celery seed
  • 14 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Coleman’s dried mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
  • Parsley sprigs, for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the potatoes for 30 minutes or until tender but slightly resistant when pierced with a fork. Drain and cool. Do not peel. When cool, cut into 112-inch pieces and place in a medium bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, celery, green onions, celery seed, parsley, chopped egg, dried mustard, salt and pepper. Mix well.
  3. Pour the mixture over potatoes and mix gently until coated. Taste for seasoning. Refrigerate for at least 1 to 2 hours or up to 8 hours.
  4. To serve, transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with parsley. Serve cold.

Advance Preparation

Can be made a day ahead, covered and refrigerated. Taste for seasoning before serving.

Serves 6 to 8.

Fava Beans With Red Onion and Bacon

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Ingredients

  • 3 pounds fresh young fava beans
  • 3 bacon slices
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium-size red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, divided
  • Water, to cook beans
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Shell the fava beans by removing them from the pod. If the beans are young, they might not need to be skinned after shelling (the skin feels spongy); if they are older and larger, the outer skin should be removed, as they make the beans tougher. Place shelled beans in a medium-size saucepan.
  2. In a medium-size skillet, cook the bacon on medium heat until crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels and cool. Crumble the bacon into tiny pieces and reserve.
  3. In a medium-size skillet, heat the oil on medium heat and saute the onion slowly for about 10 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of the vinegar and continue cooking until the onions are light brown and just begin to caramelize. Reserve in the pan.
  4. Cover the beans with water by 1/2 inch, and bring them to a simmer on medium heat for a few minutes or until tender, anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes, depending upon how large they are.
  5. When the beans are cooked, add them to the pan with the onions. Add the bacon, reserved vinegar, parsley, salt and pepper, and cook on medium heat, mixing to combine. Taste for seasoning. Spoon into a bowl and serve immediately.

Advance Preparation

The fava beans might be shelled for 8 hours ahead, and the dish might be prepared through step 3 as long as 4 hours ahead and kept at room temperature.

Serves 4 to 6 people.

Roasted Tomatoes

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Ingredients

  • 6 large Beefsteak Tomatoes, halved
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Topping

  • 1/4 cup coarse fresh French bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Oil a 9 x 13-inch ceramic baking dish. Arrange the tomatoes cut-side up so they fit snugly in the dish. Sprinkle the sugar over the tomatoes evenly. Drizzle the oil over the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Roast for 1 1/2-1 3/4 hours or until browned and slightly shriveled. Halfway through, poke the tomatoes with a fork to help release some of the juices. Spoon the juices over the tomatoes a few times as they cook. After the tomatoes have cooked, remove the excess juices with a bulb baster into a small saucepan and reduce on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Reserve.
  3. Combine the topping ingredients and taste for seasoning. After 1 1/2 hours, sprinkle the topping evenly over the tomatoes. Drizzle the olive oil on top, along with any reduced juices. Roast another 20-30 minutes or until the tomatoes are crusty golden brown. Serve immediately.

Tips

  • Select tomatoes that are vine-ripened for the best flavor.
  • Remember to store tomatoes at room temperature. If they are not quite ripe, store them in a sunny place to hasten the ripeness.
  • Tomatoes vary widely in the amount of juice they exude, so just add a bit of water if you find the pan is dry during roasting.
  • These can be made up to 8 hours ahead and kept at room temperature. Serve at room temperature or reheat in a 325 F oven for about 15 minutes.

Serves 6 people.