Super Duper Vegetables

Posted on: September 12, 2014 Written by
Super Duper Vegetables
    Photography by: Debbie Peck      

I’ve been cooking almost all of my vegetables according to this new “method” that I learned in cooking classes in Italy, and I’ve been so impressed with how tasty veggies are when cooked this way, that I wanted to show you. I don’t know what this method of cooking vegetables is called. They aren’t sautèed. Well, maybe they’re sautèed a bit. They aren’t steamed. But then again, they’re steamed a bit. I’m just call it “sautè-steaming” your veggies. They come out firm–not mushy, colorful–not dull, and so delish! I’ve used carrots, green beans, peas, broccoli…I’m sure you could cook zucchini, cauliflower…nearly any vegetable this way. Here’s how you do it.

Begin by cutting your vegetables into fairly even-sized, fairly small pieces…

CutBroccoli

Don’t just cook broccoli this way! Every vegetable I’ve cooked this way is so much tastier than just steaming them! I usually prefer fresh vegetables, but I’ve used this same method with frozen green beans and peas and they cooked up well. (I found it worked best to put my frozen green beans into a bowl to thaw a few hours before cooking them but I’ve used ‘em right out of the freezer, and that worked too. Just had to cook them a bit longer.)

So, once my veggies are prepared, I put a few tablespoons of oil in a large sautè pan…

OilPan

This is a bit more than I would usually put when cooking broccoli for two people…but I kept waiting for My Good Husband to take the photo…and the oil just kept going in the pan! But it was tasty, and olive oil’s good for you. So it was OK.

When the pan was nice and hot, I added the chopped broccoli…but wait! First I added just a little diced onion. You don’t have to do this, but adding a little onion with some vegetables like zucchini, broccoli, and peas gives it a nice flavor. If you like onion. I do, of course. (With peas I often add a little diced bacon or prosciutto too, if I have some on hand.)

Onion

So I stirred the onion around and then, right away, added the chopped, fresh broccoli…

TossInPan

I stirred it just for a minute or so, just long enough to toss it in the oil…and added a shake of salt…

Salt

Next I poured in just a little water, maybe half a cup or so…

AddWater

The important thing is to not add too much. Better to add a little more in a few minutes, than to add too much at the beginning. I let them “steam” for about five minutes, just stirring them every once in a while, with the cover OFF. Firmer vegetables such as fresh green beans and carrots will require a bit more water but it’s still better to add a little more water once it has evaporated, rather than add too much at the beginning.

Stir

The water will evaporate and when it does, test a piece and see if they’re done. If not, add just a little more water. I’m usually nearby, stirring something else, or setting the table, so I just keep an eye on it and check it every so often. The veggies get done without getting mushy and they retain not only their flavor but more of the nutrients since you aren’t steaming them and then pouring off the water. Yum. Yum. Yum!

Broccoli

 

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