At this point in the summer, living in a third floor apartment in densely populated city, with no air conditioning, and something of a personal propensity for over heating, (I inherited my father's peculiar need to submerge his feet in ice cold water in the middle of the night lest they burst into flames) I'm going to pretty great lengths to keep my kitchen cool. During these hot months I definitely favour raw preparation over baking and stewing, a no-brainer considering there are so many wonderful fresh, seasonal vegetables available at the market. That said, sometimes you just have to fire up the oven, as was the case last week when a killer chocolate cake was in order for my hubby's birthday. There's no way I'm heating up the oven to bake just one thing, so as long as it was fired up, I roasted some potatoes and onions and made this salad.
What I like about this dish is how easily it comes together, and how bright and vibrant the greens are. The potatoes, pulled hot from the oven, are used to lightly steam the peas and broccoli by simply putting everything together in a bowl and covering it with a lid. A lot of people find raw broccoli to be hard on the stomach, and it's undoubtedly sweeter and softer when lightly cooked. Steaming it with the hot potatoes softens it up, without the nutrient loss experienced through blanching. I suspect the same is true for the peas, though I know less about them. I just know that they're tasty and sweet, currently in season, and an excellent source of yes, once again - protein (not to mention vitamins, minerals, and fiber.) More nutritional info available on these bad boys HERE.
If you're firing up the grill instead of the oven, roast the potatoes and onion there, or if you're not firing anything up, go for a steamer basket on the stove top. Some substitutions and/or add in's I might try next time are green onions for red, basil for rosemary, roasted garlic, shredded kale along with the broccoli, or stirring in some garlic scape pesto. As always, there are lots of options and few rules. Just get in the kitchen, play, and try to add the green stuff at the end.
This is another dish that’s good at room temperature and easy to take to a potluck or barbecue. And as usual, I didn't really measure. What follows is a rough idea of quantities used, but go with whatever ratios you like, or what you have on hand.
1 pound new potatoes - scrubbed, skin still on
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 red onion
1 head broccoli
One pile of peas - shelled (about a cup or a cup and a half)
1/2 cup Basic Vinaigrette OR fresh lemon juice and olive oil
cooking spray for roasting
- Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the potatoes into halves, and cut the onion into wedges (leave the root intact so that wedges stay together)
- Arrange potatoes, onion, and rosemary on baking sheet, spray lightly with cooking spray, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. (What? Cooking spray? Yes, I have a can of cooking spray and sometimes I use it for roasting. I feel guilty about it and won't be buying more of it, okay? Jeeze, I'm sorry. Aerosol is bad. You can use oil in a non-pressurized spritzer bottle, or just toss the taters in a bowl with a bit of oil. Guilt load lessened.)
- Roast potatoes until they’re slightly browned and cooked through - around 30 to 40 minutes.
- While the potatoes roast, shell the peas, wash and chop the broccoli, and place them together in a large bowl.
- When the potatoes are done, immediately put them on top of the peas and broccoli and cover with a lid or plate. Set aside and forget about for at least 10 minutes, at which point you can give everything a stir and determine whether or not it needs to steam longer.
- Toss with a basic vinaigrette, or simply lemon juice and olive oil to taste, and serve at room temperature.