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Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

Steamed Vegetables with Warm Prosciutto Vinaigrette

steamed-veg.JPGInsalata di Verdure Cotte al Prosciutto
Lidia Bastianich

Lidia is one of my favorites. Maybe my all time favorite tied with Jacques. I’ve had Lidia’s Italian Table for years and don’t think I’ve ever cooked out of it. That made it the perfect target for my first ever ‘true’ roulette. I sent Danielle a message earlier today with the name of the book and she hit me back with a page number, 219. I was disappointed to see that the recipe called for beets but was otherwise happy to give a giant tray of veg a go. I probably could have made this entirely from what I had on hand but since I planned to go out anyway decided to supplement what would otherwise have some from the freezer and cupboard with some fresh goods.

I used three smallish golden beets instead of two red ones. Generally speaking, I don’t like beets. I have tried, really tried to like them. Most recently using what I was told was a tried and true recipe for roasted beets using the best farm fresh specimens I could find when they were in season at the farmer’s market. I still didn’t like them. I didn’t know anything about the golden beets up front but they are delicious. They still taste like beets but milder and sweeter. They were nice and small too and the same price as the red ones. I might just try to grow a few this summer.

I also bought the small zuke and the carrots that the recipe calls for. The broccoli, cauliflower and beans all came out of the freezer but steamed up perfectly. I didn’t have prosciutto but I subbed in 4 or 5 slices of thick cut bacon and that seemed to be just fine as a substitute. I also added a tiny pinch of salt to the veg in the steamer even though the recipe didn’t call for it. I used mixed greens as the base.

We’re not big veg-heads in this house. We do what we can but Ben is notoriously bad. So you’ll be surprised to hear that we ate the whole platter. Sure it had bacon on it but I could have been having that bacon alongside a short stack instead of tender crisp veg. I served it along side a filet of halibut that I did ‘en papillote.’ The flounder was a pantry (I include items in the freezer as pantry items even though I guess they don’t technically qualify) meal. I took the fish out the freezer, seasoned with salt and pepper and a hunk of basil butter that I found int he freezer, topped it with a sliced lemon and some red pepper that I found in the fridge, wrapped it up and threw it in the oven while I finished assembling the salad. We were both more than satisfied and didn’t even miss the starch we’re so used to. Of course, I did have a giant bowl of leftover pasta for lunch but baby steps right? I should add that there’s no picture in the book so I have no idea what it is supposed to look like.  Wait, I found it.  I guess it looks similar enough.  The book’s is laid out more artfully but I wouldn’t say that it looks tastier.  :)

steamed-veg-2.JPGen-papillote.JPG

Here’s the recipe:

2 med beets trimmed and scrubbed
salt
1 med carrot
1 sm zuke
1/4 lb green beans
1/2 head each cauliflower and broccoli (about 7 cups)
4 small heads Lolla Rossa lettuce
1 tbsp olive oil *I omitted this
1/4 lb prosciutto cut med fine
1/4 c red wine vinegar
3 tbsp chicken stock

Cook beets in salted boiling water until easily pierced *apparently they’re ready when you remember and jump up saying oh crap I was cooking something. That’s when they’ll be just right. Drain and peel as soon as they’re cool enough to handle. *peeling was incredible easy the skin just slipped right off though I would wait a little longer for them to cool that I did unless you, like me, are trying to impress your mate with your kitchen prowess. Set aside.

Meanwhile, steam the remaining vegetables until tender. 15 mins for carrot, 8 mins for zuke, 7 for beans, 6 for the broccoli and cauliflower. Remove the veg from steamer and cool completely. Cut all but the beans, broccoli and cauliflower into matchstick sized pieces. Arrange all of the veg over the greens on a platter.

To make the dressing, cook the bacon over medium-high heat stirring until it is browned and crisp. Add the vinegar and cook until evaporated. *I didn’t run into this but I suppose if you’re using bacon you should give some consideration to the amount of fat that renders out. If it looks like more than a couple of or maybe three tablespoons you should probably pour some out. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Spoon the hot dressing over the veg and serve.

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