Monday, August 8, 2011

Pan-Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower with Hazelnuts

Here's another recipe from The News Tribune. I have no idea why it was in an article with the title "Time to get out and grill your dinner," because it has nothing to do with the grill. I thought I'd try it anyway, but I did change the recipe in some ways: I decided to steam the veggies rather than boiling them, because steaming preserves more of their nutrients. I also used chopped hazelnuts with skins, even though the recipe called for lightly crushed blanched hazelnuts. I couldn't find whole blanched hazelnuts, and even if I had found whole unblanched hazelnuts (which I didn't), I didn't want to do the work of blanching them myself. So chopped, unblanched hazelnuts it was. I also think I--gasp--fell victim to the error of not reading directions closely enough. That truly is rather remarkable for me. I have many faults, but not reading directions is not typically one of them. Anyway, apparently I was supposed to use the broccoli stalk, too. Oops. But I really couldn't have done that anyway, because this week's CSA broccoli did not come in a big bunch but rather in florets.

Broccoli (about 1 1/2 lbs.)
Cauliflower (about 1 1/2 lbs.)
2 T. or so vegetable oil (I used canola)
2 T. or so butter
1/2 c. chopped hazelnuts
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Note: You can steam the veggies ahead of time and then store them in the fridge until you're ready to continue with the recipe. Just make sure you let them come to room temperature before proceeding.

Cut off the top 1 1/2 inches of broccoli florets. You want pieces that are reasonably bite-sized, so cut larger florets into smaller chunks if needed. If your broccoli has a big stalk attached to it, trim off the end and compost the end. Chop the remaining stalk into bite-sized pieces (peel the stalk before chopping if the broccoli isn't fresh). Remove the cauliflower leaves and compost them. Chop off the bottom inch or so of the cauliflower stem and compost it. Cut the cauliflower head in half, then break it apart into florets. Cut florets if needed. Rinse the veggies. Then put an inch or so of water into a big pot and bring to a boil. Put the veggies into a steamer basket/steamer insert, put that into the pot (make sure the steamer sits above the level of the boiling water), cover the pot, and steam the veggies for about 5 minutes or until just tender. Transfer the veggies to a large bowl of ice water to chill. Continue to soak, changing the water as needed, until the veggies are cold. Drain them, then put them in a colander over a bowl to continue draining for a while. When they're well drained and at room temperature, you're ready to move on. Put the oil and butter into a large skillet, then put the skillet on a burner over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the hazelnuts and "sauté until you begin to smell them and they just begin to turn golden." Add the veggies and turn the burner to high. Let them cook for a while, stirring seldom. You want the veggies to sit undisturbed on the heat for a while so they brown a bit. When the veggies are hot and somewhat browned, remove them from the skillet. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I did the steaming part of this recipe, and Steve did the pan-roasting and photo. Our verdict on the dish: It was okay . . . but not repeatable. The end result was more interesting tastewise than simple steamed broccoli and cauliflower would've been, but not much more interesting. The hazelnuts did add some crunch and flavor, but the increased time and effort of pan-roasting was not worth the payoff.

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