Familiar Vegetables, New Tricks

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Recently, I've tried out two recipes that treat familiar vegetables in new-to-me, yet simple ways, and I wanted to share these smart, fresh ways to prepare winter veggies.

Back in December, New York Times columnist David Tanis ran a recipe for mashed butternut squash that I tried and loved: You peel and chop the squash and roast it in a foil-covered baking dish with water. A not-so-healthy dose of butter makes it truly delicious. We paired it with seared duck breasts, and they were a lovely combination.

Another new technique I've discovered is "glazing" potatoes, which I discovered through a recipe for Olive-Oil Glazed Potatoes from the The Gourmet Cookbook. In this instance, peeled, sliced potatoes are sautéed on the stove in a pan of water and oil (I used a cast iron skillet). As the water evaporates, the potatoes are left with a glaze of the oil--they're insanely rich for a dish that only uses two tablespoons of oil. The second time I make them I added fresh pepper and a handful of chopped, fresh parsley for color and a little herbal lift.

Mashed Butternut Squash 
From The New York Times

2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons butter

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Put squash cubes in a shallow, wide baking dish. Season with salt and pepper and toss with hands to coat. Pour water in, to a depth of about 1 inch. Dot surface with butter and cover dish tightly with foil.

2. Bake, covered, until squash is tender, about 1 hour. Crush squash to a rough consistency with a potato masher or wooden spoon. Stir to incorporate cooking juices and check seasoning. May be prepared ahead and reheated.

Olive-Oil Glazed Potatoes with Parsley

1 lb russet (baking) potatoes (about 2)
1 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
handful of chopped, fresh parsley

1. Peel potatoes and halve lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices.
2. Combine potatoes with water, oil, garlic, and salt in a 10-inch nonstick skillet and bring to a simmer. Cover skillet and briskly simmer, shaking skillet occasionally, until potatoes are tender and most of water is absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes.


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