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October 2011 COTM: Splendid Table: Vegetable Side Dishes

LulusMom Oct 1, 2011 02:04 AM

Please use this thread to discuss and review recipes from the chapter about vegetable side dishes.

The Chowhound Team has asked me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

  1. g
    Goblin Jun 11, 2012 07:48 PM

    Green Beans wit Balsamic Pesto, p. 325.

    Not a complicated dish, but a nice way to enrich plain steamed or boiled green beans with a tasty coating of garlic, park cheese, and basil pesto, blended with a balsamic glaze. You whirl a clove of garlic, 1 1/3 cups of tightly-packed basil leaves, and 3 ounces of grated Parmesan cheese in a blender or food processor, with s & p added to taste. (This can be made ahead.) Just before serving, boil or steam 1 1/2 pounds of green beans until tender-crisp, and then toss the hot beans with the pesto, and dress with 4-5 TBS of "commercial balsamic vinegar"--the kind available in US supermarkets, not the really thick, aged kind--which has had 1/2 tsp of brown sugar blended in.

    The finished dish has an attractive touch of sweetness, perked up by the spicy basil and mellowed by the cheese. The first time I made it, I tossed the beans with the pesto a few hours ahead, and served it at room temperature. Last night I mixed the pesto and hot beans together just before serving. I liked it served warm the best.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Goblin
      Allegra_K Aug 20, 2012 11:39 AM

      Green Beans with Balsamic Pesto

      I've been having to find unique ways to use up the plethora of green beans I've been getting, and I recall bookmarking this recipe from last year and never getting around to making it, so I whipped out the book to complete the task.

      This is a simple recipe with bold flavours which really elevates the beans to something special. I actually preferred the beans after they had been bathing in the pesto for several hours, after testing it right after mixing. It mellowed out after a while.

      I served the beans with some other strongly seasoned dishes, and they all competed with one another for top spot. Next time I would have this recipe with something more simple, perhaps a roast chicken.

    2. nomadchowwoman Oct 26, 2011 09:27 AM

      Creamy Polenta, p. 354

      I made this using LRK's long, almost no-stirring method, and like Hyperbowler, I was skeptical but then pleasantly surprised. After 90 minutes, I was very satisfied with the result.

      I had to hold it, though, so used her advice for holding it up to 4 fours. I left it in its stainless bowl, tightly covered with foil and over a pot of barely simmering water, for another three hours until I was ready to serve dinne. After checking the polenta, I wasn't so thrilled w/the polenta: it reminded me of every blob of bad grits I've ever had on a breakfast plate--not creamy, but gloppy, with some water pooling on top.

      I salvaged it by heating some chicken stock, whisking the polenta into it until it was loose again and then adding grated parmigiana, diced (Italian) fontina, and salt--it definitely needed salt. Served w/the Lemon Chicken (p. 273) and Garlic-Sauteed Cabbage (p. 331), it was fine.

      This morning, we had some baked w/a fried egg on top. That was pretty good. I plan to grill the rest of it (inspired by Hyperbowler's photo) and top it w/mushrooms for an app. tonight or tomorrow.

      So it all worked out in the end. I'll definitely use this little-stir method again, but I'll time it so I don't have to hold it.

      1. q
        qianning Oct 25, 2011 04:08 PM

        Green Beans Bolognese pg. 327

        We loved this. Sautee onions over medium heat in some olive oil (2-3 tbs), add green beans cook on high 'til onions brown, add stock, chopped mortadella (i used some good thin sliced mortadella that never made it into a lunch sandwich, as was, well, a tad dry, worked fine), a pinch of clove (love the uses of clove in this book), cover and simmer on low for fifteen minutes, uncover and reduce the sauce. It was a bit oily, I'd probably go for 1.5 tbs oil in the future, but darn it was tasty oil, we were both scouting around for things to dip in it at the end of the meal.

        1. Gio Oct 23, 2011 06:24 AM

          Salad of Mixed Greens and Fennel (Insalata Verde con Finochio), Pg. 349

          This is one of those cool and refreshing salads that is served on the same plate as the Secondo. LRK says this is the custom for many in the Emilio-Romagna region and I've enjoyed it immensely even though it's usual for us to serve salad after the entre but before dessert.

          The recommended combination of greens is: Bibb lettuce, Romaine lettuce, Radicchio and Fennel. I used Bibb, Romaine, green Cabbage and Fennel. Prepare the salad greens as one normally does, cutting the fennel into "sticks." Throw everything into a salad bowl, sprinkle with extra virgin olive oil and toss all together. Now sprinkle in red wine vinegar and toss. I then sprinkled in the optional balsamic vinegar and seasoned the salad with sea salt and FGblack pepper. Taste to make sure the balance of flavors are to your liking and adjust if necessary. I like the theory of Quanto Basta. Meaning... use just as much as you want... just enough that makes the dish taste good to You.

          We both loved this salad. The fennel was quite large and therefore didn't have a pronounced anise flavor some people don't like. But I've always loved the cool refreshing quality of fennel and use it often. This salad is a recommended side dish for the Po River Catfish on page 266.

          1. g
            Goblin Oct 21, 2011 09:31 AM

            Spiced Spinach (and Kale) with Almonds, p. 330.

            A fine, rich, and savory way to cook tender greens, which we served as a side, but which could also be used as a stuffing for pastas, or "small roasted birds," as RK suggests. The finished dish is not really spicy, but rather subtly hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and currants.

            First, you trim two pounds of spinach, and/or whatever other tender greens you are using, and rinse them well. I used half "grown-up spinach" and half rainbow chard. Then you put them directly into a large pot, which you cover and set over medium heat to wilt the greens. As soon as they are wilted and somewhat crisp-tender--but still bright green-- you drain, rinse in the leaves in cold water, and squeeze out excess moisture. Then chop coarsely. (All this can be done a day ahead. Incidentally, I really appreciate RK's make-ahead directions.)

            To finish the dish you heat 3 TBs evoo and saute 1/2 cup minced onion till golden brown. Add a minced clove of garlic and cook for a minute. Then stir in the chopped spinach and/or other greens (I added some kale) and also add 1/8 tsp cinnamon, a "generous pinch" of freshly-grated nutmeg, 5 TBs blanched, toasted, chopped almonds (I used slivered) and 2 TBs currants. Saute for about 2 minutes or until heated through. Then add 4 oz (1/2 cup) ricotta and heat briefly. Season with s & p, turn into a heated bowl, and toss with 4 oz (1 cup) grated parm. Serve hot.

            There's a lot of complexity to this dish's flavors. The cheeses add richness, the almonds add crunch, the spices add their own depth, and the currants, which seem to disappear, add some sweetness. Plus the saltiness of the parmesan. Plus the minced onion and garlic. With all this going on, it's still not an assertive side, but definitely something special. Comparing this recipe to the one for Tuscan kale (or other greens) in The Italian Country Table (p, 277) is a perfect illustration of the differences between the two books. Both are delicious and fully representative of Italian cuisine; the first one just has a lot more ingredients and takes longer!

            Anyway, we made this just as the recipe indicates. Next time I might try just slightly more of the spices for even a little more flavor-punch. But not too much more.

            1. m
              MelMM Oct 17, 2011 06:58 PM

              Oven-Roasted Potatoes, p 344

              Made this to go with the Rabbit Dukes of Modena. The recipe calls for red-skinned potatoes, but I used Kennebecs, as that is what I had on hand. The recipe has you boil the potatoes, then quarter them. I cut mine into large chunks, then boiled until just starting to get tender. After you drain the potatoes, you place them in a pan or roasting dish and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes (I was using a convection toaster oven, so I reduced the time), then toss with some fresh sage and/or rosemary (I used both), and some pancetta. Roast another 30 to 40 minutes (once again, I reduced the time). The potatoes should be crisp and deep brown.

              These were great with the Rabbit Dukes of Modena and some fall greens. I think these days we all have a roasted potato dish similar to this in our repertoire, but this one just works very well, gets very crisp, and just comes out great. Sometimes it is worthwhile revisiting a recipe for something familiar, just to approach it like it is fresh and new again.

              3 Replies
              1. re: MelMM
                karykat Oct 17, 2011 08:48 PM

                A friend made this for a brunch recently. It reminded me of a potato dish I've made from Fine Cooking that used chicken broth. But no broth in this.

                The insides of the potatos were really creamy and soft and the outsides really crispy. Very good.

                1. re: MelMM
                  nomadchowwoman Oct 24, 2011 08:44 AM

                  Oven-Roasted Potatoes, p. 344

                  Agree w/MelMM's assessment:the result of this easy two-step technique results in delicious crisp deep golden-brown potatoes.
                  I used a combination of red and yukon gold potatoes. I didn't add any herbs (or pancetta) as there were herbs and capers in the marinated swordfish (based on Around My French Table recipe) the potatoes accompanied. That and a simple arugula salad made for a very nice dinner.

                  1. re: MelMM
                    GretchenS Oct 31, 2011 08:42 AM

                    My turn with this delicious potato recipe. As karykat describes, the insides were creamy and the outside crispy. We loved them. I reheated the leftovers the next night with a bit more olive oil. Definitely not as good as the first night but still pretty tasty.

                  2. jen kalb Oct 17, 2011 07:50 AM

                    LENTILS MODENA STYLE, page 347 (I think)

                    this is a meatless lentil sidedish that typically accompanies zampone and othe sausages. I served it in a vegetarian meal alongside yukon gold potatoes boiled and then sauteed with butter, oliveoil, onions, and rosemary. Overall a good success. (I made a half recipe, since the original was based on 2 lbs of lentils)

                    The first step is sauteeing a garlic clove in olive oil til golden, finely chopped vegetables and herbs - onion, carrot celery and sage - are then added and sauteed along with a bayleaf. (I used fresh) til golden, then the lentils, a can of tomatoes with their juice and a quantity of broth are added. I omintted the tomato paste called for at this point because I used a full small can of tomatoes for my half recipe. this is all sauteed, covered, til the lentils are tender but not mushy. It created a very tasty side dish. (in our case main dish) which my guests loved with the potatoes. this is very similar to the lentil soup recipe that Marcella offers in one of her books and which we also love, tho it has more aggressive herbs. I think it would have been improved with pancetta or prosciutto (contained in marcella's recipe) as a standalone dish - as noted the original was intended as a side dish to meats). but it was very succesful as is and it stands on its own well.

                    Im enjoying the use of the more aggressive herbs in this book.

                    1. Gio Oct 7, 2011 07:42 AM

                      Garlic Sautéed Cabbage (Cavolo con Aglio), Pg. 331

                      This was quite tasty. Easy prep and easy cook. Perfect for an additional vegetable side dish. The cabbage , acquistati in una fattoria locale, I used was much smaller than the 2 pounds called for so I had to take that into consideration. A bonus LRK says is that it's very nice "tossed with fresh pasta." Must try that.

                      So, using a large green cabbage trim outer leaves and remove base leaving the core attached. Cut into wedges right through that core. Bring a large pot of water to boil, adding salt if you wish. Cook uncovered till core is barely tender then drain and immediately stop the cooking by rinsing under cold water. Spread the wedges on paper towels to dry.

                      Heat oil in a sauté pan, add diced garlic (I thinly sliced 6 cloves) and very slowly braise over the merest heat till the garlic is barely golden. Remove and set aside. Add the cabbage to the pan and sauté till cabbage has browned. Return garlic to pan, cook a few minutes to blend everything together, season with S & P. Serve and enjoy.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Gio
                        Goblin Oct 21, 2011 08:24 AM

                        Made this garlic-sauteed cabbage last night, and my daughter's positive reaction summed it up perfectly:

                        "It's all the good things about cooked cabbage with none of the bad!"

                        The finished dish has a smooth, buttery texture and nutty flavor, and the garlic gives it richness. Salt and pepper are really all it needs. RK says it would be a good side for roasted meats and poultry--I served it as a side with swordfish steaks (in a Mediterranean preparation) and it was fine. It's not an assertive dish.

                        Gio describes it precisely and I did it just that way. I did dice the garlic, as RK says, but I think thinly sliced as Gio suggests would also be nice. I simmered my garlic for about 20 minutes on the lowest possible setting of my stove-top and the tamed garlic scented the kitchen deliciously.

                        1. re: Gio
                          nomadchowwoman Oct 25, 2011 11:18 PM

                          Garlic Sautéed Cabbage, p. 331

                          We had this as a side tonight, w/Maria Bertuzzi's Lemon Chicken and creamy polenta. I followed the recipe pretty closely except that I used only 2 1/2-3 T. oil; my cabbage wasn't really "large."

                          As Gio and Goblin have reported, this is a very tasty dish. My husband is not a great fan of cabbage, but he liked the garlic flavor here and all the browned edges--even had a second helping. I think Molly Stevens's braised cabbage is still my favorite, but this would be a close second. I'll make it again.

                        2. h
                          hyperbowler Oct 6, 2011 10:59 AM

                          p. 352. Polenta (grilled)

                          I was skeptical at the lack of stirring in this recipe at first. You essentially cook the polenta in a jury rigged giant double boiler, and stir it only four or five times. Well, it surprisingly worked! I used a large pyrex bowl, and accidentally cooked it about 45 minutes longer than the recipe stated... woops... but it tasted great right out of the pot. I poured the polenta into bread loaf pans, let it cool to room temperature, and then stuck it in the fridge. The next day, it slipped right out of the pan, and I sliced it into 1/4 inch slices. We grilled it as per her instructions, and served it under her game (venison) ragu.

                          I've never grilled polenta before, and the results were good but not great. The outside was crisp, but too tough to cut with the side of a fork, and it was cut so thin that there wasn't much in the center. Despite the 1/4" she suggests on p. 354, a note in the Game Ragu recipe recommended slicing it 1/2" thick, and I think that would give it a better texture. Plus, I wonder if my problems had something to do with cooking it for 45 minutes too long? ;-)

                          If I were to make this again, I'd be curious to see if the technique would work with scalded milk rather than boiling water. Has anyone tried that?

                          1. Gio Oct 4, 2011 05:51 AM

                            Roasted Beets and Onions (Bietole e Cipolle al Forno), Pg. 351

                            Great dish! And so easy too. Made it on the week-end but just getting around to reporting. Will make it again... for certain.

                            Roast 8 medium beets and 6 medium onions in a 400F oven for 1 hour. Here's how I did it:

                            In a small roasting tin (mine is 8" X 8") place the beets and onions, scrubbed but with skin on, drizzle with olive oil, add S & P, toss all around to coat, cover with foil and roast. When completely tender slip the skins off the onions. With paper towels - or use a fork and paring knife - rub the beet skins off.

                            To serve dress some Bibb lettuce leaves with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and S & P. Place on a platter and arrange the beets and onions on top.

                            The beets I used were small baby beets as were the fresh white onions. So sweet. So delicious. I'm thinking Christmas with the colors, etc.

                            1. q
                              qianning Oct 1, 2011 06:26 AM

                              Herb and Garlic Grilled Eggplant pg. 328

                              Well, I didn't quite like this, but don't let that discourage you, as Mr. QN liked it just fine, so who's to say.

                              It is easy enough, slice eggplant 1/4" thick ('sliced vertically', so does that mean stem to blossom, or across the waist? In this recipe it probably doesn't matter at all, and generally her directions are fantastically clear, but this one stumped me). Baste the slices on both sides with olive oil, spread over the slices a garlic/parsley/basil/b. pepper herb blend, let sit for a few hours. Grill over a moderate fire for about 10 minutes, turning once.

                              It all worked just fine, but to me the dominant flavor was eggplant-bitters, the nice fresh basil and parsley were lost, and even the garlic didn't shine through. I think I like my grilled eggplant cooked and then seasoned, rather than the reverse.

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: qianning
                                Jay F Oct 1, 2011 06:51 AM

                                I would guess stem to blossom.

                                1. re: Jay F
                                  Gio Oct 1, 2011 07:04 AM

                                  No guessing ...it's stem to blossom. Through the waist would be crosswise.

                                  1. re: Gio
                                    qianning Oct 1, 2011 07:07 AM

                                    thanks. this was driving me nuts.

                                    1. re: qianning
                                      Gio Oct 1, 2011 10:35 AM

                                      You're welcome,, qianning. Also, sometimes you might see the words, "slice across in rounds"..

                                      1. re: Gio
                                        qianning Oct 1, 2011 12:26 PM

                                        that makes sense. don't know why but the more i thought about "slice vertically" the less clear it was.

                                        1. re: qianning
                                          oakjoan Oct 18, 2011 03:14 PM

                                          I also don't think it makes that much difference if one slices across or down.. I can't get either of the books out of my local libraries either and so will be looking for recipes online. I just CANNOT buy another cookbook. I bought both Slater books and have found them to be among the best I've ever come across....however, one must draw the line somewhere.

                                2. re: qianning
                                  roxlet Oct 1, 2011 11:28 AM

                                  Perhaps if you had salted the eggplant first it might have helped with the bitterness you felt was there.

                                  1. re: roxlet
                                    qianning Oct 1, 2011 12:28 PM

                                    i agree with you roxlet, i probably would have preferred it is the eggplant had been salted first, but Rossetto Kasper specifically says to put the eggplant on the grill "undrained", so I was hesitant to salt it.

                                  2. re: qianning
                                    Gio Oct 6, 2011 06:00 AM

                                    Herb and Garlic Grilled Eggplant, (Melanzane al Graticola), Pg. 328

                                    Well, qianning, I wasn't discouraged by your report of this dish at all. In fact I took your comments and turned the method to how I thought it would suit us. I did halve the recipe though, and used two long thinish deep purple eggplants cut in half crosswise then sliced in thin strips lengthwise.

                                    Minced the garlic/parsley/ basil/ pepper per the recipe. Placed the sliced eggplant on a lightly oiled large baking tray in a single layer, sprinkled the minced marinade over then drizzled all with extra virgin olive oil, and set it aside for just about one hour. Into a pre-heated 375F oven went the tray and the eggplant was roasted for 30 minutes, turning over with tongs once.

                                    It was delicious: Golden brown and garlicky with a hint of basil. I think a gentle squeeze of lemon over top would have been nice...but as it was it was a Perfect accompaniment for the leftover pasta frittata, page 68 in The Splendid Table.

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