Where is that perfect recipe that perfectly highlights the natural sweetness of vegetables while turning them into a rich, delectable side dish? Right here, dear readers. Although this recipe calls for spring vegetables, and is an ideal way to cook up the sweet, young veggies of spring, it can easily be adapted to pump up the flavor of any season’s fresh produce. Consider summer’s robust squashes, peppers, and beans; autumn’s hearty Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and pumpkin; and the fabulous array of root vegetables all winter long. Change up the seasonings to suit your taste—or the season—and don’t be surprised to find yourself eating your veggies even for breakfast (yes, really)!
Serves 6 as a side
- 2 cups olive oil
- 3 lemons, 2 sliced and 1 cut into wedges
- 5 calabrian chiles, halved
- 1 head garlic, trimmed and halved
- 1 handful of rosemary sprigs (6-10 sprigs)
- 2 anchovies, optional
- 6 cups vegetables; use any you like. What I used this time:
- 4 small potatoes, medium dice
- 2 large shallots, sliced into wedges
- ½ cup julienned carrots
- ½ cup julienned kohlrabi
- 1 cup asparagus, chopped into 1-inch pieces
- Large handful of sugar snap peas
- Kosher salt
- Large-grain sea salt (like Maldon)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Fresh herbs (try marjoram or thyme), chopped, optional
- Place olive oil, sliced lemons, calabrian chiles, garlic, and rosemary in a medium saucepan. Bring to a bare simmer and let cook for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit for another 15-30 minutes to continue infusing. This is a good time to prep your veggies. Sprinkle shallots and potatoes with some kosher salt and let sit while you prep the remainder of your vegetables.
- When ready to cook, strain infused oil into a sauté pan. Press lightly on the aromatics with the back of a wooden spoon to get as much oil into the pan as possible.
- Heat oil over medium heat until warm. If using the anchovies, add them to the pan along with the oil and break them up gentle with a wooden spoon until they dissolve into the oil.
- The order you add vegetables to the pan, and the amount of time you cook the vegetables is really up to you! I like my potatoes and shallots to be meltingly soft, while retaining a slight bite in the asparagus and snap peas. Here’s how I achieved that.
- Add shallots and potatoes to oil. Bring oil to a bare simmer and cook for 10 minutes, or until potatoes are just done and able to be pierced with a fork with only slight resistance. Keep an eye on the oil and don’t let the heat get too high. You aren’t trying to brown the vegetables.
- Add carrots, kohlrabi, and asparagus. Cook for 5 minutes, or until asparagus is just crisp-tender and bright green.
- Add snap peas and cook another 2 to 3 minutes, or until crisp-tender and bright green.
- Serve vegetables using a slotted spoon, allowing some of the oil to drain away as possible. Sprinkle with Maldon sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and fresh herbs, if desired. Serve with lemon wedges.