Summer Bollito Misto of Vegetables
Every other week, a box of local, organic vegetables shows up at my door. I love it, but sometimes planning what to do with all that produce can be … like work. I dig through my cookbooks, search epicurious.com, flip through my recipe folder, and sometimes I come up with some good ideas. Other days I realize that I’ve been at it for 30 minutes, my tea has gone cold, and I still have no idea what I’m making for dinner.
If you buy one Deborah Madison cookbook, make it Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. But if you buy two, get Vegetarian Suppers. It’s a fantastic book, full of delicious, seasonal one-dish main courses. I think I was looking through the index for “leeks” when I came across the bollito misto recipe. I made the winter version once and absolutely loved it. It’s super easy and adaptable for the produce you have on hand. And it uses a ton of veggies. In one recipe, I suddenly had plans for the carrots, potatoes, baby leeks, green beans and squash that had showed up at my door. It even used an assortment of herbs from my garden. Perfect.
It ended up being the perfect meal for Neko, too. Sometimes I worry about making one dish for dinner, since if she decides that she doesn’t like eggs or beans or whatever that night, then I get panicky and start digging through the pantry and freezer, trying to find something she will eat. I don’t think she’s quite old enough for the “This is what’s for dinner. Eat it or don’t,” routine yet. We tried it once and ended up with a kid who was inconsolable at bedtime until I gave her a banana. She scarfed it down and crashed instantly, which made me feel like a wonderful parent, let me tell you.
This dish sounds like it might be light, but it’s actually pretty hearty, especially if you use lots of vegetables and throw in some potatoes. I’ll definitely be making it again this summer when I feel less than inspired. Paired with a warm baguette and marinated goat cheese it really makes a perfect meal.
A Summer Bollito Misto of Vegetables with Olive Oil
from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Suppers
several slivered garlic cloves
a few scallions or 1 onion, sliced
1 tsp. peppercorns
several parsley and thyme sprigs
2 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. sea salt
A variety of vegetables, including any of the following:
new potatoes, scrubbed and sliced 3/8 inch thick
small market carrots, scrubbed and halved lengthwise
fennel bulbs, trimmed and quartered
celery rubs, peeled
leeks, washed and halved lengthwise
small summer turnips, halved or quartered, peeled or not
green beans, tipped and tailed
summer squash, sliced 3/8 inch thick into rounds or lengths
red and purple radishes, scrubbed
shucked and peeled fava beans or peas
tasty olive oil
sea salt or fleur de sel
freshly ground peppercorns
an assortment of chopped fresh herbs in season—basil, marjoram, dill, thyme, lemon thyme, tarragon, etc.
1. Simmer 2 to 3 quarts water in 2 wide skillets, throwing some sliced garlic, scallions or onion, peppercorns parsley and thyme sprigs in each skillet along with a teaspoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of salt.
2. Drop the slower cooking vegetables into the skillet first, using one for vegetables that might bleed, like radishes and turnips. Then add the quicker cooking vegetables. Don’t worry too much about cooking time. The recipe is forgiving. Just keep the water simmering and use a slotted spoon to remove the vegetables as they’re done. Cook them to your preference. I like my vegetables to be tender but still crisp.
3. When the vegetables are done, put them all on a platter or in a large bowl and pour a bit of the cooking liquid over the top. Then drizzle with olive oil and scatter your mixed chopped herbs over the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh pepper.