can be glazed with butter, serrano chile and shallots;
finish with orange juice and mint.
many home cooks are obsessed with making dishes just like
the professionals do. They buy hand-forged Japanese chefs
knives, seek out $50 bottles of olive oil and spend hours
preparing elaborately composed dishes from "The French
Laundry Cookbook" or "Eleven Madison Park."
lot of them have never even heard of one of the most basic
techniques of cooking, one that requires no special
equipment or expensive ingredients. In fact, you can
probably do it in just a few minutes with what you have in
your kitchen right now.
called glazing vegetables, and itís as fundamental to a
cookís repertoire as roasting a chicken.
fact, it may be more so. Learn to roast a chicken and you
can probably extrapolate that knowledge to, well, roasting a
turkey. But glazing works for all sorts of vegetables, and
particularly now, when weíre enjoying the full flush of
the spring harvest, itís something you ought to master.
how you do it:
the vegetables into equal-sized pieces, so they cook at the
same pace. Place them in a skillet just big enough to hold
them, one that has a securely fitting lid.
just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan (roughly Ĺ
cup ó very dense vegetables will take a little more; soft
vegetables will take a little less). Add a little bit of
fat: a thumb-sized knob of butter or a couple of glugs of
olive oil. If you have seasonings that need to be cooked ó
minced onions, shallots or garlic ó add them too.
the pan over medium heat, cover tightly and cook. Stir every
couple of minutes, checking to see when the vegetables are
becoming tender. If the water gets low too quickly, add a
splash ó just 2 or 3 tablespoons.
when a paring knife penetrates easily, remove the lid and
turn the heat up to high. Cook, tossing and stirring fairly
constantly, until the liquid is gone and the vegetables are
shiny and just beginning to brown; itíll take only a
couple of minutes.
the final seasonings ó a sprinkle of salt, chopped herbs
or spices, and a splash of acidity from a squeeze of citrus
or a spoonful of vinegar ó and serve.
thatís all there is to it.
why itís so great: As the vegetables cook under cover,
they release moisture of their own (most vegetables are more
than 90 percent water). When you uncover the pan and turn up
the heat, the water evaporates and the flavor essences left
behind mix with the fat to coat the vegetables with a
time, I insisted on calling this "braising"
because it is very similar to what happens when you stew a
piece of meat. That little bit of added liquid serves to
soften the cellulose structure of the vegetable, releasing
the juices inside, which are then reduced to a sauce. In the
case of vegetables, itís just done backward; you soften
with liquid first, then brown at the end.
this point Iím willing to reconsider. Partly itís a bow
to the wisdom of my betters. If Thomas Keller says itís
"glazing," not "braising," who am I to
argue? Mainly, though, "glazing" just sounds
prettier. No doubt thatís at least partly the result of
decades of drably colored and dully flavored overcooked
stewed vegetables. That association is not at all
appropriate for these sparkling gems.
doesnít work with all vegetables. They need to be firm
enough so they wonít fall apart during cooking. But for
the ones it does work for, itís almost infinitely
flexible. Master this one technique and you have learned
dozens of "recipes."
only thing it requires is a certain amount of minding ó
getting the vegetables perfectly done (cooked through but
not mushy) requires paying attention. But thatís one
professional skill that every home cook needs to acquire.
IDEAS FOR GLAZED VEGETABLES
vegetables is so simple it doesnít really require a
recipe. But here are some ideas for flavor combinations that
you can explore. Remember, this technique is incredibly
flexible, so these are just a few of the many possibilities.
Glaze with olive oil and garlic; finish with lemon juice,
parsley and pine nuts.
Glaze with butter, serrano chile and shallots; finish with
orange juice and mint.
root: Glaze with butter and shallots; finish with lemon
juice and celery leaves.
Glaze with butter and garlic; finish with
Parmigiano-Reggiano, lemon juice and fronds.
Glaze with butter, honey and shallots; finish with white
wine vinegar and cinnamon.
onions: Glaze with rendered bacon fat and shallots; finish
with crumbled bacon, red wine or balsamic vinegar, and
and rutabagas: Glaze with butter and shallots; finish with
sherry vinegar and chopped walnuts.
Glaze with olive oil and garlic; finish with lemon juice and