carrots and onions come off the grill with a hint of
wood smoke. A drizzle of yogurt and a sprinkling of
herbs finishes the dish.
month, nearly every farmers market across the country
overflows with cauliflower, carrots and zucchini. I stock
the fridge only to find myself challenged to turn these
unsung heroes into dinner all-stars.
solution: Employ bold flavors such as sweet and salty
seasonings, fresh herbs, crunchy toppings. Cut them into fun
shapes, and then cook with wood fires and high heat.
cauliflower bores me — and it makes the kitchen smell
funny. This hearty member of the brassica genus (which
includes broccoli and cabbage) benefits greatly when cooked
by hot, dry heat — either on a grill or in the oven. I
find that much of the off-putting cabbage-y quality
dissipates and the texture becomes pleasingly toothsome.
recipe for cauliflower and carrots is reminiscent of a dish
I enjoyed at Cafe Zola in Ann Arbor, Mich., where they
dressed the wood-roasted vegetables with a spicy
vinaigrette. Lacking a wood-fired oven, I roast my veggies
over a medium hot grill with a few wood chips added for
smoke. Cook the vegetables on a perforated grill pan.
Alternatives to the grill pan include the top perforated
insert from my broiler pan or several layers of heavy foil
punched with small holes.
can find orange (aka cheddar) cauliflower at the local
farmers market, I scoop it up. It’s mild, sweet, nutty
flavor tastes terrific in this dish and makes a beautiful
color combination with deep orange carrots and ruby red
cranberries. For protein, crunch and satisfaction, I top the
warm combination with glazed pistachios and a drizzle of
tangy yogurt or sour cream.
mother enticed us to embrace zucchini by crisping it in a
skillet into crunchy disks of goodness. I still love those
lightly battered slices straight from the pan with a
sprinkle of salt and chives. These days, I like to pan-fry
round zucchini, such as the billiard ball-shaped Eight Ball
variety or pale green Tatume squash, and serve them topped
with raw strands of zucchini salad for an attractive and
satisfying light main dish. If you have one of the new
trendy spiralizers, use it to turn oblong zucchini into
skinny strands that eat great raw. I have a $10 julienne
peeler (it looks like a vegetable peeler) that does the
CAULIFLOWER AND CARROTS WITH PISTACHIO CRUNCH
4 main-dish or 6 side-dish servings
leftovers? Stir a handful or two of baby kale leaves into
the cold vegetable mixture for a great salad. Ras el hanout
is a North African spice blend; look for it in spice shops,
or sub with a mild curry powder.
cup hickory or apple wood chips
tablespoons ras el hanout or mild curry powder
cup shelled pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
large head (about 2 pounds) cauliflower (orange cauliflower
if possible), cored
pound skinny carrots, peeled, cut on diagonal into 1/4-inch
large sweet onion, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup dried cranberries
yogurt or sour cream thinned with a little milk, optional
Prepare a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to medium heat.
Meanwhile, soak the wood chips in a bowl of water. Have a
perforated grill pan ready. Mix the spice blend and salt in
a small bowl.
the nuts and sugar in a small nonstick skillet. Set the
skillet over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly,
until sugar melts and glazes the nuts, usually 1 or 2
minutes. (Do not walk away, or the nuts may burn.) Cool.
Break into small pieces. The nuts can be stored in a covered
container for several days.
the cauliflower into large, bite-size florets. Put onto a
baking sheet. Add the carrots and onion. Drizzle the olive
oil over everything; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with
salt-spice mixture; toss again to mix well.
a perforated grill pan over the heat source. Add the
drained, soaked chips to the coals or place on a piece of
foil over the gas burners.
Spoon the vegetable mixture onto the grill pan in a single
layer. (Work in batches if necessary.) Cover the grill and
cook, stirring 2 or 3 times, until vegetables are nicely
golden and crisp-tender, 15 to 20 minutes. (Adjust the
temperature of the grill or move the pan to a cooler side if
vegetables start to get too dark.)
Remove the cooked vegetables to a serving platter. Sprinkle
with the cranberries and cilantro. Drizzle with the thinned
yogurt, if using. Sprinkle with the glazed nuts. Serve warm
or at room temperature.
variation: Cook the seasoned vegetable mixture on a large
(or 2 smaller) oiled baking sheets in a 375-degree oven,
stirring often until fork tender, about 20 minutes.
information per serving (for 4 servings): 311 calories, 18 g
fat, 3 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 35 g
carbohydrates, 7 g protein, 684 mg sodium, 9 g fiber
ZUCCHINI WITH PANCETTA
2 main-dish or 4 side-dish servings
round zucchini are not available, simply use regular
zucchini cut on a diagonal into ¼-inch slices. Trader Joe’s
sells diced pancetta.
round Eight Ball zucchini or Tatume squash, about 1 ¼
pounds total, ends trimmed
medium (6 inches in length and 1 inch in diameter) zucchini,
large tomato, halved, seeded, diced
tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, or more as needed
1 cup finely diced pancetta or lean bacon (2 to 4 ounces)
canola oil for frying
fresh oregano leaves, small chive flowers, optional
Slice the round zucchini into 1/4-inch thick slices. Put
into a colander; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Let drain
in the sink.
Meanwhile, use a spiralizer or julienne peeler to turn the 2
medium zucchini into long strands. Put into a bowl with the
tomato. Season with olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper
to taste. Set aside.
Beat eggs in a flat bowl; season with 1/8 teaspoon salt and
pepper to taste. Put flour into a second bowl; season with
1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot.
Add pancetta; cook until crispy, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to
a plate with a slotted spoon.
Wipe off round zucchini slices with a paper towel. Dip each
slice into the egg mixture, then into the flour to coat
lightly on both sides. Add to the pan drippings in the
skillet; cook over medium, turning once, until the slices
are golden and crisp, about 2 minutes. Repeat to cook all
slices, adding canola oil as needed.
serve, arrange overlapping slices of fried zucchini on a
warm serving plate. Top the center with a pile of the
zucchini salad. Garnish with the pancetta, oregano leaves
and chive flowers if using. Serve right away.
information per serving (for 2 servings): 490 calories, 31 g
fat, 5 g saturated fat, 196 mg cholesterol, 36 g
carbohydrates, 21 g protein, 1,109 mg sodium, 5 g fiber