Blanching is an easy process. Basically, it's boiling your veggies, then plunging them in ice water or running under cold water to shock them out of the cooking process. The result is a bright color and a crisp but cooked veggie. The process for my family's favorite Vegetable Medley, is an easy one but does require multiple steps. I assure you, though, that the added step of blanching before a quick sauté in butter, is so well worth it.
How well worth it, you ask? Well, my meat loving guy literally ate all his vegetables before going for a second helping, before cutting in to his delicious steak. Mind blown! My little guy also finished his broccoli, without coersion. Enjoy!
feat. Sunburst Squash aka Pattypan Squash aka Summer Squash
I've been so curious about "pattypan" squash, with such a cute name and all. I remember first hearing about them from Chef Guarnaschelli, I think on an episode of Chopped, as a mystery basket item. They are now in Season and quite adorable in this mix of veggies. They are easily subbed by other squash, if you are having trouble finding them at your local market, though.
1 Head of Broccoli
1 lb Fresh Green Beans
6 Carrots, peeled
5-6 Small Pattypan Squash (sub w/ 2 yellow squash or other similar sized zucchini)
Lots of Water for Boiling
1 Tbsp Grapeseed Oil
3 Tbsp Smart Balance Butter
1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
First, you want to do all the slicing and dicing before cooking, so you can time the vegetable blanching later. Nothing worse than cutting up the broccoli, then forgetting it's boiling away... only to find mush when you remember it's on the stove! Said the absent-minded cook. :)
Okay, so to start, I love doing an "oblique" or "bias" cut on the carrots for this recipe because it allows the carrots to be about the same size across the board. These are fancy terms, but since you are already going to have to cut the carrots, anyway, it's not a big deal. Bias means you'll slice them on a diagonal down the length of the carrot. Oblique means you slice on the diagonal in opossite ways, making a sort of flat topped pyramid. No big deal, just keep the sizes about the same.
Trim the tough ends from the green beans. I like to leave the pretty end on, the sort of curled tip. That's up to you, really. You can cut them in half if they are too long.
With the squash, slice approx 3/4 inch thickness & then in half.
**KITCHEN TIP ~ The Pattaypan is short and fat, so thus the cutting in half but if you have a regular zucchini, mexican or yellow squash, just slice in to 3/4 in h thick rounds.
In a bowl, sprinkle salt over & toss. Let them "sweat" while you blanch what needs blanching.
The salt draws out some of the moisture that could make everything a little soggy later. You know how I feel about soggy vegetables...
The last thing to cut is the broccoli...cut the florets away from the stem. You can even shave off the tough stem peel, and use the broccoli hearts in large pieces if you want to get crazy.
With everything cut & prepped it's time to ...
Bring a pot of water up to boil.
Rinse under cool water & set aside in their own bowl.
Heat fresh water to a simmer & drop in green beans for 3 minutes.
Rinse under cool water & reserve in a separate bowl.
Heat water again to simmering and drop in cut broccoli; simmer for 1 minute 30 seconds; rinse under cool water & reserve in their own bowl.
Finishing the Dish
Back to the squash. Now they've had time to release so e of that extra water content.
They dont g blanched, just sautéd.
Squeeze out the excess water & pat dry on paper towels. A good squeeze. Add to a large pan with Tbsp Grapeseed oil on high for 3 minutes.
Turn down heat to medium high, and flip squash. Add carrots to pan. Swirl them around.
Sauté for a 2 minutes. The squash should be getting nice and browned.
Add green beans and cook another 2 minutes.
Add 2 Tbsp of Smart Balance. Once that melts add broccoli, garlic and dash of salt & pepper.
Cook for a minute or less to heat broccoli through & "sweat" the garlic flavor throughout the dish but not burn.
Walla! So bright, fresh, vibrant, flavorful and still nice & crisp. Yum!