Sunday, January 22, 2012

In Which I Finally Learn To Spell Broccoli

Grown-upness comes upon me in stealthy little ways. One minute I'm writing a grocery list and the next minute I realise I spelled broccoli properly without thinking or wondering or doubting or googling. Now, I have no idea if the fact that I only noticed that Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day was an entirely vegetarian cookbook after two months of owning it is another sign of me being so grown-up that I don't panic if I eat a few meat-free meals (tenuous and dubious, I know, but it's January, I'm not going to be too hard on myself). Or maybe just me being a bit dim. I was wondering if there might be something interesting that I could do with lamb chops and I was having a good look through the index at the back when I noticed that there was no lamb in there at all. And then it slowly dawned on me that there wasn't a morsel of meat or fish to be had in the whole book. Ahem. Well, we can take that as a testament to the deliciousness of the healthy recipes in it, can't we?! That is definitely the conclusion we all should be drawing from that. Since I didn't find any lamb recipes in there, I figured that I would just keep it simple with my lamb chops and serve them up alongside a tasty salad. This Broccoli Gribbiche is an excellent example of why I never noticed the absence of meat from this cookbook: it's a delicious, substantial, filling and satisfying dish that will work equally well as a meal in its own right or a side dish to substantiate your particular choice of animal protein. From what I can tell, the book hasn't been published here yet, as you can't buy it from any European websites. I picked it up in New York, but if you're not looking to add to your cookbook collection you can get a taste of Heidi on her website 101 Cookbooks

I am going to dispense with quantities for the main body of the salad. Make it as big or small as you want and need - but be warned that it is so very hard not to go back for second and third helpings that you may be sorry if you don't make a nice big batch of it. Begin by roasting some baby potatoes - drizzled liberally with olive oil, sprinkled generously with salt -  in the oven, preheated to 205C. I parboiled mine, but only for about ten minutes. They need roughly half an hour in the oven overall, but you'll easily be able to gauge how they are doing by looking at them.

The broccoli needs about 15 minutes, and I didn't bother blanching it as I think that it gets plenty of cooking in the oven - it's really a matter of personal preference. It is a shame to miss out on the lovely crunch of broccoli though, which I think is what happens if you blanch it first. I just shimmied it on in there with the potatoes towards the end of their cooking time, again with plenty of salt and olive oil. 

The utterly eggy dressing is the real gem in this salad. You will need 4 hardboiled eggs. Take the yolk of one and give it a good mash in a bowl.

Whisk in 120ml olive oil, until you have a nice smooth liquid, and then add 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard. 

Stir in 1 tablespoon of chopped capers, 2 chopped shallots, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon, 1 tablespoon chopped chives and a quarter teaspoon of salt.

Give the rest of the eggs, as well as the white from the first one, a rough chop and mix them all in to the rest of the dressing.

Add to the roast veggies, making sure to stir it through nice and thoroughly so that the broccoli and potatoes are well coated with the dressing. 

I had marinated the chops in rosemary, garlic and olive oil... all they needed was a speedy spell on the pan. 

A winning combo that I'll be treating myself to again and again. Sometimes you can get your brain in a knot trying to find something fancy to do with a piece of meat, but when it's top quality I reckon the best bet is to keep it simple and flex your adventure muscles in the direction of the accompaniments instead. The salad was most delicious when the roast spuds and brocc were still warm from the oven, though the leftovers were still extremely tasty the next day. 

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