As much as I love Heston Blumenthal, he isn’t exactly a minimalist type of cook.
I suspect old Hesto would rather quit cooking all together than try making good food with just 5 ingredients.
So it may surprise you that today’s recipe was inspired by Heston.
The original recipe is for broccoli, but as I’ve learned with a bit of experimentation, it is a wonderful way to cook most other vegetables as well.
So how do you do it?
Step 1. Heat a large fry pan (preferably with a lid) on your highest heat for 3-4 minutes.
Step 2. Rinse and chop up the veg while the pan is heating.
Step 3. Add a little oil to the hot pan, drop in your veg and jam the lid on (or cover with a baking tray). Cook for 2 minutes
Step 4. Stir, add a splash more water (Heston adds butter here which can be lovely too). Cook for a further 2 minutes with the lid on. Taste veg, if it needs more time, leave it for another minute or so.
Why is it such a good method for cooking veg?
Well firstly, it’s quick because you’re using both direct heat from the pan and the steam trapped under the lid.
No waiting around for water to boil.
But the best part is that the bits of veg that are touching the pan get all lovely and charred and smoky, while the bits on top go lovely and tender and steamed.
So overall you end up with way more interesting flavours and textures than if you simply steamed or nuked the veg.
What types of veg can you use?
Broccoli was my first introduction to this method but since then I’ve had success with cauliflower, chinese broccoli, spinach, kale, and bok choy (recipe below). And I am planning to try it out on green beans, asparagus, zucchini, red capsicum (peppers), fennel, even snow peas.
The only things I’d probably avoid are root veg. Although for something like carrots, where I’m happy to eat them with a little crunch, it might just work.
And the dressing
After embracing soy sauce as my favourite secret dressing ingredient, I was only a matter of time before I branched out to miso. Such a wonderful ingredient for adding savouriness and all round deliciousness.
Here I’m using a little miso in a dressing with balsamic and olive oil. I just love how the sweetness of the balsamic and the salty miso work together. A great little dressing on cooked veg, it’s also lovely as a robust salad dressing and also works well as a sauce for chicken.
I’ve served this as a side to roast chicken. But you could also make a meal out of it but tossing in some roast nuts or a few chunks of avocado. Leftover chicken is also lovely.
Feel free to take this method and apply to other veg. I can’t wait to get some decent asparagus to try. And you must give it a go with broccoli. So good.
1 bunch bok choy
1 scant tablespoon white miso paste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1. Heat a large frying pan (preferably with a lid) on your highest heat for 3-4 minutes.
2. Rinse bok choy well and slice the stems about 1inch across.
3. Add a little oil to the hot pan, drop in your bok choy and jam the lid on (or cover with a baking tray). Cook for 2 minutes
4. Stir, add a splash more water. Cook for a further 2 minutes with the lid on. Taste veg, if it needs more time, leave it for another minute or so.
5. While the bok choy is cooking whisk together miso, balsamic, 1 tablespoon water and 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Taste and season if needed, but usually the miso is salty enough.
6. When the bok choy is done place on a serving plate and drizzle with the dressing.
video version of the recipe
And a big big THANKYOU for all the lovely birthday wishes. I had a really lovely day and am now the proud owner of the worlds best watering can.
I also really appreciated all the people who supported Stonesoup made the most of my birthday sale. THANKYOU again.
You guys are awesome!