Friday, January 4, 2013

Vegetables the Roman Way

The Romans have a way with vegetables that always seems to elevate them to a higher plateau. For example, simple peas are combined with a bit of prosciutto and onions to punch up their appeal. Adding a few ingredients can highlight your vegetables and greatly promote their flavor.

Its important that the vegetables are fresh and not over cooked – after that, your imagination is the only limit. Think about color, texture and flavor. Bland textures can be improved by toasted bread crust crumbs, nuts; bland flavors can be enhanced with garlic, onions, smoked meats, bacon, salt-pork, vivacious cheese like parmesan or pecorino, salty cheeses, herbs, lemon, balsamic or mint. Many of the better dishes have at least three ingredients like any of the following:

Artichokes, garlic, olive oil, anchovies
Roasted peppers, balsamic, onions
Tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil, olive oil
Spinach, toasted pinenuts, eggs
Rice, parsley, garlic, olive oil
Cauliflower, mint, toasted bread crumbs
Cannellini beans, basil, red onions, fava beans, peas
Steamed carrots, garlic, basil, oregano
Roasted red pepper, leeks, porcini mushrooms
Tomato, chunks of crusty bread, olive oil, vinegar, herbs
Sausage, salami, clams, scampi, sardines, lobster, crab

There is no end to the combinations – let yourself try whatever appeals to you!

I will try
Garlic, olive oil, wilted spinach, steamed Yukon Gold potatoes, vinegar, and herbs.

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