Root Vegetables Unbundled

(adapted from the “Vegetable Bundles” recipe in The New Basics Cookbook)

Blanching the vegetables brightens their colors and assures that they’ll all be perfectly cooked before their last-minute visit to the sauté pan. A downside to the technique is that a significant portion of their flavor goes into the blanching water; one compensation is that the resulting vegetable broth can be used as a cooking medium in another recipe—say, for cooking giblets in the accompanying turkey recipe.

Saute Vegetables

After the blanching step, you can set the drained vegetables aside for hours; finishing them in the herb butter later.

  • 6 carrots, peeled
  • 4 parsnips, peeled
  • 2 leeks, paler parts only
  • 8 Tablespoons (4 ounces) butter
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 teaspoon tarragon leaves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram leaves, minced
  • 6 scallions, green parts only, or a bunch of chives
  • Freshly ground pepper

Trim the carrots and parsnips to a convenient uniform length, around 4 or 5 inches. Cut leeks to same length. Cut all into julienne strips.

Don'f forget the vegetable side dish

Fill a large saucepan with water. Add ½ teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Place the carrots in a small metal basket or strainer and submerge them in the boiling water for 45 seconds. Rinse under cold water and set aside to drain. Repeat with the parsnips for 30 seconds and the leeks for 10 seconds. As each vegetable comes out of the boiling water, plunge it directly into ice water, then drain. (A slotted spoon also works, if you lack the basket or strainer.) If you like, you may set the vegetables aside, in a covered container, for up to three hours at this point.

Enjoy!

When you’re almost ready to serve, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the shallots until translucent. Add the minced herbs, the scallions and the blanched vegetables, turning them very gently in the butter. When they are heated through and tender, transfer the vegetables along with their butter to a warmed serving dish. Serve immediately.

Serves 8.

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