Toss together a bowlful of summer’s bounty!
I am usually reluctant to call any recipe of mine ‘the best ever’ but after my husband raved incessantly upon tasting this creation, I’ve decided the tagline is deserved, this time. This dish was inspired by the sight of many little containers of tender young vegetables included in this month’s Farmers’ Feast Challenge basket. In case you’re not familiar with this fun and delicious project, I cook with whatever the nice people at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market decide to share with me, then I share the results and recipes with all of you! The components of this dish came from various market vendors, including The Beet Box (organic basil), Luxy Farms (organic garlic scapes), Just Farms (snap peas), Linda’s Garden (green garlic, baby potatoes), Roots ‘n Shoots (organic zucchini) and Rochon Garden (broccoli). We enjoyed this for a vegetarian lunch (and you could make it vegan by substituting oil for the butter); it would also be an excellent accompaniment to grilled meat or fish. You could switch up the combination of vegetables for whatever is fresh and in season; be sure to cut them into fairly small and uniformly sized pieces so they will cook quickly and evenly. Don’t skimp on the fried panko garnish – it really makes this bowl full of farm-fresh goodness sing.
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) sunflower, canola or olive oil
- 1 large clove green (or regular dried) garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh basil leaves, packed
- 2 cups (500 mL) tiny new potatoes, in half-inch (1.25 cm) pieces
- 2 cups (500 mL) sugar snap peas, stem ends trimmed
- 1 cup (250 mL) garlic scapes, in 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces
- 2 cups medium-sized broccoli florets
- 3 small zucchini (enough for 2 cups of quarter-inch / .65 cm slices)
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) butter (substitute with sunflower or other oil for vegan version)
- 2/3 cup (160 mL) panko (Japanese dry bread crumbs)
- cider vinegar, to finish (optional)
- Preheat barbeque to medium-high (about 375 – 400F). Put a grill pan with small holes in it on the barbeque to heat at the same time.
- While barbeque heats, use an immersion or regular blender to combine 1/2 cup (125 mL) oil with the garlic and basil. Puree until smooth.
- Put the potatoes in a medium sized bowl and drizzle about a quarter of the basil oil over them. Stir to combine.
- Pour the potatoes into the grill pan and cook, stirring every few minutes, until tender (this will take about 10 – 15 minutes depending upon your grill’s heat).
- While the potatoes are cooking, put the snap peas and cut scapes into the same bowl that previously held the potatoes and add another quarter of the basil oil; stir to combine.
- When the potatoes are tender, remove them to a clean serving boil.
- Put the snap peas and scapes into the grill pan and cook, stirring every minute or so, until just tender (about 3 – 5 minutes).
- While snap peas and scapes are cooking, put the broccoli florets in the same bowl as used previously and add another quarter of the basil oil; stir to combine well.
- Remove the tender snap peas and scapes from the grill, adding them to the potatoes in the serving bowl.
- Put the broccoli into the grill pan; cook about 5 – 7 minutes until slightly charred but still tender-crisp.
- While broccoli is cooking, put zucchini in the same bowl as previous vegetables and add remaining basil oil; stir.
- Remove just-tender broccoli to the serving bowl and put zucchini in the grill pan. Cook about 3 – 5 minutes until just tender.
- While zucchini is cooking, heat the butter or oil in a small heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the Panko and cook for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring often, until Panko is lightly browned. Remove from heat and transfer toasted Panko to a small heatproof serving dish.
- Add cooked zucchini to the serving bowl along with a few grinds of salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle half the toasted Panko over top and serve immediately, passing remaining Panko at the table. Cider vinegar can also be passed at the table, should people like their vegetables with a little bit of a tangy zip.
Serves 4 as a side dish.