Testing vegetable recipes from new ‘Brassicas’ cookbook

05/13/2014 12:00 AM

05/13/2014 2:57 PM

On Saturdays when I open a boxful of fresh, local produce from my CSA, there is at least one vegetable I don’t recognize. Even after learning a vegetable’s name, what to do with it?

Lots, according to Brassicas: Cooking the World’s Healthiest Vegetables, a new cookbook from Laura B. Russell.

• Sautéed Spring Turnips with Their Greens required a couple of ingredients I had never cooked with: cider vinegar and Black Forest ham. I had the white turnips the recipe called for but not their greens, so I used kale, grateful that Russell listed it as a substitute.

On my stove, sautéing on medium-high caused too much splatter, so I turned down the heat a little. The recipe didn’t say for how long the turnips and greens would keep, but I made them a day ahead and re-heated them on the stove, and they were lovely.

• Romanesco Summer Salad had me somewhat skeptical about eating cauliflower cold. (Russell acknowledges the veggie gets a bad rap: “Poor cauliflower, so underrated, so underappreciated,” she writes.)

To soften the Romanesco florets, the recipe says to cook them for two to three minutes in boiling water, which I found was just enough. Mixed with bell pepper, sliced onion, dill and capers, cool cauliflower made a refreshing salad.

The vinaigrette, however, really got the salad to sing. It also gave good use to a forgotten jar of whole-grain Dijon (mustard doesn’t get old, right?) in my fridge. I should have made double.

By the Book checks out recipes from new cookbooks. Patricia Mazzei is a Miami Herald staff writer.

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