Spring Bollito Misto with Olive Oil
Source: Deborah Madison, cookbook author
Bollito Misto of Vegetables: Bollito misto refers to an Italian way of cooking meats, but it’s a great concept for vegetables, too. While “boiled mixed vegetables” could sound a bit depressing, a panoply of produce in its season is forever beautiful, its perfume sweet and clean. Plus, this is the least taxing and most delightful dish to make. Serve it simply with good olive oil and fresh herbs, a more elaborate salsa verde, or an herb butter. Depending on the sauce, the dish is vegan. Plan on ¾ pound of vegetables per person. Leftovers can be turned into a salad or joined with their broth to make a soup. You needn’t have a lot of different vegetables-even a few are sufficient, and it can be a little of this or a lot of that.
Serving size dependent on quantity of vegetables
Several slivered garlic cloves
A few scallions or onion, sliced
1 teaspoon peppercorns
several parsley and thyme sprigs
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons sea salt
New potatoes with rose or yellow flesh, such as Huckleberry or Yellow Finn, scrubbed and sliced about ⅜ inch thick.
Small market carrots, scrubbed and halved lengthwise
Fennel bulbs, trimmed and quartered, joined at the base
Leeks, halved lengthwise but joined at the root, washed well
French breakfast radishes, scrubbed, with a few leaves left behind
Asparagus spears, woody sections removed
Shucked and peeled english peas and fava beans
Your favorite extra virgin olive oil
Malden sea salt or fleur de sel
Freshly ground pepper
Chopped fresh herbs in season
- Simmer 2-3 quarts of water in 2 wide skillets, each with a flotilla of sliced garlic, scallions or sliced onions, peppercorns, parsley and thyme sprigs, a teaspoon of olive oil, and a teaspoon of sea salt.
- Use one pan for difficult vegetables, such as those that bleed (radishes) or aromatic cruciferous vegetables (radishes, again and turnips). Use the other pan for more neutral vegetables. Start with the longer-cooking vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots, then add the quicker-cooking ones as you go along. Don’t worry about each vegetable being perfectly perfect. You can always remove them individually as they finish cooking.
- When the vegetables are done arrange them on a platter. Pour over a little of the broth from the pan in which the potatoes cooked. Spoon your best olive oil over all, and season with the sea salt, pepper, and chopped herbs.