Glazing veggies essential to know

  • By Russ Parsons Los Angeles Times
  • Friday, May 10, 2013 5:46pm
  • Life

So many home cooks are obsessed with making dishes just like the professionals do.

They buy hand-forged Japanese chefs knives, seek out $50 bottles of olive oil and spend hours preparing elaborately composed dishes from “The French Laundry Cookbook” or “Eleven Madison Park.”

But a lot of them have never even heard of one of the most basic techniques of cooking, one that requires no special equipment or expensive ingredients.

In fact, you can probably do it in just a few minutes with what you have in your kitchen right now.

It’s called glazing vegetables, and it’s as fundamental to a cook’s repertoire as roasting a chicken.

In fact, it may be more so. Learn to roast a chicken and you can probably extrapolate that knowledge to, well, roasting a turkey. But glazing works for all sorts of vegetables, and particularly now, when we’re enjoying the full flush of the spring harvest, it’s something you ought to master.

Here’s how

Cut the vegetables into equal-sized pieces, so they cook at the same pace. Place them in a skillet just big enough to hold them, one that has a securely fitting lid.

Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan (roughly 1/2 cup — very dense vegetables will take a little more; soft vegetables will take a little less).

Add a little bit of fat: a thumb-sized knob of butter or a couple of glugs of olive oil. If you have seasonings that need to be cooked — minced onions, shallots or garlic — add them too.

Place the pan over medium heat, cover tightly and cook. Stir every couple of minutes, checking to see when the vegetables are becoming tender. If the water gets low too quickly, add a splash — just 2 or 3 tablespoons.

Just when a paring knife penetrates easily, remove the lid and turn the heat up to high. Cook, tossing and stirring fairly constantly, until the liquid is gone and the vegetables are shiny and just beginning to brown; it’ll take only a couple of minutes.

Add the final seasonings — a sprinkle of salt, chopped herbs or spices, and a splash of acidity from a squeeze of citrus or a spoonful of vinegar — and serve.

Seriously, that’s all there is to it.

Glazing doesn’t work with all vegetables. They need to be firm enough so they won’t fall apart during cooking.

Master this one technique and you have learned dozens of “recipes.”

Glazed vegetables

Glazing vegetables is so simple it doesn’t really require a recipe. But here are some ideas for flavor combinations that you can explore. Remember, this technique is incredibly flexible, so these are just a few of the many possibilities.

Artichokes: Glaze with olive oil and garlic; finish with lemon juice, parsley and pine nuts.

Carrots: Glaze with butter, serrano chile and shallots; finish with orange juice and mint.

Celery root: Glaze with butter and shallots; finish with lemon juice and celery leaves.

Fennel: Glaze with butter and garlic; finish with Parmigiano-Reggiano, lemon juice and fronds.

Parsnips: Glaze with butter, honey and shallots; finish with white wine vinegar and cinnamon.

Pearl onions: Glaze with rendered bacon fat and shallots; finish with crumbled bacon, red wine or balsamic vinegar, and rosemary.

Turnips and rutabagas: Glaze with butter and shallots; finish with sherry vinegar and chopped walnuts.

Zucchini: Glaze with olive oil and garlic; finish with lemon juice and basil.

More in Life

Beer and cupcakes: Snohomish brewer, baker form unlikely duo

Pacific Northwest Cupcakes uses SnoTown’s brews to make beer-infused sweet treats.

Woodward Canyon Winery continues to weave masterpieces

Owner Rick Small uses grapes from vines he used when he made wine in his back yard in the 1970s.

Snohomish brewer flavors beer with chilies from mom’s back yard

Beer of the Week: Smoked rye forms sturdy foundation for SnoTown’s well-balanced Loose Rooster.

Beer, wine, spirits: Snohomish County booze calendar

Dash to Diamond Knot: Flying Unicorn Racing is teaming up with Mukilteo’s… Continue reading

Marysville theater stages Noel Coward’s timeless ‘Blithe Spirit’

The cast and crew at the Red Curtain Arts Center do a fine job with the 1940s British play.

Stringed instruments get workout at Cascade Symphony concert

Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade for Strings” is the orchestra’s first concert of the season.

Animating Van Gogh paintings proves to be trippy yet flawed

“Loving Vincent” relates the circumstances of the great painter’s death.

Leno, Short and others reminisce about David Letterman

By Geoff Edgers / The Washington Post A few observations about David… Continue reading

Most Read