Daniel Patterson's Grilled Brassica with Dandelion-Green Vinaigrette

[Photograph: Johnny Miller]

Broccoli and cauliflower are staple vegetables in my kitchen, so I assumed I'd eaten these brassica in just about every way possible. But Daniel Patterson's recipe for Grilled Brassica with Dandelion-Green Vinaigrette in Adam Roberts' Secrets of the Best Chefs proved me wrong. Patterson grills an assortment of brassica—including vibrant romanesco and leafy rape and cicco—until well-charred and tender. He plates the vegetables with plump bulgar wheat, a squeeze of lemon, and (best of all) a verdant, bitter dandelion vinaigrette.

Why I picked this recipe: As Roberts hints, "brassica" is both fun to say and fun to eat.

What worked: The combination of bitter greens, caramelized brassica, and wheaty bulgar was pretty stellar. The ample lemon juice helped to keep the dish from tasting muddy.

What didn't: My veg needed a little more time over gentler heat to cook all the way through. Next time, I'd be sure to cut them smaller in order to cook through before charring too far.

Suggested tweaks: You could substitute any assertive green for the dandelions in the vinaigrette if needed. Pine nuts would also make a nice swap for the almonds. In addition, any small grain or pasta would also work in place of the bulgar (for a gluten-free version, quinoa would work especially well).

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Secrets of the Best Chefs to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer out of Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, Berkeleyside NOSH, and blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.

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