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).
Reprinted with permission from Secrets of the Best Chefs by Adam Roberts, copyright 2012. Published by Artisan, a division of Workman Publishing. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- Yield:serves 2
- Active time: 45 minutes
- Total time:45 minutes
- 1/2 cup dandelion greens, blanched quickly in salted water, shocked in ice water, squeezed dry in a towel, and very finely chopped
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 teaspoon champagne vinegar, plus more to taste
- 2 lemons
- 1 caperberry, chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more as necessary
- Kosher salt
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- About 2 cups of florets from different members of the Brassica family, such as broccoli, cauliflower, romanesco broccoli, broccoli di rape, and broccoli di cicco
- 1/2 cup cooked bulgur wheat
- 1/4 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
In a small bowl, stir together the dandelion greens, shallot, champagne vinegar, the juice of 1 lemon, the caperberry, the olive oil, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Adjust for seasoning and consistency (it should look like a chunky pesto).
Heat a grill or a cast-iron pan on medium-high heat, add a splash of olive oil, and then add all of the Brassica with a pinch of salt. Spread out the vegetables and don’t move them until they start to color, at least 1 minute. Allow them to brown on all sides, a few minutes more, until thoroughly cooked (a knife should go through them easily), 7 to 8 minutes total. Set aside.
In a small bowl, stir the bulgur together with some of the dandelion dressing. Spoon the bulgur onto plates and top with more dressing. Squeeze the second lemon all over the hot Brassica and then spoon the vegetables on top of the bulgur. Drizzle with more dressing, sprinkle with the almonds, and serve immediately.