Cooking’s often like life. The highs are high and moments of regret can have a sour taste. But sometimes these can be turned around. Take, for instance, the regret of getting a dozen ears of corn because they were on sale. So what if I spent less than if I’d bought six? There’s still a boat load of starchy kernels slowly decaying on the counter.
This means it’s time for a repeat post on vegetables and salad dressing. Billed as a fancy salad or condiment, veggie vinaigrette’s nothing more than a way to resurrect expiring produce (look in the bottom of your crisper lately?).
The trick is to lightly steam the veggies. Go for al dente unless you’re British (if you’re British we know you’ll boil those suckers into submission). Another trick is using enough, but not too much, dressing. I recommend ½ cup of dressing for every two quarts of veg. It may not seem like a lot at first, but once those darlings start releasing liquid it’ll be more than enough. So here goes.
Vegetable Vinaigrette (ten servings – enough for a week)
- 9 ears of corn
- 1 large cauliflower
- 1 large red onion
- 6 small assorted small bell peppers
- 2 cups small cherry (or other small) tomatoes
- ¾ cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup wine vinegar (red or white, depending on your tastes)
- 2 tbsp minced herbs (oregano, basil, dill or chive will work just fine)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Before starting make sure you have a large enough storage container, like one of those gallon tupperwares, because there’s always more of this at the end of the process than you’d imagine. Now you can start cooking.
The first step is to put a large pot of salted water on to boil.
Shuck the corn, add it to the boiling water and cover for 10 minutes. While this is going break the cauliflower into florets and set aside, rough cut the onion and pepper into bite sized pieces and set aside in their own container. Then quarter the tomatoes and put them in a separate container as well. Individual containers are important because the cauliflower and pepper/onion mix will cook at different lengths, and the tomatoes don’t get cooked at all.
When 10 minutes is up take out the corn and place it in a cold water bath to stop the cooking. Pour out all but an inch of water from the pot, insert a steamer tray, put in the cauliflower, and place it back on the stove. This should also go for another 10 minutes.
While the cauliflower’s doing its thing combine the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Don’t worry about mixing or separation. They’ll blend in on their own.
Once the cauliflower’s ready remove it to the water bath for cooling, and add the onion and bell pepper to the mix for about 5 minutes. When this is finished rinse them under cold water to cool.
Take a large mixing bowl and cut the florets into bit size pieces. Then use a sharp chef’s knife to cut the kernels from the corn cobbs. (This can be done by holding the tip of the cob, resting the butt on a cutting board, and running the knife under the kernels in a single motion. You’ll feel the resistance if you start cutting the cobb, so use this as a guide. But be careful because the knife can easily slip).
Add the separated corn and all other ingredients to the bowl. Then gently toss the mixture with your hands. Gentle is the key since too much force will break down the cauliflower.
Seal in a container and refrigerate. I’ve kept this in the fridge for up to a month. Public health professionals may think that’s a bit ambitious.