So we are done with the soup and popover course, on to the main meal! Let’s start with the veggie platter – three veg with three different compound butters:
- Green Beans with Orange Butter
- Cauliflower with Caper Butter
- Carrots with Dill Butter
As in the prior course, most of this is do-ahead with just a few minutes of activity before service. I took care of most of this Saturday afternoon at the same time the soup and popover batter were getting themselves together.
Big big ol’ pot of salty salty water on the stove to boil. Butter out of the fridge to soften. Veggies washed. Now let’s get it on with the knife. Beans trimmed, cauliflower broken down, carrots sliced on the bias. Dill chopped fine, orange zested. Once the water is at a good rolling boil, we are ready. But stop here and think for a second. Let’s cook them in order of hue so we don’t end up staining the cauliflower. So the lightest first – cauliflower in for just a bit (I like a little suggestion of crunch left in there), then evacuate to an ice water bath. And don’t let them hang out in the ice water too long, just enough to cool down, then drain and pat dry with a paper towel. Carrots next, same gig. Finally green beans. Into separate ziplocs and into the fridge.
Butters. Three kinds. Now that’s what I’m talking about. Split the softened butter up three ways. Dill, salt, pepper, mix. Next bowl it’s capers, salt, pepper, mix. And last bowl, orange zest, salt pepper, mix. And that’s it for tonight.
For service, let’s think about delegating this one. We’ve got a roast to carve, a sauce to finish and who knows what all will go sideways. So we are giving this one away. Here, the Mrs. was kind enough to step in and push the veg platter across the goal line. First, she pops the butters into the micro for just a bit to loosen them up. Then each ziploc veg bag takes a turn in the micro for one or two minutes each (play it by ear, we want steaming hot but not really cooking any further). Then dill butter into the carrot bag, caper butter into the cauliflower bag, and orange butter into the bean bag. Shake up, and then turn onto the platter. Sweet.
Who doesn’t like a butter three-way. Plus it’s mostly a do-ahead. And service is delegable.
For the cauliflower, I should have chopped up the capers rather than mixing them into the butter whole. Caper-adherence to the cauliflower could have been better, and it was kind of hit-or-miss whether you got a nice caper tone with each bite.
Don’t be down on the microwave in all circumstances. It can work well if properly deployed, particularly here. The traditional method to re-heat the veg would have been a quick dip in boiling water. But then you have wet vegetables, which the butter won’t coat as well. And you need to give up a burner on the stove. So once in a while, embrace the nuke.