Saturday, December 1, 2007

What to do with left over vege trays?

We hosted a wedding shower a week ago. Lots of food, including the mandatory vegetable tray (lots of cut up raw vegetables with a dipping sauce of some kind). There are always left over vegetables, and even the rabbits get sick of them after a while, it seems.

So, what to do?

They are not cut conveniently for cooking - they won't all cook at the same rate. However with a little ingenuity, something tasty can be done

1 T vegetable oil
3 Oz salt pork/pancetta/guanciale/bacon chopped into small pieces
1 Medium onion peeled and cut into wedges (do not mince finely)
8 Small red potatoes cut into equal sized pieces
1 Sprig of rosemary
The vegetable assortment - long strips broken in half
Put the baby carrots with the potatoes and onions
Other vegetables in a heap together
1 Can Italian tomatoes - flesh only, no juice
Some tarragon leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet heat the oil and add the pork product. Cook gently until the fat has rendered and the meat is a bit crispy - about 5-7 minutes.
Add the potatoes, carrots and onions and fry over medium high heat getting some brown coloring on the potatoes. You will need to stir to prevent sticking, but move the contents around as little as possible.

Leaving the heat on medium high and add all the rest of the vegetables (except the tomatoes). Now you do want to keep the vegetables moving so they pick up the flavors in the pan. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Now add the tomatoes and tarragon. Break the tomatoes up with a spatula, bring almost to a boil, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes. The potatoes should just about be cooked. Leave the dish uncovered, and evaporate some of the liquid - the dish should be almost dry. This will finish the cooking of the potatoes. Season as necessary with salt and pepper - remembering what the FDA has just started telling us about salt!

Serve as a side dish - we did it with some grilled strip steaks that our neighborhood grocery store had reduced to $4.99/lb. So we weren't expecting magic, but they came up pretty tasty!

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