Monday, June 20, 2011

The Dynamic Side Dish Duo: Garlicky Red Potatoes + Italian Roasted Broccoli

Let's talk side dishes...i.e., the supporting players of your meal. They’re not the main event, so they're sort of easy to overlook. However, that’s a big mistake...because they’re vital to the overall success of your  meal, much like an ensemble cast in a movie or play. The supporting cast is there to make the star of the show look good...but they can make or break the outcome of any production, be it onstage or on a plate! I’m going to share two simple side dishes with you that will make any meal that much better. Both feature recipe makes simple red potatoes jump off the plate, and the other will make you actually WANT to eat your broccoli...promise!

I created delicious Garlicky Red Potatoes after Salt Works Gourmet Sea Salts recently sent me several sample packets of their delicious products to try out. Included in my package were several flavored salts from their Fusion line. I was very impressed with the quality of all their products, but the Roasted Garlic Sea Salt flavor really caught my attention. It packs much more garlic flavor than the typical garlic salts I've tried, and it was a more mellow flavor since the garlic was roasted. My potatoes have an amazing garlic flavor thanks to a two-pronged flavor approach of fresh garlic and this amazing flavored salt! Click on the links above to check out Salt Works and all of the amazing gourmet salt products they offer. 

The Italian Roasted Broccoli recipe is my slight tweak on Ina Garten's AMAZING Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli. This broccoli is light years beyond boring steamed broccoli -- it's full of Italian-inspired flavors, and roasting brings a slightly sweet taste to broccoli. As soon as I saw the recipe, I knew that I had to make it eventually. I just needed to find the right occasion since Michael never met a broccoli floret he liked. Even if you think you hate broccoli, you’ll love this dish: it’s full of interesting flavors and textures! 

This dynamic duo of tasty side dishes definitely deserves their moment in the spotlight! So, without further ado...

Garlicky Red Potatoes
a Weekend Gourmet Original Recipe

Step 1:  Heat 2 tbs. olive oil in a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat. While the oil is heating, combine the following ingredients in a mixing bowl: 1 lb. diced red potatoes (skin on), 1-2 tbs. chopped flat-leaf parsley, 1 tbs. garlic salt, 2-3 grated or finely chopped garlic cloves, 1 tbs. olive oil, and salt & pepper to taste. 

Step 2:  Toss well to combine all the ingredients,and add the potatoes to the heated skillet. Raise the temperature to med-high and cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes.

At that point, lower the temperature to medium-low, cover, and let the potatoes steam for about 5 minutes. Uncover, add 1 additional tbs. olive oil, and increase the temperature back to med-high. Cook about 5 minutes longer, until the potatoes are golden brown.

Step 3:  To serve, place the potatoes in a serving bowl. Add more salt & pepper if necessary and sprinkle a bit of parmesan cheese on top. 

Italian Roasted Broccoli
adapted from Barefoot Contessa, Back to Basics

Step 1:  Preheat oven to 400. Line a large baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat. Cut one bunch of broccoli into florets and spread evenly in one layer on the baking sheet. I left a bit of the stem -- maybe 1/2 inch.  Top with three thinly sliced garlic cloves and about 3 tbs. olive oil...sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste, and give it a toss with your hands to make sure all the broccoli has a light coating of oil and seasoning.

Step 2:  Roast the broccoli for about 20-25 minutes. While the broccoli is cooking, combine the following ingredients in a small bowl: the zest of one lemon, 1/3 cup grated parmesan reggiano, 1 tbs. julienne fresh basil, and 2 tbs. toasted pine nuts. Toss to combine and set aside.

Step 3:  When the broccoli is done, remove from the oven. You'll know it's ready when it's slightly browned on the edges. Place the broccoli in a serving bowl. Add 1 tbs. olive oil, the juice of one lemon, and the reserved mixture in the bowl. Toss to combine and add more salt & pepper if needed.

Boy, is this broccoli ever delicious! The lemon and zest gives it a bright flavor, and the basil/parm/pine nuts give it a fresh and nutty flavor. This broccoli is good warm or at room temperature, so it's great for entertaining. You can make it ahead and let it hang out until it's time for the meal to be served. This dish will make even the most avowed broccoli hater come around. 

These two side dishes would be a great one-two punch with simple grilled meats for a lovely summer dinner, but I didn’t actually serve these dishes at the same meal. I served the potatoes as part of a recent breakfast-for-dinner weeknight meal, and the roasted broccoli was one of the sides for my Foodbuzz/Electrolux dinner party last weekend.

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