Tip: Brighten Your Braise With Baby Vegetables

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We ordered the braised beef at a neighborhood French place last night.

Check this out: the braise was served in a pasta bowl. The beef was ringed with steamed baby turnips and baby carrots with a bit of their greens on and a confetti of chopped patty pan squash.

The steamed vegetables brought bright flavor and color to the rich braise and they were fun to dip into the gravy. There were coins of slow cooked carrots in the braise. The steamed carrots were a crisp contrast.

The Manhattan Fruit Exchange is a good source for these tiny vegetables here in NYC when they can't be found at the farmer's markets.

We were not impressed with rough chopped fresh rosemary the restaurant chef tucked into the dish. The soapy flavor and tough texture was too distracting. We're not giving up on this idea completely though. In his braising book, Daniel Boulud suggests making a flavored salt with the same herbs used in the braise. Guests can then decide how to season their serving.

My dinner companion found two bay leaves in his braise and I bit down on a whole peppercorn. Another braising reminder: Keep count of how many bay leaves go into the pot and pull them all out before serving, or create a sachet for spices.

Don't forget: our Goodbye to Winter braising contest ends on Monday. You could win a Calphalon Enamel Cast Iron Round Dutch Ovens and a copy of Daniel Boulud's Braise cookbook. Good luck and happy Friday.

(Photo: In Praise of Sardines)

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