I can't quite place the exact moment, but sometime in the 1980's, boiling vegetables became a big no-no. It was something your grandmother did, something that leached all the nutrients out of each and every stem and floret. You just didn't do it.
But today, boiling is having its day in the sun. And for many good reasons. It's quick, inexpensive, works for most vegetables, and if done well, cooks the vegetable perfectly while still maintaining their integrity. In her beautiful book, An Everlasting Meal, Tamar Adler stands up for this simple approach to preparing vegetables, advising : "instead of trying to figure out what to do about dinner, you put a big pot of water on the stove, light the burner under it, and only when it's on its way to getting good and hot start looking for things to put in it." And last week on Gilt Taste, writer Whitney Chen advocated ditching the idea that all vegetables should be roasted; she wants you to reach for a pot of hot water instead. Both women mention a few tricks, namely not to overcook the vegetables and to dress them with something delightful. In Adler's case this is usually a few dashes of olive oil and good sea salt; Chen prefers a lemon butter glaze. With spring vegetables just turning up in the markets, we'll take them absolutely any way we can get them.
A Few of Our Favorite Boiled Vegetable Recipes:
• Boiled Vegetable Salad with Umeboshi-Scallion Dressing
• Springtime Soba with Miso Sauce
• Bacon-Wrapped Potato Bites with Spicy Sour Cream Dipping Sauce
Related: How to Boil Potatoes
(Image: Flickr member Calliope licensed for use under Creative Commons)