BOILED Vegetables and Lunch at Claudia’s

With Claudia Roden, we expressed our happiness that boiling vegetables has at last become the IN thing to do!

Up until recently our book editors had stricken out of our recipes the mere mention of boiling any vegetables or greens, replacing it by ‘blanching’ or ‘steaming…’


“Today we are starting with a very controversial statement — I boil my vegetables,” writes José in his always exciting Newsletter Longer Tables with José Andrés. “You may not believe me, but it’s true! I would not lie about something important like this,” he continues. “I was shocked when I came to America and saw many restaurants and people, and even cookbooks, roasting the whole carrots and roasting whole beets and roasting all their tubers, including potatoes. I will not lie to you that more than once I told my friends: Are you crazy? Roasting carrots?” he writes.

Last week, after the end of the fascinating Symposium in Oxford I had the privilege to be invited for lunch by the symposium’s president, the unsurpassed food writer and researcher Claudia Roden –a friend since the early ‘90s.


It was a hot, humid day in London, and along with the brilliant Alicia Rios we sat at Claudia’s inspiring kitchen and enjoyed a lovely salad of boiled beets, asparagus, carrots, and zucchini, topped with fresh pea shoots, and accompanied by thick yogurt, before the main course of a fragrant bulgur pilaf with chickpeas, tomatoes, and eggplants that she has described in her fabulous book MED.


Of course, we aptly commented on the fact that boiled vegetables have now become the IN thing! Up until very recently our book editors had stricken out of our recipes any mention of boiled vegetable or green, replacing it by ‘blanched’ or ‘steamed.’  



“Boiling is something I saw my mother doing often when I was growing up,” writes José. “Green beans and potatoes will go into a pot. Some salt will be added, and love, yes, too. […] She would add olive oil, some pimentón, the beautiful deep red paprika from Spain that is lightly smoked, and some salt and a drizzle of sherry vinegar,” and he proceeds posting the recipe.


My mother taught me to do exactly that as well, the basic difference being that instead of vinegar, along the fruity olive oil, we drizzled the boiled vegetables with fresh lemon juice –see Lemon is a Greek perversion— and of course we had no pimentón…


We discard nothing in our part of the world, and we have learned that for example the root-ends of spinach are delicious when fresh, especially from our or some local garden, so we carefully wash them, and boil them for a few minutes longer than we boil the large fleshy spinach leaves. Baby spinach is not what you need for this delicious salad. 


RECIPE/Description: My Boiled Mixed Vegetables

Tahini Yogurt Sauce, the same that flavors the Roasted Squash and Bread Salad.









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