Saturday, March 25, 2017

Old Bay and Melted Cheese Transforms Medley of Vegetables

In my early twenties, I worked in a restaurant owned by an energetic man named Harvey Shugarman. This gluten-free dish—gluten-free hadn’t come into vogue yet—known as the Vegetarian Delight, was among the most popular on the menu with the getting-ready-to-fit-in-the-summer-wardrobe crowd.

I love its versatility; just about any vegetable works. If you don’t have one of the vegetables called for in this recipe, be creative and design your own combination of vegetables. Offer slices of authentic French, Italian or Ciabatta bread with olive oil for dipping or offer breadsticks to the getting-ready-to-fit-in-the-summer-wardrobe crowd as was customary at Harvey’s restaurant.

Hardier vegetables require longer cooking times than the more delicate vegetables. You don’t want mushy vegetables, so it’s important to cook the vegetables until just fork-tender. The amount of Old Bay seasoning is a matter of preference. I tend to be heavy-handed because the seasoning is what brings all the flavors together. I prefer a variety of cheeses, and, like the versatility of the vegetables, just about any flavorful good-melting cheese works.

6 servings

2 cups julienned carrots
2 cups bite-sized cauliflower florets
2 cups bite-sized broccoli florets
1½ cups quartered sliced zucchini, ½-inch thick pieces
2 cups yellow squash, ½-inch slices
2 cups sliced celery, ¼-inch slices
1 large onion cut into chunks
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded cheese like mozzarella, Monterey Jack or sharp white cheddar

1.     Set oven temperature to broil.
2.     In a large pot with a steamer, bring water to a boil. Steam the carrots, cauliflower and broccoli until not yet fork-tender. Keep these vegetables in the steamer and add the zucchini, yellow squash, celery and onion. Cook until just fork-tender.
3.     Carefully transfer the vegetables to a baking dish and gently toss them to evenly distribute. Season the vegetables with Old Bay seasoning. Top the vegetables with Parmesan and shredded cheeses.
4.     Place baking dish under broiler and broil until cheese melts and turns a light golden brown. Serve immediately.