Milk Vegetables—Quiet Food in a Spicy World

When I was a Senior in High School, I was on my own a few nights a week. My mom had a full-time job and was working on her MBA in the evenings, my dad, stepmom and brother lived in Tennessee where my dad had landed for a job and my sister, who had graduated high school, was a nanny in Connecticut (for a short while until she spied what was waiting a train ride away in Manhattan).

I loved it—having the house to myself and preparing my own dinner made me feel capable and mature. Most nights I made a baked chicken breast (bone-in, skin on), a baked potato and a green salad. A snap. Season the chicken skin with salt and pepper, wash and prick the potato and bake both in a 375 oven. Tear the lettuce, drizzle with oil, split the potato, mash with butter, squeeze lemon juice over the crispy chicken skin and salad and salt and pepper the whole shooting match. Best dinner. Easy clean-up.

I can't tell you the last time I made something that simple. Spicy and assertive flavors rule the roost these days and even though I dig it, I worry that my palate may be in overdrive. I want extra garlic on pizza, hot sauce on popcorn and some form of chimichurri/pickle/salsa/vinaigrette on everything else.

So I really appreciate a dish like this, one I tested for a Food52 contest, that celebrates a few simple ingredients and highlights three of my favorites: butter, salt and pepper. Hard to beat. On a potato, on pasta, on rice, on steamed vegetables, on toast (try it). Just the right combination of a little sweet, a little bitter and a little heat.

You braise the vegetables in the milk, remove, and reduce down to a lovely milk gravy that's infused with the flavor of the vegetables. Uncomplicated and delicious.

Milk-Braised Vegetables
Recipe by Jennifer Perillo
Get it at Food52

Is she ever going to cook meat again?


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