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Vegetable Delight

Posted May 28 2009 12:23am
Ok. I had great fun at the farmer's market. They had asparagus (probably my favorite vegetable of all time) and garlic sprouts (possibly my second favorite vegetable of all time). Then, just randomly, I happened by an Asian market where I picked up a huge package of burdock root.

I love burdock root, but I've never figured out how to cook it other than in kinpara (stir fried with sesame oil, soy sauce and mirin), and I wanted to make a dish that showcased the different flavors of the vegetables. I came up with the idea of par boiling all the vegetables and then cooking them in olive oil and a small amount of dairy free butter until they caramelized. All of the vegetables were a big hit, especially the burdock root and garlic sprouts. The burdock root took on a nutty flavor, almost like hazelnuts, as it caramelized. The combination worked well with the different flavors and colors, it was a feast for the eyes and the stomach.

Burdock root is one of the richest sources of inulin, a non-digestible fiber that provides food for the healthy probiotic bacteria in your digestive tract.  Increasingly, food companies are adding inulin to processed foods such as crackers, yogurt and cereals. It can be found naturally in burdock root, asparagus, artichokes, garlic and chicory.

1/2 head small cauliflower, cut into florets
2 garlic sprouts or 1 leek, sliced thinly
1 burdock root, cut on an angle or julienned
1 carrot, shaved with a carrot peeler
1/2 bunch asparagus, trimmed
Olive oil
Earth Balance or other dairy free butter substitute
Salt, pepper to taste

Bring a pot of water to boil. Par boil the cauliflower, burdock root and asparagus individually, approximately 2 minutes for the asparagus, 3-4 minutes for the cauliflower and 5 minutes for the burdock root. Add oil and butter to a large saute pan. Saute the carrots for 2 minutes and set aside. Then, saute the garlic sprouts until soft, about 4 minutes, and set aside. Saute cauliflower, asparagus and burdock root individually, turning to brown all sides. Arrange on a pretty platter and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
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