With traditional meals and family favorites on my mind it can be a real challenge to think of new ways to add variety to the menus of the season. Recently, updating my Thanksgiving Menu Planner, I felt like I was in the company of old friends. Would they graciously accept a new recipe to the fold?
I feel the need to be careful, considering whether a new addition to the menu might detract from or clash with old favorites. I don’t want a new dish upstaging recipes that have waited all year for their turn to bask in the limelight.
On the other hand, I think it is important to test the expected now and then. Traditions need some sense of challenge to stay current and remain meaningful from one year to the next.
Old Recipes – New Friends
Here is a vegetable side dish worth introducing to the family. It has enough charm to mingle well with most menus without stealing the show. This recipe is not new, in fact it was cut from a magazine many years ago and taped into my old looseleaf recipe file, yet it has the merit of being both mildly unexpected and completely delicious.
This recipe brings cauliflower to the table. Here it is paired with fresh green beans and embellished with crunchy crumbs and nuts in a browned butter sauce. It is a simple dish but delivers both a healthy medley of contrasting color and a delicious hint of rich flavor that makes it a pretty complement to the main course without weighing down the feast.
Adapted from an old magazine clipping
2 lbs cauliflower, separated into large florets
1 lb fresh green beans
¼ cup butter
1/3 cup plain dry bread crumbs
¼ cup sliced almonds
Trim and cut green beans into two inch pieces. Arrange the beans and cauliflower florets in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam 8-10 minutes or until crisp tender. Drain well and transfer to a large serving bowl.
Meanwhile, in a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Continue to heat for approximately 2 minutes or until golden brown. Add the bread crumbs and the almonds to the skillet, stirring to coat.
Continue cooking, stirring often, until the nuts are lightly browned, approximately 3-5 minutes. Pour the butter mixture over the hot vegetables and toss to coat.