My decision about which green vegetables to serve with holiday dinners revolves around what, if anything, is ready for harvest in my home garden. Normally, my fall garden is not quite up to full speed by Thanksgiving day, so I serve my own lightened up, from-scratch version of traditional green bean casserole using beans sourced from a local market. This year, however, my beautiful broccoli plants have already begun putting out florets, so I will be serving them as past of our Thanksgiving dinner.
Generally, I prefer to minimize last-minute cooking tasks and frazzle associated with holiday (or dinner party) meals by serving vegetable dishes that can be made ahead and then simply reheated just prior to serving, as in this recipe. This very simple side dish combines fresh broccoli spears with sauteed mushrooms and shallots flavored with a splash of balsamic vinegar. Although a combination of shiitake and cremini (portobello) mushrooms is used here, virtually any mushrooms would work well for this recipe. Wild fall mushroom would be ideal.
1 1/2 pounds whole broccoli heads, with stems attached
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 shallots, peeled and cut into wedges
1 small garlic clove, peeled
4 ounces small, fresh shiitake mushrooms
8 ounces small, fresh cremini (portobello, baby bella) mushrooms
2-3 teaspoons good quality balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
- Select a rectangular glass or ceramic serving dish that is oven and/or microwave proof. Set aside.
- Trim and peel the stems of the broccoli heads, if needed, so that their overall length is shorter than the width of your serving dish. Slice the broccoli heads along their length into spears, as shown in the photos above. Steam the broccoli spears until just tender but still bright green. Drain well.
- Put the cooked broccoli spears in the prepared baking dish, as shown in the photo above, in alternating rows so that the florets are positioned along the long side of the serving dish.
- In a large frying pan, sauté the shallots and garlic clove in one tablespoon oil on medium heat for two minutes. Remove the garlic clove and continue to sauté the shallots until lightly browned. Scatter them on top of the broccoli as shown in the photo above. Add one more tablespoon oil to the same frying pan and sauté the mushrooms, stirring often, until browned. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Scatter the mushrooms on top of the broccoli and shallots. Cover the dish and set it aside.
- Just before serving, briefly reheat the dish in the oven or microwave until warm. Serves 4 – 6.