This is a recipe I jotted down decades ago, but it somehow got lost, which isn’t what typically happens considering my extreme organizational skills. I’m not Marie Whatshername, but I do know where my recipes are and how to keep track of them. Or so I thought…
A while back I decided to make marinated vegetables as part of an hors d’oeuvres spread for family, after remembering this old recipe. It was February, and all I could find were basic vegetables – broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and red bell peppers. Everyone loved them.
It’s very easy to marinate vegetables. Use what’s in season, of course, raw or par-boiled if necessary, and then marinate them. I use a mixture of tarragon vinegar and white balsamic. Tarragon isn’t my favorite herb, but it adds a wonderful sweetness to the vegetables.
You could of course add fresh tarragon to infuse a vinegar, but my tarragon hadn’t really thrived yet.
The marinade is basically a vinaigrette, but with more oil than vinegar, because the vegetables shouldn’t be “pickled.” Plus a little sugar is added.
The veggies are great served with bread, butter, cheese, charcuterie… just about anything. And, they’re healthy!
Tarragon White Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup tarragon vinegar, strained if necessary
1/2 cup white balsamic
1 tablespoon sugar, or more if you prefer
1 teaspoon salt
4-5 cloves garlic, germ removed if necessary, smashed
Add the above ingredients to a jar with a tight lid. Shake well, then refrigerate for at least a day to let the flavors mingle.
See the tarragon in the tarragon vinegar?
The next step is to prepare the veggies. They all work, but some need to be cooked, like potatoes and beets, and some can be blanched, like asparagus and cauliflower. I prefer the carrots and cucumbers raw.
Cut lengths of vegetables like celery, red chard stems, and carrots, but think about using bell peppers in ring shapes. Then place the prepped veggies in bags and add the vinaigrette. Refrigerate.
Give them at least 24 hours to marinate. About 2 hours before you want to serve them, remove the bags from the refrigerator and let the marinade warm a bit.
Then have fun. Arrange anyway you want. You can use bowls for the baby potatoes and pickled onions (which I had prepared sous vide on a previous day), and glasses for longer vegetables like celery, cucumbers, and carrots.
I’m no stylist, but it’s hard to mess up when the vegetables are so pretty. I especially love purple cauliflower and carrot varieties.
I threw some whole grape tomatoes on the platter for some color.
But seriously, if all you have are basic vegetables, trust me, they are also delicious. You don’t have to get fancy at Sprouts, like I did!