Piracicaba Broccoli with Crispy Lemon Crumbs

This recipe courtesy of Gail Simmons adds crunchy, lemon-tinged bread crumbs for a show-stopping finish.

Ingredients:
1 large bunch Piracicaba broccoli, ends trimmed
2 slices of white bread, torn
1 small shallot, very finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Sea salt
Lemon wedges (optional)

Prep Ahead: The lemon crumbs can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Method:
1. In a food processor, pulse the white bread until large crumbs form. In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the bread crumbs and cook them over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until golden. Remove from the heat. Stir in the crushed red pepper and lemon zest and season with salt. Transfer the crumbs to a plate to cool. Wipe out the skillet.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccolini and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain well, shaking off the excess water; pat dry.

3. In the large skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add the broccolini, season lightly with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the broccolini is lightly browned in spots, about 4 minutes.

4. Transfer the broccolini to a serving platter and sprinkle the lemony bread crumbs on top. Serve right away with lemon wedges.

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Zucchini Ribbons with Lemon & Basil

This incredibly fresh side from Alice Waters’ Art of Simple Food II is seasoned with just the right amount of fragrant basil and zesty lemon.

Ingredients:
2-3 small zucchini, ends removed
¼ bunch basil
Extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Slice the zucchini into thin strips, about 1/8 inch thick. (A mandolin makes this easier, but you can also use a vegetable peeler.)

2. Stack the basil leaves, and cut them thinly crosswise.

3. Layer the squash slices into a shallow dish. Sprinkle each layer with salt, pepper, basil, lemon juice and olive oil. Let sit for at least 10 minutes and serve.

Variations: Try grating the zucchini instead, or use other herbs, like mint, cilantro, or chervil with the basil.

How-To: Prep Fava Beans

Our quick guide to peeling and prepping fresh fava beans!

Ingredients:
1 pound fava beans

Method:
1. Peel: Pull off the top and “unzip” the seam of the bean pod. Open the pod and remove the beans. (There are usually 4 to 5 beans per pod.) The beans have a waxy outer coating, which you’ll need to remove.

2. Prep: Blanch them in boiling water for 30 seconds, and then transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. The waxy coating will slip then right off.

3. Cook: From here, steam the beans until tender in a steamer basket or covered in the microwave, 3-5 minutes.

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Grilled Radicchio with Olive Oil & Sea Salt

These radicchio wedges are wonderful served alongside a grilled entrée.

Ingredients:
1-2 heads Luisa radicchio
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Quarter the radicchio heads lengthwise, leaving the cores intact. Brush the cut sides generously with some of the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

2. Preheat grill to medium-high and oil the grill rack.

3. Place the radicchio, cut sides down, on the grill and cook, turning frequently, until browned and tender when pierced at the core with a knife, 8 to 12 minutes total. (Close the lid if using a gas grill.)

4. Transfer the radicchio to a platter and drizzle each piece with about ½ teaspoon olive oil and ½ teaspoon vinegar. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.

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