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Jack Bishop of America's Test Kitchen shares ideas for cooking under-appreciated vegetables, such as broccoli and zucchini. He recommends roasting them! The secret to roasting broccoli is to add 1/4 teaspoon of sugar. For grilling vegetables, Bishop suggests marinating them with a soy-based marinade and putting them on thin, flat metal skewers for kebabs. When cooking them with meat, cut the meat in big pieces and cut vegetables in small pieces. Jack Bishop is the Editorial Director of Cook's Illustrated and Cook's Country magazine and the author of A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen: Easy Seasonal Dishes for Family and Friends.

Roasted Broccoli with Olives, Garlic, Oregano, and Lemon
Serves 4
Trim away the outer peel from the broccoli stalk, otherwise it will turn tough when cooked.

  • 1  large head  broccoli (about 1 3/4 lbs)
  • 5  Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 5  medium garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2  Tablespoons finely minced pitted black olives
  • 1  tsp minced fresh oregano leaves 
  • 2  tsps juice from 1 lemon

1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place large rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 500°F. Cut broccoli at juncture of florets and stems; remove outer peel from stalk. Cut stalk into 2- to 3-inch lengths and each length into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Cut crowns into 4 wedges if 3-4 inches in diameter or 6 wedges if 4-5 inches in diameter. Place broccoli in large bowl; drizzle with 3 tablespoons of oil and toss well until evenly coated. Sprinkle with salt and sugar to taste and toss to combine.

2. Working quickly, remove baking sheet from oven. Carefully transfer broccoli to baking sheet and spread into even layer, placing flat sides down. Return baking sheet to oven and roast until stalks are well browned and tender and florets are lightly browned, 9 to 11 minutes.

3. While broccoli roasts, heat remaining oil, garlic, and pepper flakes in 8-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is soft and beginning to turn light golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; stir in olives, oregano, and lemon juice. Toss roasted broccoli with olive mixture and serve immediately.

Zucchini with Tomatoes and Basil
Serves 4

  • 3 medium plum tomatoes , cored, seeded, and diced
  • 1 small clove minced garlic
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil , plus additional for serving, if desired
  • Table salt
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil 
  • 5 medium zucchini (about 8 ozs each), ends trimmed
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese , for serving

1. Combine tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and chopped fresh basil leaves in small bowl and set aside.

2. Cut each zucchini crosswise into several pieces, each 2 to 3 inches long. Shred each piece on large holes of box grater, rotating as needed to avoid shredding seeds and core; you should have about 10 cups shredded zucchini. Toss zucchini with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and place in colander set in medium bowl; let drain 5 to 10 minutes. Wrap zucchini in kitchen towel, in batches if necessary, and wring out excess moisture.

3. Place zucchini in medium bowl and break up any large clumps. Drizzle 2 teaspoons oil over zucchini and toss to combine thoroughly.

4. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until faint smoke appears. Add zucchini and spread evenly in pan with tongs; cook without stirring until bottom layer browns, about 2 minutes; stir well, breaking up any clumps with tongs, then cook until "new" bottom layer browns, about 2 minutes more. Off heat, stir in tomato mixture and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to serving platter, sprinkle with 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan, and serve immediately, drizzling with additional olive oil, if desired.

Music break: Bim Bom (Psapp Remix) by Astrud Gilberto