If you have ever dined with us at Coho Restaurant, then you know Chef Bill is no stranger to fresh produce. He seems to know precisely how to enhance the natural flavors of any vegetable he meets. What’s the secret? A whole lot of spice? A magic twirl of the spatula? A sprinkle of love? Nope!! Okay maybe the love part. All he uses is local vegetables, oil, salt and pepper. So how does something so perfectly palatable emerge? Because when I combine those things, nothing spectacular comes of it. But have no fear, Chef Bills vegetable tips will be your new go-to methods.
Here’s the real trick: timing. Chef Bill is a master of timing. He can have multiple burners going, something in the oven, and something on the grill all for the same plate. He has it all timed out so everything comes up at precisely the same time so everything on your plate greets you in perfect harmony. Now, I’m not saying you’ll become like Chef Bill overnight, but everyone starts somewhere! For me, even the smallest tips from Chef Bill has helped me immensely in my cooking. So, here are some tips on how to sauté your own vegetables just like Chef Bill!
Summer Squash, Mushrooms, and Onions
For veggies like summer squash, mushrooms, and onions you’ll want to sauté them on high heat to achieve a golden caramelization. The trick is to use blended oil or canola oil because olive oil and butter will burn. You want to use oils with a lower smoke point temperature. This should only take about 5 minutes depending on the thickness of your veggies. Season with salt and pepper.
Chef Bill chooses salt and pepper as his spices of choice because of their effortless ability to enhance the natural flavors of your vegetables. Another Chef Bill-ism is to toss shallots and garlic in with his vegetables. He does it in a way where it is not over powering, but again just enhances the natural flavors.
For green veggies like snap peas and wax French beans, sauté on medium heat. For these veggies, you will want to use butter. The lower heat level will prevent them from burning. You will also only want to sauté them for about 2-3 minutes. If you’d like to sauté them with shallots, start with the shallots. They will add an extra layer of natural flavor to really accentuate your green veggies. Sauté shallots until soft and translucent, then add the greens at the last minute. And of course, season with salt and pepper.
Chef Bill will also often blanch his beans for 2 minutes. Bring water to a boil in a large pot, drop your veggies in it and let cook for 2 minutes, then transfer to an ice bath to halt the cooking process.
For zucchini, cut into batons after taking the seeds out. For those like me who do not know what this means, cut your zucchini into long, rectangular shapes. Kind of like the size of french fries! Sauté on high heat with blended oil or canola oil. After about 4 minutes, add butter, shallots, and garlic for a really flavorful combination. As always, season with salt and pepper.
Your On Your Way to Chef-dom
Once you get a feel for sautéing your vegetables to perfection, you will be well on your way to creating stunning dishes like Chef Bill. You’ll see his zucchini as a complement to his Grilled Oregon Country beef tenderloin alongside his equally delicious parmesan mashed potatoes. Join us for dinner at Coho Restaurant and talk with Chef Bill yourself for more helpful tips!