My father is roasting a turkey in the oven and I am anticipating what we will eat with it. I want to roast the variety of vegetables on hand and since the oven is not available I decide to use my ‘big pan’ instead. It is a large 15″ cast iron skillet that I use mostly for making paella or sautéing quick cooking fish all at the same time and as I set in on the stove and cover the bottom with olive oil, I revel in what a great pan this is. It is the heaviest of cast iron and weighs ‘a ton’. Visitors to my home inevitably catch a glimpse of this giant pan hanging on my wall and will exclaim, “What a great pan!” So I am happy to have a reason to pull it down and make use of it tonight….
I chop some potatoes and a few of these amazing organically and locally grown ‘giant’ carrots just found at Whole Foods recently
and begin sautéing them while chopping some broccoli and zucchini. When the root vegetables are almost soft they are seasoned with salt and peppers (both black & a smidgen of cayenne) and it is time to add the green vegetables. However, I am remembering that my father doesn’t like broccoli. So I push the potatoes and carrots to one side of the pan and make room. The broccoli and zucchini brown quickly, and I add a sprinkle of water to keep them moist and then decide to add some spinach to the pan too. The al dente green veggies are now pushed to another section of the pan and a space is made for the spinach.
It is a beautiful sight now. All three types of veggies, root, cruciferous, and green, all cooked and coexisting in the same pan! And though distinct and separate, the impact of co-mingling is clearly experienced and the occupying of the same space at the same time is visually satisfying. I am noting that I might have thrown all the vegetables together if not for a reason to separate them. And am aware now of the value of doing so! Each wants a different cooking time, a different kind of seasoning, and a different taste, and yet they can still all share the cozy context of the big pan together. It makes for a beautiful pan of contrasts. And there is a greater range of uniqueness created at the blurred edges where two things mix and share flavors.
When it is time to eat, we dish up right out of the pan, each scooping from a different place for a different combination that serves us…
I’m happy to have found another use for the big pan. And my mind is now racing with all the possibilities, smile smile