The key to cooking vegetables quickly is all in the cut. Bite-sized pieces, about 1/4- to 1/2-inch, par-cook perfectly in three minutes or less, leaving ample time to finish the cooking process in a hot pan with a splash of olive oil to caramelize. If steaming is more your speed, vegetables cut into bite-sized pieces will offer more surface area for steam to penetrate, with perfectly steamed veggies in five to seven minutes.
As soon as vegetables are cut, however, they begin to lose their nutritional value. To retain the maximum flavor and nutrients, cut vegetables just before cooking.
Garnish vegetables with toasted nuts, crumbled blue cheese, fresh herbs, coarse salt and fresh unsalted butter, or with rendered bacon or pancetta and citrus, as shown in the picture, making the effortless side dish seem extra special.
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