Because the strong heat of the oven would turn most vegetables mushy and grayish, we do our quick-braising on the stovetop. And since we want bright, fresh flavor, we don’t brown or caramelize the vegetables first—we skip the sear and put them right into a small amount of cooking liquid in a covered Dutch oven or skillet. This way they cook mostly in their own juices, ensuring they taste most like themselves, with earthy, concentrated sweetness.
This technique works equally well for both delicate spring and summer vegetables like asparagus and zucchini and for sturdier winter vegetables like Brussels sprouts and cabbage.
As with other braises, the cooking liquid transforms into the serving sauce, so make sure to create a well-seasoned liquid with plenty of aromatics.