A root-to-leaf guide to vegetable butchery, with 150 recipes. Winner, IACP Cookbook Awards for Single Subject and People's Choice.
Applying the skills of butchery to the unique anatomy of vegetables—leafy, lumpy, stalky, gnarly, thin-skinned, or softly yielding—Cara Mangini shows, slice by slice, how to break down more than 100 vegetables for their very best use in the kitchen. Here's how to peel a tomato, butcher a butternut squash, cut cauliflower steaks, and chiffonade kale. How to find the tender, meaty heart of an artichoke and transform satellite-shaped kohlrabi into paper-thin rounds, to be served as a refreshing carpaccio.
And then, more than 150 recipes that will forever change the dutiful notion of "eat your veggies"—Grilled Asparagus, Taleggio, and Fried Egg Panini in the spring; summery Zucchini, Sweet Corn, and Basil Penne with Pine Nuts and Mozzarella; and Parsnip-Ginger Layer Cake with Browned Buttercream Frosting to sweeten a winter meal. Plus everything else you need to know to enjoy modern, sexy, and extraordinarily delicious vegetables—and make the the center of the meal.
Mangini, a professional chef with a penchant for vegetables, spent time in restaurants around the country before settling in Columbus, Ohio, to open her own produce stand. In some ways this gig is similar to her previous job as a vegetable butcher at N.Y.C.'s Eataly, where she often showed foodies how to select, clean, and prepare all manner of vegetables. Here, she generously shares that knowledge in book form, giving readers the rundown on more than 50 of the most common vegetables. The book is loaded with photos and is smartly designed. Readers will come away with plenty of new techniques and tips for breaking down artichokes, conquering the fear of prepping nettles (gloves, tongs, and kitchen shears are a must) in order to prepare nettle pesto and ricotta crostini, and prepping beets without looking like you've committed murder (gloves are recommended again, along with an apron). Recipes for each vegetable open with the standards guacamole, tomato sauce, saut ed kale and mustard greens, roasted Brussels sprouts, and so on but there are inventive riffs as well: mashed maple rutabagas; escarole and mushroom rice bundles with lemon and browned Parmesan and jicama; and grapefruit salad with sweet soy dressing. Readers well-versed in vegetables and their various qualities may find the book a bit of a letdown (there are few revelations), but those faced with a bounty of eggplant or searching for a reference will find plenty of useful information.