Three Plant-Focused Recipes From The 'Vegetable Whisperer' | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

Three Plant-Focused Recipes From The 'Vegetable Whisperer'

The earth provides, Joshua McFadden transforms.

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Joshua McFadden knows his way around a vegetable garden. After years of working in restaurants around New York City (Lupa, Momofuku, and Blue Hill), and building a reputation as a chef to keep an eye on, he moved to Maine to manage the Four Season Farm. There, he learned to speak the language of vegetables or as he puts it, "developed an appreciation for every part of the plant and learned to coax the best from vegetables at each stage of their lives." With culinary and farming experience under his belt, McFadden published his debut cookbook "Six Seasons: A New Way With Vegetables" (Artisan Books) in 2017. The book, chock-full of 225 vegetable-focused recipes, earned him a James Beard award. Here, he shares three veggie recipes from his acclaimed collection. Bon Appetit!

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Spaghetti with Swiss Chard, Pine Nuts, Raisins, and Chiles

Serves 3 to 4

Spaghetti with Swiss Chard, Pine Nuts, Raisins, and Chiles

Spaghetti with Swiss Chard, Pine Nuts, Raisins, and Chiles (Excerpted from Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2017. Photographs by Laura Dart and A.J. Meeker.)

All these ingredients come together to create a simple, sweet, salty, spicy, earthy pasta that is dead simple to make. Leftovers make a great frittata: Warm them in an ovenproof skillet, add some cheese, pour in beaten eggs, and bake. The bits of pasta that stick out will get crunchy in the oven.

Ingredients

1/2 cup raisins

Red wine vinegar

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces spaghetti, tagliatelle, or angel hair

Extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/2 cup pine nuts

1/2 teaspoon dried chile flakes

1 bunch Swiss chard, dried ends trimmed, stems thinly sliced, leaves torn into strips

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for grating

Recipe Steps

Combine the raisins, a splash of vinegar, and warm water just to cover in a bowl and plump for 20 minutes. Drain.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt until it tastes like the sea. Add the spaghetti and cook according to the package directions. Start tasting a minute or so ahead of time so you don’t overcook it. With a ladle or a measuring cup, scoop out about 1/2 cup of the cooking water, and drain the pasta well.

Meanwhile, pour a healthy glug of olive oil into a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and pine nuts and let them toast very slowly until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the chile flakes and cook for another 10 seconds so they can bloom, then add the drained raisins.

Increase the heat to medium, add the chard stems, season with a bit of salt and black pepper, and cook slowly until the stems are slightly tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the torn chard leaves and a splash of water (use the pasta water, if the timing works), cover the pan, and cook until the leaves are wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the drained pasta and the butter to the chard and toss well. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt, black pepper, or chile flakes. Grate a bit of Parmigiano over everything, drizzle with more olive oil, and pile into bowls. Serve with more grated cheese.


Excerpted from Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2017. Photographs by Laura Dart and A.J. Meeker.

Click for more recipes from Joshua McFadden.

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Cabbage and Mushroom Hand Pies

Makes 8 hand pies

Cabbage and Mushroom Hand Pies

Cabbage and Mushroom Hand Pies (Excerpted from Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2017. Photographs by Laura Dart and A.J. Meeker.)

If serving fewer than eight people, freeze the extras: assemble the pies, chill well, and then slide—unbaked—into a freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 month. Bake the frozen pies, without thawing them, in a 350°F oven for 1 hour.

Ingredients

Extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large leek, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch-thick half-moons, cleaned well (about 2 cups)

4 cups lightly packed finely shredded savoy cabbage (from a 1/2-pound chunk of cabbage)

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1/2 lemon

Hot sauce

Very Flaky Pastry Dough (click for recipe)

All-purpose flour, for dusting

Recipe Steps

Heat a glug of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until very soft and fragrant, about 8 minutes.

Scoop the mushrooms out into a bowl. Add another 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet, add the leeks, season lightly with salt and pepper, and reduce the heat so that the leeks cook slowly. (If the leeks seem dry, you can cover the pan to capture the steam, which will help them soften up; add a spoonful of water if you need even more moisture.) Cook until they are fairly soft and fragrant, but not at all browned, about 3 minutes.

Add the cabbage to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, and pour in 1/4 cup water. Cover the skillet and cook over medium heat until the cabbage has wilted, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook the cabbage, tossing frequently, until it’s very tender and starting to turn golden, another 8 minutes or so.

Add the vinegar, Worcestershire, mustard, Parmigiano, a big squeeze of lemon juice, and a shake of hot sauce and toss to combine. Taste and adjust the salt, pepper, hot sauce, or lemon juice until the mixture is highly savory and delicious. Let the filling cool completely, preferably in the refrigerator (you can’t assemble the pies if the filling is warm).

To assemble the hand pies, divide the dough into 8 pieces. Gently shape each piece into a round and flatten the round by pressing with your fingertips until you have a disk that’s about 3 inches across. If the dough is sticking as you’re doing this, dust it or your hands with flour.

Lightly flour the work surface and roll the disk into a round about 7 inches in diameter; it’s okay if it isn’t perfectly round. Scoop out one-eighth of the filling and pile it onto the lower half of the dough round, leaving a 1-inch border all around.

Brush the border lightly with water using a pastry brush or your fingertips. Fold over the top half of the dough round, tucking it nicely around the filling, then press gently to seal the two layers of dough. Starting on one end, fold the edge over in small pleats, pressing firmly to seal.

Work your way around the edge until the pie is fully sealed. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling. Alternatively, crimp by pressing the edges with a fork. (If your kitchen is warm, pop the finished pies in the refrigerator as you work on the rest.) Chill for at least 30 minutes.

When ready to bake, heat the oven to 375°F.

Cut three decorative slits into the top of each pie and arrange the pies on a heavy baking sheet. Bake until the pastry is an even, rich light brown (be sure to check the underside of the pies), 30 to 40 minutes. Some juices from the filling may bubble through the seams or slits; that’s fine.

Let the pies cool on a rack and serve warm.

You can bake ahead, cool, and then reheat for 10 minutes or so in a 375°F oven.


Excerpted from Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2017. Photographs by Laura Dart and A.J. Meeker.

Click for more recipes from Joshua McFadden.

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Burnt Carrots with Honey, Black Pepper, Butter, and Almonds

Serves 4

Burnt Carrots with Honey, Black Pepper, Butter, and Almonds

Burnt Carrots with Honey, Black Pepper, Butter, and Almonds (Excerpted from Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2017. Photographs by Laura Dart and A.J. Meeker.)

Roasting carrots concentrates their already sweet flavor, and roasting them so dark that they burn a bit adds a bitter edge that is fantastic, especially when balanced by the butter and honey. You can add fresh herbs, if you like. A little fresh thyme or winter savory would be an excellent partner.

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds carrots, trimmed and peeled, but left whole

Extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 cup almonds, toasted and chopped

Recipe Steps

Heat the oven to 475°F.

Spread the carrots on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle on a tablespoon or so of oil, and roll the carrots to coat them. Roast until they are very dark brown, even a bit burnt on the edges, but not fully tender, 10 to 12 minutes. (Leave the oven on but reduce the temperature to 300°F.)

When the carrots are cool enough to handle, cut them on a sharp angle into 1/2-inch-thick slices and transfer to a large bowl. Add the vinegar, season with salt and lots of pepper, and toss to coat. Let the carrots sit for 5 minutes to absorb the vinegar.

Spread them out on the baking sheet again, distribute the butter bits on top, and drizzle the honey over all. Roast until they are fully tender and the butter and honey are making a lovely mess, 5 to 7 minutes. Scrape everything into a serving bowl, taste, and adjust with more vinegar, salt, or pepper. Top with the almonds. Serve warm.


Excerpted from Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2017. Photographs by Laura Dart and A.J. Meeker.

Click for more recipes from Joshua McFadden.

BONUS! Here's a non-veggie recipe for perfectly-flaky dough, a versatile recipe that acts as the base for the cabbage and mushroom hand pies, and virtually any veggie pie you make!

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Very Flaky Pastry Dough

Makes enough for 8 hand pies

Very Flaky Pastry Dough

Cabbage and Mushroom Hand Pies (Excerpted from Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2017. Photographs by Laura Dart and A.J. Meeker.)

Ingredients

4 ounces unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 1/2 cups (6.75 ounces by weight) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup ice water

Recipe Steps

Spread the butter cubes on a plate and freeze for about 15 minutes. They should be very cold but not rock hard.

Mixer method: Combine the flour, salt, and butter in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle. Mix on low speed until the butter cubes are smashed up a bit and the chunks are about half their original size; don’t worry if the chunks aren’t uniform. With the mixer running, slowly pour about half the ice water into the flour and butter and mix just until the dough barely holds together; it will look quite shaggy. Take a big pinch and give it a squeeze. If it all holds together nicely and there’s barely any loose flour in the bowl, no need for more water. If it feels dry and powdery, add more water a few drops at a time; depending on your flour, you may need to add a bit more than the 1/4 cup.

Hand method: Toss the flour, salt, and butter in a wide bowl and cut the butter into smaller pieces with a dough scraper (also called a bench scraper) or a table knife. Pinch and press the mixture with your fingers to encourage the butter to form flattened pieces. Gradually add about half the ice water as you toss the flour mixture with a fork to evenly distribute the liquid. Don’t add all the liquid until you’re sure you need it. Test by taking a big pinch and giving it a squeeze. If it all holds together nicely and there’s barely any loose flour in the bowl, no need for more water. If it feels dry and powdery, add more water just a few drops at a time; depending on your flour, you may need to add a bit more than the 1/4 cup.

For both methods: Dump the dough onto a floured counter and shape it into a mound. Using the heel of your hand, press the mound to flatten a bit, pushing away from you slightly to smear the pieces of butter into the flour. With a dough scraper (bench scraper), scoop up an edge of the mound, fold it on top of itself, and continue pressing and smearing. You’re basically kneading the dough to make it more workable but you’re keeping larger layers of butter intact, which will make the dough very flaky. Continue 5 or 6 more rounds of pressing, smearing, and folding, until the dough no longer feels shaggy and is smooth but not sticky. If the dough is soft at this point, wrap in plastic and chill for 20 to 40 minutes. You can make the dough ahead and freeze it well wrapped for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before rolling.


Excerpted from Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2017. Photographs by Laura Dart and A.J. Meeker.

Click for more recipes from Joshua McFadden.