I have to admit, I came to vegetables relatively late in life.
Oh, sure, while growing up, I ate them. But for the most part, they were the out-of-the-can, boiled-beyond-recognition variety. Even on Thanksgiving, we gave thanks for the vegetables on our table—but we gave extra thanks for the mashed potatoes and stuffing.
In the years since I’ve discovered what surrounding the bird with delicious vegetable dishes can do for my health and my waistline. And I’m teaching my offspring, Mr. Picky and Miss Sweet Tooth, the joys of veggies. In fact, the sides have become the focus of our Thanksgiving feast. To help me out, this year I’m turning to Michael Anthony’s glorious new cookbook, V is for Vegetables: Inspired Recipes & Techniques for Home Cooks, From Artichokes to Zucchini (Little Brown; October 27, 2015). The book is a beautifully illustrated tome full of inspired tips, helpful photographs and exceptional recipes for anyone who loves the flavor-packed taste of vegetables of all kinds, celebrating both their versatility in the kitchen and their healthy benefits, as well.
V is for Vegetables give the home cook a tour through the world of edible plants, one veggie at a time, delivering a banquet of crisply composed salads, fresh herb sauces, warm gratins, vibrant stews, sautéed greens and veggies that you can pair with your favorite meats and fishes. The book teaches both the amateur and seasoned cook all about the delicious effects of caramelization, flavorful broths, and how best to utilize the satisfying crunch of raw vegetables served alongside cooked dishes. In the end, the reader winds up not only with a delicious meal, but also a healthier way of eating.
Anthony is the perfect guide to show you how to create these dishes for your table during Thanksgiving and other special meals throughout the year. Having just celebrated a decade running New York City’s famed Gramercy Tavern, he’s just opened his second restaurant, Untitled, to widespread acclaim. This year he was also recognized as “Outstanding Chef” in the United States by the James Beard Foundation, an award referred to as “the Oscars of Food” throughout the world of cooking.
Anthony brings all his talent and expertise to V is for Vegetables, delivering to the reader ways to prepare more than 60 different veggies in more than 150 recipes. The edible plants are arranged in the book in a comprehensive A-Z format, presenting an ideal roadmap through artichokes, carrots, eggplants, leeks, okra, radishes, tomatoes, zucchini, and much, much more. Along with co-author Dorothy Kalins, Anthony shows you how to make your vegetable side dishes step from out of the shadow of the main dish and into a scrumptious spotlight all their own.
Vegetables have come a long way for those of us who grew up in the mushy-green-beans-in-a-can era. V is for Vegetables is a celebration of the vibrant taste and healthy benefits of dozens of delicious veggies—a celebration that you’ll enjoy this Thanksgiving and throughout the year.
Braising is a great way to soften radish roots and remove their spicy rawness. Without losing the character of the radish, this braise enhances it with the sweetness of honey, the aromatic quality of the black pepper, and the browned edges of the radishes itself. This is an entirely different way to love radishes. If you can find (or grow) multicolored Easter Egg radishes, they’ll look great in this braise.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound radishes, halved
1 clove garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon coarsely cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Salt to taste
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add half the radishes and all the garlic and cook until lightly browned, about five minutes. Add the honey and pepper and let the honey caramelize, about a minute. Add the vinegar, the remaining radishes, and salt and cook until all the radishes are warmed but not cooked soft.
Recipe from V is for Vegetables: Inspired Recipes & Techniques for Home Cooks, From Artichokes to Zucchini by Michael Anthony (Little Brown; October 27, 2015).