See why 'Vegetables Illustrated' may become your favorite new cookbook.
I confess: I have a lot of cookbooks dedicated to vegetables. I also confess that I never would have imagined I needed another one, but after one look at Vegetables Illustrated, I stand corrected. It is a wonder!
I am a sucker for all things America's Test Kitchen. I love my Cook's Illustrated magazine, a subscription which my cute mother bestows upon me annually. I love that the recipes are really tested, and the cooking science along the way makes food-nerd me happy.Their new vegetable cookbook is no different. First of all, it's a looker (think: 175 color photos of completed dishes and 180 color step-by-step instructional photos, along with 125 black-and-white illustrations showing preparation techniques). But more than that, the recipes. There are 700 of them, featuring more than 70 vegetables.
With a majority of the plant-based food we eat coming from just three crops – wheat, corn and rice – we all need to be exploring how to eat new kinds of fruits and vegetables. This book's tips, techniques, and "kitchen secrets" are a wonderful way to start.
Chapters are organized by vegetable, each with shopping and storage tips, information on varieties, and illustrations showing the preparation methods. There are some really interesting ideas, things I would have never thought of (and I think about vegetables a lot) – like parsnip hummus or a creamy pasta sauce made from corn kernels.
Anyway, enough gushing. The publisher was kind enough to share a recipe with us. I love this one because not many people think to roast radishes; but they are delicious when subjected to some heat. And gorgeous, as you can see in the photo on top.
ROASTED RADISHES WITH YOGURT-TAHINI SAUCE
Serves 4 to 6 | Total time: 30 minutes
Why This Recipe Works: While they’re great raw or in salads, radishes are a worthy candidate for roasting. Their crisp texture holds up well to high heat, yielding a tender but meaty interior. Roasting also mellows the spiciness of radishes, concentrating their natural sugars for a nutty, slightly sweet flavor. We started by roasting halved radishes cut side down in oil. These radishes were mild and slightly sweet, but also too bland for a finished dish and lacking any golden brown color. To facilitate browning and to complement the nuttiness of the radishes, we tossed them in a mixture of melted butter and white miso, then roasted them on the bottom rack of the oven. The butter produced superior browning on the cut side, while the miso added a pleasing savory quality. To make the most of our radishes, we used the mild, peppery green tops in a simple salad, pairing them both with a tangy yogurt-tahini sauce and a sprinkling of pistachios and sesame seeds. This is a simple but elegant dish, with bold and complementary flavors that bring out the unexpectedly sweeter side of radishes. If you can’t find radishes with their greens, you can substitute baby arugula or watercress.
1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 4 teaspoons juice
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons chopped toasted pistachios or almonds
1-1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
5-1/2 teaspoons white miso (optional)
1-1/2 teaspoons honey
2 pounds radishes with their greens, root ends of radishes trimmed, radishes halved lengthwise
8 cups greens reserved
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Whisk yogurt, tahini, lemon zest and 1 tablespoon juice, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper together in bowl; set aside for ¬serving. Combine pistachios, sesame seeds, cumin, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in small bowl; set aside for serving.
2. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Whisk melted butter; 5 teaspoons miso, if using; 1 teaspoon honey; and 1/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl until smooth. Add radishes and toss to coat. Arrange radishes cut side down on prepared sheet and roast until tender and well browned on cut side, 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Whisk oil; remaining 1 teaspoon lemon juice; remaining 1/2 teaspoon miso, if using; remaining 1/2 teaspoon honey; 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in clean large bowl until smooth. Add radish greens and toss to coat. Season with salt and ¬pepper to taste.
4. To serve, spread portion of yogurt-tahini sauce over bottom of individual serving plates. Top with roasted radishes and radish greens, then sprinkle with pistachio mixture.
Vegetables Illustrated can be purchased at Amazon for the nice round number of $25.47.