Don’t Believe the (Broccoli) Hype: 3 Veggies du Jour
We keep reading that, in 2014, broccoli will be the new kale - which was the new cauliflower, which was the new Brussels sprouts, which was the new beet. But we have our doubts. In fact, a thorough review of fall menus points to a few other contenders.
Granted, ’tis the season for root vegetables. Meanwhile, chefs are a restless bunch: their menus are sprouting carrots, parsnips and sunchokes now, but by tomorrow it could be cardoons and salsify (come to think of it, we’ve seen those too). Still, the following roundup - which includes only a fraction of the examples we’ve noticed - goes to show just how prevalent these humble crops are at the moment.
Everybody’s favorite bunny food is popping up in abundance right now, and not just as a raw, shredded garnish. At BRU Handbuilt Ales & Eats in Boulder, Ian Clark is featuring carrots in the sauerkraut that accompanies corned-beef brisket and beer-roasted cabbage ravioli; Bob Blair turns them into relish for his oxtail croquettes with paprika aïoli at the ever-inventive Fuel Cafe in RiNo. Frank Bonanno’s famed Capitol Hill flagship, Mizuna, emulsifies them with artichokes to accompany roasted corvina. Burnt-carrot vinaigrette brightens steak tartare at Opus Fine Dining & Wine Bar in Cherry Creek, while carrot pesto appears on the seasonal vegetable-spread platter at Lucky Pie’s LoDo branch. And market-driven LoHi fixture Duo is serving roast chicken in a carrot-sage jus.
We’ve spotted the mildly sweet tuber just about everywhere. In Boulder, two farm-to-fork favorites come to mind: the kitchen at Beehive has been using it in a bisque with pears and bacon cracklings (and more carrot), while Eric Skokan has prepared them tempura-style at Black Cat for a juxtaposition of duck with grapefruit mustard. The crew at Capitol Hill's similarly sustainable longtimer, Potager, has added them to nightly specials several times in the past few weeks. Pioneering Downtown destination Restaurant Kevin Taylor might cream them for foie gras mousse or roast them for a bisque with cocoa nibs and rye gingerbread. Mary Nguyen incorporates them into a pea parfait to accompany her tamarind-glazed lamb shank at her Uptown flagship Parallel Seventeen. At LoHi cocktail haunt Williams & Graham, they’re wonderful roasted and tossed with curried pumpkin-seed granola. And they come nice and crispy on octopus tacos at buzzy new Ballpark cantina Los Chingones.
Congress Park’s perennial Northern Italian hideaway, Barolo Grill, purées the nutty, knobby things (also called Jerusalem artichokes) and pairs them with wild striped bass, persimmon mostarda and nasturtium petals. They sneak into a lunchtime tuna melt at rustic new hangout The Curtis Club (pictured) at the edge of Ballpark, while at the nearby Sugarmill they’re roasted and garnished with hazelnuts and herbs. Rioja, Jen Jasinski’s celebrated Mediterranean flagship in Larimer Square, also roasts them for a soup with wine-poached apples, as well as for an entree of grilled Skuna Bay salmon (which further boasts a sunchoke-coconut velouté). At LoDo’s ever-hopping Vesta Dipping Grill, they’re mashed alongside venison kielbasa, while the LoDo branch of The Kitchen presents them with butter-poached lobster, wild mushrooms and potatoes. And they’re all over the place in chip form, including Boulder’s beloved OAK at fourteenth and the just-opened but already-hot spot Lower48.