Dear BA Foodist,
I've officially got the winter cooking blues. I'm so sick of cooking potatoes and brussels sprouts. Any vegetable suggestions to tide me over until asparagus season?
Sally Degage, Princeton, New Jersey
Because of ingredient availability, cooking in winter can be more challenging than in spring and summer. Perhaps you are buying the wrong vegetables. There's a whole world of unsung winter vegetables that are increasingly available in supermarkets across America. To inspire you, I've listed my favorite winter vegetables along with recipes from five great chefs. First up, cardoons -- think of them as Italian celery with a mild artichoke-like flavor.
Cardoons alla Romana
from Marco Wiles at Vinoteca Poscol, Houston
1 pound tender white cardoons (cleaned and cut into 2" pieces)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup loose packed fresh mint (chopped)
pinch of dried crushed red pepper
1) Place cardoons in salted boiling water and cook for approx. 5 minutes,
2) Using skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer to large bowl of ice water.
3) Meanwhile, heat olive oil and garlic in a saucepan until garlic turns golden.
4) Add drained cardoons to saucepan, stir, and add water. Cover and cook for approximately 10 minutes or until they become tender, and water has evaporated. Toss with salt, pepper, chillies, and fresh mint. Serve at room temperature.
Tomorrow, a recipe for celeriac (a.k.a. celery root), followed by Jerusalem artichokes, rutabagas, and salsify.
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