up your brussel sprouts with bacon and chestnuts, or
remove the leaves and cook them with pancetta
much of the Thanksgiving menu is mandatory, dictated by
personal history and family dynamics: turkey, dressing,
cranberries, pumpkin or pecan pie. There’s not much room
for a cook to be creative (and neither should there be; it
is, after all, a holiday built on tradition). But
vegetables? Now, there’s a spot where we can still have
some fun. Here are six of our favorite fall vegetables, each
fixed six ways. For full recipes, go online to our
California Cookbook at recipes.latimes.com.
sprouts with bacon and chestnuts: Steam sprouts until they
are just tender. Render bacon with shallots. Add chestnuts
and chicken broth, and cook until chestnuts are tender and
sweet. Add vinegar and sprouts, and cook long enough for
flavors to marry.
sprout salad with mustard vinaigrette: Make a vinaigrette
with honey, Champagne vinegar, lemon juice and zest,
mustard, garlic and olive oil. Separate the sprouts into
leaves, and blanch the leaves in boiling water just until
barely tender. Combine leaves with dried cranberries and
blueberries and toasted whole almonds. Toss with just enough
vinaigrette to moisten lightly. Arrange on a platter and
shave Manchego cheese over the top.
Brussels sprouts with hazelnut crumbs: Steam sprouts until
tender. Saute shallots and add milk and chicken broth. Blend
some more broth with flour to thicken, then whisk into the
milk/broth combination and simmer until thickened and
smooth. Stir sprouts into the mixture, then turn into a
buttered baking dish. Combine bread crumbs, chopped
hazelnuts and thyme, and sprinkle it over the top. Bake at
400 degrees until golden brown.
sprout leaves cooked with pancetta: Separate the sprouts
into leaves. Saute carrots, celery and onions with chopped
pancetta in olive oil. Add sprouts and a little water, and
cook, covered, until the leaves are tender. Season with a
dash of vinegar.
and Brussels sprouts salad with mustard-caper butter: Make
the mustard-caper butter by pounding garlic in a mortar
until smooth; add it to butter with mustard, capers, lemon
zest, marjoram and pepper. Blanch quartered sprouts just
until tender, then do the same with cauliflower florets.
Drain, pat dry and toss with mustard-caper butter.
Brussels sprouts with walnuts: Slice the sprouts into very
thin coins. Make a vinaigrette with vinegar, shallot,
mustard and walnut oil. Saute sliced sprouts in olive oil
until chewy crisp. Immediatley pour over the dressing and
toss to coat. Stir in walnuts.
with bagna cauda: Make bagna cauda by warming anchovies,
garlic, butter, olive oil and lemon zest over low heat. Cut
cauliflower into six wedges, and blanch in boiling water.
Pat dry and sear in hot olive oil until browned. Spoon bagna
cauda over cauliflower, and sprinkle with parsley and lemon
roasted cauliflower: Divide the cauliflower into florets,
toss with olive oil and roast at 400 degrees until tender
and lightly browned. Garnish with smoked almonds.
cauliflower pickles: Cook onions and garlic in olive oil
until just soft. Add cauliflower florets, equal amounts of
white wine and white wine vinegar, bay leaf, thyme, whole
peppercorns and red pepper flakes, and cook until the
cauliflower is tender but crisp. Remove cauliflower to a
bowl, and add green olives and lemon zest to the liquid in
the cooking pan and cook over high heat to a thick syrup.
Pour syrup over cauliflower and set aside.
braised cauliflower with capers: Warm anchovies in olive oil
with garlic and red pepper flakes. Add cauliflower florets
and a little water. Cover tightly and cook on medium-low
until the florets are slightly tender. Remove the lid, raise
the heat to high and cook until the water evaporates. Add
capers and parsley, and warm through.
steaks with romesco sauce: Make a romesco sauce by pureeing
toasted hazelnuts and almonds, charred tomato, soaked red
pepper, toasted bread, garlic, pimenton de la Vera and red
wine vinegar to a thick, chunky cream. Cut cauliflower into
thick steaks, saute on both sides in hot olive oil, then
finish cooking in the oven until just tender. Serve with
and potato gratin: Blanche cauliflower florets and cut-up
potatoes in boiling water until tender. Make a cheese sauce
by sauteing leeks in butter, then stirring in flour to make
a paste. Add milk a little at a time and cook until thick.
Add creme fraîche and Gruyere cheese, and cook until
smooth. Season with nutmeg. Pour a little sauce in a
buttered gratin dish, add the cauliflower and potatoes and
pour the remaining sauce over the top. Scatter bread crumbs
and more Gruyere over the top and bake until browned.
and winter squash gratin: Roast spaghetti squash until
tender. Separate it into strands with a fork. Saute
mushrooms until brown, add shallots and then transfer to a
bowl. Add prosciutto to the hot pan and cook with chopped
leeks. Return the mushrooms to the pan and add creme
fraîche. Combine mushrooms and squash, and tip it into a
buttered gratin dish. Pour over heavy cream to come partway
up the squash mixture. Bake until bubbly. Sprinkle with
grated Parmesan and bread crumbs; dot with butter and return
to the oven until browned.
acorn squash and apple salad: Roast wedges of acorn squash
until tender. Make a vinaigrette with vinegar and grapeseed
oil. Julienne apples and toss with lemon juice. Place spicy
greens in a large bowl with hazelnuts and apples. Toss to
coast lightly with vinaigrette. Divide evenly among serving
bowls, and place roasted wedges of squash on top. Shave
cheese over the top.
baked with sage and chile butter: Roast thick slices of
squash until tender. Warm butter with sage, ancho chile
pepper and cumin. Brush the squash with the butter during
the last 5 minutes of baking.
squash with sweet spices: Cook onion, garlic and tomatoes in
olive oil. Add cubed squash, black pepper, cinnamon, ground
ginger and a little sugar. Cover and cook until the squash
winter squash puree with apple and ginger: Roast winter
squash until tender. Scoop out flesh and puree with chopped
apple, whipping cream, fresh ginger and butter. Scrape puree
into a small saucepan and keep warm.
squash soup with pomegranate seeds and spicy candied pecans:
Saute onions in butter. Add cubed squash, chicken broth and
heavy cream, and cook until the squash is tender. Puree
until smooth, and pass through a strainer. While the squash
is cooking, cook sugar syrup to the hard-ball stage. Add
pecans and Espelette pepper, and stir to coat with syrup.
Cool on parchment paper. Serve soup garnished with
pomegranate seeds and spiced nuts.
green beans: Toss green beans with oil, dried oregano,
minced garlic and salt, and spread on a greased baking
sheet. Roast in a 400-degree oven until tender, drizzling
with lemon juice halfway through cooking. Arrange the beans
on a platter, and spoon freshly toasted bread crumbs on top.
Island’s green beans: Blanch beans until crisp-tender,
then cool. Before serving, saute beans with olive oil and
chopped garlic to reheat, then season with garlic salt and
and yellow beans in lemon mustard vinaigrette: Steam beans
until crisp-tender, then cool in an ice bath and drain.
Whisk together a vinaigrette of olive oil, lemon juice,
mustard, onion, garlic, tarragon, sugar and salt, and toss
with the beans just to coat. Arrange on a platter, and
sprinkle over freshly ground black pepper.
green beans and onions: Blanch green beans and onions
separately until tender. Melt butter and flour to form a
roux and add milk, cooking until thickened, seasoning to
taste. Stir in beans and onions.
tortino di fagiolini: Whisk together eggs with
Parmigiano-Reggiano, milk, salt, pepper, blanched green
beans and caramelized onions. Pour into a foil-lined and
greased springform pan, and sprinkle over bread crumbs. Bake
until set, cool, then refrigerate until chilled. Serve cool
or at room temperature.
lemon green beans: Blanch green beans, then cool in an ice
bath, drain and set aside. When ready to serve, melt butter
in a skillet and add the beans to warm. Remove from heat and
stir in lemon zest and juice, seasoning with fleur de sel
and freshly ground pepper.
George Washington Carver’s sliced sweet potato pie:
Prepare pie dough and pie dish for a double-crust pie. Boil
whole, unpeeled sweet potatoes until tender enough to be
sliced. Line a prepared pie dish with alternating layers of
peeled and sliced potatoes and a spice mixture of sugar,
flour, allspice, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Moisten the
layers with a blend of molasses, cream and potato boiling
liquid, and top with the upper crust. Slit the top crust to
vent, and bake until the crust is nicely brown and the
filling is bubbly. Cool before serving.
potato chile soup: Cook chopped onion and garlic in butter
until softened in a large pot. Add quartered sweet potatoes,
stock, chipotle in adobo, and roasted poblano chiles, and
simmer unitl potatoes are tender and chiles are soft. Puree
the soup with honey and cream, and season to taste. Garnish
with cilantro leaves.
potato-Gruyere gratin: Bake whole large sweet potatoes until
tender but not soft. Cool, then peel and slice, arranging
slices into a single, overlapping layer in a buttered baking
dish. Season, and drizzle over a mixture of whipping cream
and creme fraîche. Scatter grated Gruyere on top and dot it
with butter, and bake until the cheese is melted and the
cream is bubbly and golden.
Jefferson’s sweet potato biscuits: Stir together flour,
brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, ginger and
allspice in a large bowl. Cut in shortening until crumbly,
and mix in cooked mashed sweet potatoes. Stir in cream and
pecans. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and cut
out biscuits. Bake on an ungreased baking sheets at 350
degrees until golden brown.
Moore’s sweet potato souffle: Whisk together cooked mashed
sweet potatoes, sugar, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and milk.
Whisk in melted butter, and pour the mixture into a
casserole. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Sprinkle over
a mixture of corn flakes, pecans, brown sugar and melted
butter, and bake an additional 10 minutes. Cool slightly
sweet potato wedges: Peel and cut large sweet potatoes into
long, thin wedges. Toss evenly with oil, salt and pepper,
and bake until tender. Serve hot.
beet latkes with creme fraîche and chives (Rodbetsbiffar):
Combine grated beets and potatoes with onion, bread crumbs,
egg, lemon juice, parsley and seasoning. Fry small patties
in oil and butter until golden brown. Garnish with creme
fraîche and chives.
beets with horseradish vinaigrette: Roast beets at 400
degrees until fork-tender. When cool enough to handle, cut
stems and skin. Combine red wine vinegar, water, sugar,
horseradish, shallots, salt and pepper, and toss with beets.
Cover and refrigerate overnight before serving.
with orange and almonds: Roast beets, then peel and cut into
small cubes. Combine orange juice, orange zest, beets and
butter, and cook until liquid is reduced to a glaze. Toss
with almonds, and place into a serving dish, squeezing over
more orange juice and garnishing with chervil.
and pomegranate salad: Boil beets until tender, then peel
and finely dice. Add pomegranate concentrate, lemon juice,
crushed dried peppers and salt, and toss to combine. Toss
with cilantro leaves and pomegranate oil, then drizzle over
olive oil and serve.
beet-ginger raita: Boil beets until tender, then peel and
finely dice. Combine with onion, hot green pepper, ginger,
salt, cumin, black pepper, cilantro, yogurt and sour cream.
Garnish with cilantro.
Chioggia beets: Roast beets with canola oil, peppercorns,
garlic, thyme and salt. Cool, then remove the skin and place
beets in a vacuum-pack or sealable plastic bag with olive
oil, sherry vinegar and salt. Refrigerate to marinate, then
season with more olive oil and sherry vinegar and serve.