Potato Skin-Bacon Fat Chips
The slight bitterness of the skins is matched by an assertive brown sugar-spice mix and the smokiness of the bacon. You can tell these chips are done when the bacon aroma becomes unmistakable.
Make ahead: Raw potato peelings should be kept in water to keep them from turning brown. Drain and dry as much as possible before baking. Adapted from Root to Stalk Cooking: The Art of Using the Whole Vegetable, by Tara Duggan (Ten Speed Press, 2013).
Skin peelings from 4 medium russet potatoes (with a thin layer of flesh)
2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat, liquefied and warm (may substitute olive oil, which does not have to be warm)
1 to 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (may substitute 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme)
Place a large rimmed baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Line a serving plate with a few layers of paper towels.
Place the peelings in a mixing bowl. Drizzle the bacon fat over them and toss to coat.
Combine the sugar (to taste), salt, paprika, pepper and thyme (to taste) in a small bowl. Sprinkle half the mixture over the peelings and toss to coat. Spread the peelings on the hot baking sheet in a single layer, skin side down. Sprinkle with the remaining spice mixture.
Roast for about 12 minutes, until the skins start to get crisp and browned. Use a spatula to stir them around to promote even crisping, then roast for another 3 to 6 minutes.
Transfer to the paper towel-lined plate. Serve right away. Makes 4 servings.
Shaved Broccoli Stalk Salad with Lime and Cotija
Good ideas here: The silky leaves and sweet, mild stems make a beautiful, quick salad with a counterpoint of the crumbly, salty Mexican cheese.
A Y-shaped peeler will work best for this recipe. Adapted from Root to Stalk Cooking: The Art of Using the Whole Vegetable, by Tara Duggan (Ten Speed Press, 2013).
Leaves and thick stalks from 1 bunch broccoli, stalks cut into batons (about 3 stalks or 10 to 12 ounces; see note)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup (about 1 ounce) crumbled cotija cheese (may substitute feta)
Place the broccoli stalk batons on a cutting board. Use a vegetable peeler to shave them into paper-thin strips, transferring them to a serving bowl as you work.
Tear any large leaves into bite-size pieces; add the leaves to the bowl, along with the oil and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste; toss to coat evenly, then gently fold in the cheese.
Serve right away. Makes 2 servings.
Note: To make broccoli batons, first remove the stalks at the base of the florets, then trim off the tough exterior of the stalks. Trim each stalk, rolling it on a flat side, to form a long, rectangular piece.
Beet Greens Strata
This savory bread pudding recipe calls for the greens from one bunch of beets. We tested it with the optional 1 cup of cooked, crumbled sausage. But you can certainly leave it out to make the dish vegetarian.
Be sure to soak the beet greens in a large bowl of water, gently swishing them at the start to dislodge any grit.
Make ahead: The strata should be assembled and refrigerated overnight. Adapted from Root to Stalk Cooking: The Art of Using the Whole Vegetable, by Tara Duggan (Ten Speed Press, 2013).
1 teaspoon olive oil, plus more for greasing the baking dish
Greens from 1 bunch beets, washed (see headnote)
1/2 cup finely minced onion, leek or scallions (for the latter, use white and light-green parts)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup whole or low-fat milk
3 large eggs
3 cups walnut bread, artisan whole-wheat bread or country bread, preferably day-old or stale, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup cooked, crumbled sausage (of your choice; optional)
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
Use a little oil to grease an 8-inch square baking dish or a casserole of equivalent volume (about 6 cups).
Cut the beet leaves from the coarse stems. Cut the stems crosswise into 1/2 -inch slices and cut the leaves into 1/2 -inch ribbons. You should have at least 1 cup of sliced stems and 4 cups of sliced leaves. If you have a little more, thats OK.
Heat the teaspoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and beet stems; cook for about 4 minutes, stirring often, until the stems are barely tender.
Add the leaves a few handfuls at a time; cook until they have all wilted. Add a splash of water, cover the skillet and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. The stems should be tender. Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper to taste and allow to cool slightly.
Whisk together the milk, eggs, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and several grindings of pepper in a liquid measuring cup to form a smooth custard.
Add the bread cubes, the sausage, if using, and half of the cheese to the onion-beet-greens mixture. Toss gently to incorporate, then transfer the mixture to the baking dish.
Slowly, evenly pour the custard over the top, nestling in any errant bread cubes so they are able to soak up the custard. Scatter the remaining cheese evenly over the top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to bake, transfer the strata to a countertop, unwrap it and let it come close to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the custard is set and the strata is bubbly; you should not be able to see any liquid when you press gently. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Makes 4 servings.
Candied Fennel Stalk and Fennel Syrup
This makes a chewy anise-flavored candy that you can eat out of hand or use to garnish fruit salads and desserts. The syrup is great for making lemonade or mixing into subtly flavored cocktails.
Make ahead: The candy can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. The syrup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Adapted from Root to Stalk Cooking: The Art of Using the Whole Vegetable, by Tara Duggan (Ten Speed Press, 2013).
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
5 to 6 ounces (4 to 6 stalks, fronds removed) fennel stalks, cut on the diagonal into thin slices (1 1/2 cups)
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes.
Add the fennel and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 3 minutes, until the fennel is crisp-tender. Remove from the heat and allow to steep for 10 to 15 minutes, then strain the syrup into a container.
Transfer the syrup-coated fennel slices to the lined baking sheet, spreading them in an even layer. Bake for about 30 minutes, then separate any fennel slices that are sticking together. Bake for 30 minutes or until the fennel is dry and just a bit sticky.
Cool completely on the baking sheet before serving or storing. Makes 3/4 cup candy and 1 cup syrup.