In this recipe from the superb book Tender, Nigel Slater goes running with this idea, using not only cracked wheat to bulk out the meat, but also grated raw beets. I was skeptical but drawn to their incredible rich, red color.
'Tender' on Serious Eats
This five-minute stir-fry is full of the sort of punchy, sour flavors that you'd find in a bowl of tom yum soup. Matchsticks of ginger and rounds of lemongrass are browned with scallions and chiles. The shrimp are thrown in with a mix of fish sauce, lime juice and sugar. It's ideal for those evenings when you're craving something a bit out of the ordinary, flavor-wise but don't really feel like spending an hour-plus on it. On the table in just about 20 minutes and served with a bowl of steamed rice, these prawns will beat the pants off Thai takeout any day.
This recipe for Classic Creamed Spinach from Nigel Slater's Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch showed me exactly what my spinach was missing: a roux. Slater begins his creamed spinach by infusing milk with black peppercorns, bay leaf, and an onion. The milk is simmered and added to a mix of butter and flour, then whisked into a very thick, creamy roux. Spinach, cream, and nutmeg are incorporated at the very last minute, resulting in the kind of creamed spinach that you'd order at a steakhouse that's been around for longer than you have.
The following recipe is from the May 25 edition of our weekly recipe newsletter. To receive this newsletter in your inbox, sign up here! [Photographs: Caroline Russock] This recipe for Kale with Golden Raisins and Onions from Nigel Slater's Tender:...
Since my CSA started a few weeks ago I've been inundated with asparagus with at least a bunch or two of green-purple stalks popping up in my crate every Tuesday. I've been steaming them and topping them with hollandaise and charring them with soy, but what I've really been searching for is a recipe that takes asparagus from a side to a complete meal. This Tart of Asparagus and Tarragon from Nigel Slater's Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch does exactly that, by baking tender blanched stalks into a cheesy, custardy pie.
Adapted from Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch, these Lamb Steaks with Peas and Mint are served with a purée of a springier vegetable—sweet peas. Briefly boiled until their sugars release, buzzed in the blender with leaves of mint and melted butter, these peas would be wonderful with just about anything grilled—scallops, sausages, steaks, or lamb. Author Nigel Slater serves his with little thyme-rubbed lamb steaks. By letting the steaks (or rib chops, if you'd prefer) sit in a slick of chopped thyme and olive oil for half an hour before grilling, the thyme has a chance to really soak in and lightly char once it hits the grill.
You might assume that this Beet Seed Cake would be made with well, beet seeds. Before you start running to the garden center in search of ingredients you should probably know this cake is made with beets and seeds, not beet seeds. Sounds weird, right? I thought so too but in the intro of Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch, Nigel Slater likens it to another genius root vegetable-based dessert, the carrot cake.
It would be easy to call Tender a vegetable cookbook but it's so much more than that. For example, the chapter on leeks: Slater introduces the leek, talks about his relationship with it, fond memories it evokes, and even the variety he prefers in his home kitchen (Musselburgh).Slater treats each vegetable in Tender with the same sort of reverence, whether it's something showy like a summer tomato or a humble onion. Enter to win a copy here.