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Vegetables du Jour

Six staples of vegivorism


Delicata Squash
Having gained ground this fall on perennial favorites butternut and acorn, the delicata (like all squashes, a fruit rather than a vegetable) is sweet, rich, and great baked or steamed—or better yet, subjected to the deep-fried, cheese-blitzed devices employed at ABC Kitchen.

Until fairly recently, this knobby root had been largely ignored in this country, unlike in Europe, where it’s turned into soups, purées, and that old bistro favorite celeri rémoulade. At Otto, it’s sliced matchstick-thin and tossed with citrus, celery leaves, and extra-virgin olive oil.

This fall’s go-to root has a rich, round, nutty flavor and a texture that takes to pickling as well as it does to roasting or slicing raw into paper-thin wafers. Also known as a Jerusalem artichoke, it’s neither from Jerusalem nor an artichoke.

All the rage among sophisticated Italophile vegivores for some time now, this dark blue-green kale (a.k.a. black kale, Tuscan kale, dinosaur kale) has become ubiquitous at Greenmarket stands and restaurants. Its crinkly, bubble-wrap texture and earthy, minerally flavor only improve after the first frost.

This heirloom-broccoli-rabe variety made a mark on California menus before emerging at locavore haunts like Rose Water, Per Se, and Blue Hill. Mountain Sweet Berry Farm’s Rick Bishop, who started growing it last year, describes the green as less bitter than rabe, or “kalelike but better.”

Japanese Sweet Potatoes
Also known as satsuma-imo, these superb yellow-fleshed spuds have a dense, starchy texture and a rich flavor reminiscent of chestnuts. Look for them at Greenmarket stands, including Bodhitree and Lani’s Farm.


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