Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: May 2018

On Vegetables

Top chef Jeremy Fox believes that vegetables should be prepared with the same care generally lavished on meat dishes. His new book, On Vegetables, is based on that philosophy, and here we present three of his creative recipes.

By Garry Messick.

Top chef Jeremy Fox isn’t a vegetarian. He eats steaks and other meats on a regular basis.

What you need to know

Excellent vegetable-based meal recipes from a top chef who is not a vegetarian.

Still, he has an affinity for vegetables, and feels they should be lavished with at least as much care and attention as chefs tend to devote to meat dishes. This culinary philosophy is what led Fox to write his new cookbook, On Vegetables.

Fox believes that “not all plants are created equal,” and insists fresh vegetables are the only way to go.

“I believe strongly in eating what grows around you,” says Fox, who is currently the executive chef at acclaimed Santa Monica restaurant and wine bar Rustic Canyon. Actually, that’s partly why he moved to California in the first place.

“I wanted to go where more things grow. I’ve had the absolute pleasure to work with, and get to know, some unbelievably kind and talented farmers, whose ingredients are the real stars of my cooking.” In fact, Fox is so grateful to local farmers that he profiles a number of them in his book, alongside the recipes.

Although many of the dishes in On Vegetables call for very specific ingredients, Fox isn’t really a stickler for details. He tells readers not to worry if they “can’t find the exact things that I find in my surroundings.” He encourages people who try his recipes to feel free to adapt and use what is available to them from local sources.

Three sample recipes from On Vegetables follow, each prefaced by brief comments from the author. All are as healthy as they are delicious.


Peas and Pecorino

Peas and Pecorino
Photograph © Rich Poon
Excerpted from On Vegetables
(Phaidon 2018) by Jeremy Fox

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 ½ pounds (680 g) peas in their pods
  • Kosher salt
  • A handful of pea tendrils, to garnish
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon chiffonade of mint
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces (115 g) Pecorino Romano cheese

The first restaurant I worked at after culinary school was Mumbo Jumbo in Atlanta, Georgia, and that’s where I ate really good blanched peas for the first time. They made a dish of peas with pecorino that made me realize I actually liked peas. So obviously, the Mumbo Jumbo concoction was a huge inspiration for this version.

Directions

Shuck the peas; you should get about 2 cups (460 g) of shucked peas.

Bring a pot of water to boil over medium heat. Season it with enough salt that it tastes like the sea. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl. Add the peas to the boiling water and cook, at a simmer, until they are tender but not mushy (this can vary based on the size of the peas), 2 to 4 minutes. Drain the peas and immediately transfer to the ice bath until completely cool. Drain and spread the peas on paper towels and allow to dry completely.

In a bowl, combine the peas with the pea tendrils, olive oil, vinegar, shallot, and mint. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, divide the dressed peas across plates. Shave pecorino on top and finish with more pepper.


Spring Vegetable and Sunflower Panzanella

Serves 4

  • Kosher salt
  • ½ pound (225 g) shucked peas (from about 1 pound of whole pea pods)
  • 1 pound (455 g) sunflower loaf (or any good, dense rye bread), lightly
  • toasted and cut into ½-inch (1.25 cm) cubes
  • 4 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 16 stalks pencil-thin asparagus, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) lengths
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) labneh (Middle Eastern yogurt) or Greek yogurt
  • 2 ounces (60 g) sunflower sprouts

Panzanella is usually more of a summer bread salad in central Italy, but this version was actually inspired by a rugbrod (rye bread) toast that I had on the menu at Esters, the wine bar I helped open with Kathryn Coker in Santa Monica in Los Angeles.

Directions

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Prepare an ice bath in a bowl. Add the peas to the boiling water and blanch until just tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer the peas to the ice bath until cool. Drain on paper towels until dry.

In a bowl, combine the bread with the peas, cucumbers, asparagus, and dill. Dress with the olive oil, vinegar, sunflower seeds, and shallot. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, divide the salad across 4 bowls. Top each with a dollop of labneh and a sprinkling of sunflower sprouts. Dust the labneh with a pinch of black pepper.


Shaved Squash, Basil and Pine Nut

Serves 4

  • 2 pounds (910 g) assorted long summer squash
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 lemons
  • 24 medium-large basil leaves, cut into a chiffonade
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) pesto
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted until golden brown and roughly chopped
  • A small wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, to garnish
  • 20 whole small basil leaves, to garnish
  • 20 baby (thumb-sized) pattypan squash, heels and stem ends trimmed

This is a clean, simple preparation that highlights beautiful summer squash and requires that you seek out and use the best-quality produce, as there’s nothing to hide behind or manipulate through cooking. I like to use an assortment of various summer squash: green zucchini (courgettes), gold bar zucchini, Costata Romanesco, and /or pattypan. Just avoid especially seedy ones, like yellow crookneck.

Directions

On Vegetables
Item #34137

Using a mandoline or a vegetable peeler, shave the long squash lengthwise into thin ribbons. Place the ribbons in a bowl, season with salt, and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes. Discard any water that leaches out. Add the olive oil and grate the lemon zest directly into the oil. Juice the lemons and add to the bowl along with the basil chiffonade. Toss to combine.

To serve, spoon pesto onto each of 4 plates. Gently arrange the squash ribbons on top. Sprinkle with the pine nuts and thinly shave Parmigiano into airy strips, using them to lightly dust the whole of the dish. Garnish with small basil leaves and baby squash.

To order On Vegetables, call 1-800-544-4440

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.

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