3 Restaurant-Inspired Recipes for Charred, Flavor-Packed Vegetables

vegetable recipes
Food styling by Laura Rege; prop styling by Summer Moore for Honey ArtistsChelsea Kyle for Men's Journal

Restaurants make it easy to love vegetables, what with their small-plate dioramas of perfectly cooked heirloom produce lit up with sauces and spices, leaving you satisfied and stupefied: I didn’t know carrots/turnips/eggplants could taste this good.

But what about when you’re cooking at home? To make vegetables really sing, simply using salt and pepper isn’t enough. You have to think like a chef, surrounding produce in high-definition flavors and textures. Fortunately, making irresistible vegetables is easy with these three steps:

  1. Blister vegetables in a cast-iron skillet, a technique three times faster than oven roasting.
  2. Plate on top of a fat-based sauce.
  3. Finish strong with a final layer of flavor.

We’ve developed three vegetable dishes, inspired by Pizzeria Beddia, in Philadelphia, where seasonal crops convene over Caesar dressing, and the recent cookbook Indian-ish, by Priya Krishna, which turned us on to chhonk, in which whole spices are toasted in ghee. Make these vegetables for dinner, and you’ll swear you were eating in a hot new restaurant instead of your kitchen.

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Blistered Broccoli With Horseradish-Chive Yogurt and Pistachio Chhonk

Ingredients

For the broccoli

  • 2 large heads broccoli, broken up into florets
  • Sea salt, for serving

For the chhonk

  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp fennel seed
  • 1⁄2 tsp cumin seed
  • 1⁄4 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 pinches kosher salt
  • 1⁄2 cup shelled raw pistachios, roughly chopped

For the yogurt sauce

  • 3⁄4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1⁄2 cup sour cream
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • Juice and zest of 1⁄2 lemon
  • 1 tsp prepared horseradish
  • 1 tbsp minced chives
  • 1 pinch kosher salt

Instructions

Char the Broccoli: Heat a 9- to 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Add broccoli in an even layer and increase heat to medium. (You may need to do this in two batches.) Weigh down broccoli by placing a second skillet of the same size on top and cook undisturbed for 10 minutes.

Make the Chhonk: Combine all chhonk ingredients except pistachios in a saucepan. Cook over low heat for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant. Add pistachios and cook for 4 minutes. Reserve warm.

Finish the Dish: Remove top skillet from broccoli and flip each floret; they should be very dark and blistered on one side. Weigh down broccoli with top skillet again and cook for 8 minutes. While broccoli is cooking, make yogurt sauce by whisking all sauce ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Pour sauce onto serving plate and spread out in an even layer. Arrange broccoli over sauce in an even layer. Spoon warm chhonk over broccoli, garnish with a few flakes of sea salt, and serve immediately.

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Green Beans With 'Nduja Romesco and Salmoriglio
Chelsea Kyle for Men’s Journal

Green Beans With ‘Nduja Romesco and Salmoriglio

Ingredients

For the salmoriglio

  • Juice and zest of 1 1⁄2 lemons
  • 2 garlic cloves, very thinly shaved
  • 1⁄4 loosely packed cup oregano leaves, finely chopped
  • 1⁄3 cup loosely packed cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Pinch kosher salt

For the beans

  • 12 oz green beans, stemmed
  • Sea salt, for serving

For the romesco

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 roasted red peppers, drained
  • 1⁄4 cup pecans
  • 2 oz ’nduja, casing removed
  • 1 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

Make the Salmoriglio: Combine lemon and garlic in a small mixing bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. Add herbs, olive oil, and salt. Whisk together and reserve.

Char the Beans: Heat a 9- to 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Add beans in an even layer and increase heat to medium. (You may need to do this in two batches.) Weigh down beans by placing a second skillet of the same size on top and cook undisturbed for 5 minutes.

Make the Romesco: Combine all romesco ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined but not completely smooth. Pour romesco onto a serving plate or bowl and spread out in an even layer.

Finish the Dish: Remove top skillet and toss beans; they should be very dark and blistered. Weigh down beans with the top skillet again and cook for 2 minutes. Arrange beans over romesco and drizzle salmoriglio over top. Garnish with a few flakes of sea salt and serve immediately.

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Brussels Sprouts With Miso Caesar and Crushed Croutons
Chelsea Kyle for Men’s Journal

Brussels Sprouts With Miso Caesar and Crushed Croutons

Ingredients

For the croutons

  • 1⁄2 10-inch baguette or ciabatta, cubed
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1⁄2 tsp garlic powder
  • Pinch each kosher salt and black pepper

For the sprouts and dressing

  • 12 oz large Brussels sprouts, stemmed and halved lengthwise
  • 1 tbsp white miso
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
  • 1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1⁄4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • Sea salt, for serving

Ingredients

Make the Croutons: Heat oven to 350°F. Toss ingredients together on a quarter sheet pan, making sure bread is evenly coated. Bake croutons 30 minutes, tossing halfway through. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Pulse croutons in a food processor into coarse crumbs and reserve.

Char the Brussels Sprouts: Heat a 9- to 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Add sprouts cut-side down in an even layer and increase heat to medium. (Depending on the size of your skillet, you may need to do this in two batches.) Weigh down sprouts by placing a second skillet of the same size on top and cook for 5 minutes.

Make the Dressing: Combine dressing ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Pour onto a serving plate and spread in an even layer.

Finish the Dish: Remove the top skillet and flip sprouts; they should be very dark and blistered. Weigh down sprouts with top skillet again and cook for 2 minutes. Arrange sprouts over dressing and top with crushed croutons. Garnish with a few flakes of sea salt and serve immediately.

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