3 of a Kind: Veggie Charcuterie Has Entered the Scene
3 of a Kind checks out three places across the country to try something cool, new and delicious.
Though the term “charcuterie” often calls to mind platters brimming with delicate cuts of cured meats and velvety pâté, restaurants across the United States have begun turning out new riffs on this culinary art that dates back to 15th-century France. At the height of the pork belly-and-bacon mania that took hold of the nation during the past decade or so, charcuterie was added to many a menu. But the porcine obsession has since given way to a rising tide of healthier, plant-based dishes, with chefs now churning out veggie charcuterie at kitchens across the country.
Beet Root Tartare from Bar Frances, New Orleans
Parisian-trained chef Brendan Cahill brought a root-based representation of the classic French raw-meat preparation to his newly opened NOLA restaurant. His beet root tartare is made with freshly diced beets and pickled mustard seed. It looks and tastes enough like traditional beef that it may just be capable of fooling a carnivore or two. This striking dish comes with a smattering of housemade sweet potato chips on the side.
Garden “Charcuterie” from Wayward Sons, Dallas
Possibly the most-comprehensive vegetable charcuterie board in the U.S., this platter mimics the classic porkcentric plates found at wine bars and bistros around the world. It’s heaped with a veritable smorgasbord of cured vegetables. The dazzling array includes “lonzino” reimagined as a vegetarian-friendly version that swaps out pork for roasted root vegetables crusted in spices (think carrot with fennel seed, sunchokes in cumin and parsnip in coriander).
Traditional tartare is transformed into a plant-centric dish composed of diced tomatoes served with capers, shallots, Worcestershire, fine herbs, lemon juice, salt and pepper. A buttery corn “egg yolk” coulis serves as the garnish. A delicate carpaccio is made from thinly sliced yellow crookneck squash and zucchini finished with salt, pepper, olive oil and ricotta salata. Deviled eggs are not really eggs at all, but rather a cauliflower puree blended with onions, garlic and agar-agar. The mixture is molded into an egg form and then stuffed with a vegan turmeric-chickpea filling. The whole assortment is rounded out with lentil sausage, house-pickled giardiniera and marinated olives.
Fig Carpaccio from Park Avenue Autumn, New York City
Back when this seasonally inspired restaurant, whose stunning decor changes along with the food was located at 63rd Street, Chef Zene Flinn put fig carpaccio on the Autumn menu. The dish has been on the list of fall offerings for six years now, and it’s still one of Flinn’s favorites. Black Mission and Tiger Stripe figs are cut and pounded thin, seasoned with smoked Maldon salt and olive oil, then topped with Coach Farms fresh chevre, endive, smoked almonds and pickled red pearl onions. The dish is finished with a spritz of lime juice and flurry of micro arugula.
Photos courtesy of Josh Brasted, Wayward Sons and Park Avenue Autumn