Making the most of winter vegetables
JP McMahon: Eating more plants will not do us meat eaters any harm
With the increased emphasis on plant-based cooking and diets, I feel compelled to make more vegetable dishes available on my restaurant menus. Photograph: iStock
Resolutions are part and parcel of the new year, the arrival of which compels us to establish new patterns to augment our well-being. But what about old resolutions that we have perhaps let go? Surely, we should try and resolve why we never fulfilled them, or why perhaps we let them go.
I was vegetarian for seven years, from the age of 16 to 23. The reason for becoming one is lost to me now, just as the reason I stopped being one is also lost from my food consciousness. However, what the process did do was leave a lasting appreciation of all types of cooking of vegetables.
With the increased emphasis on plant-based cooking and diets, I feel compelled to make more vegetable dishes available on my restaurant menus. This is not to say we don’t already cater for vegetarians and vegans: but as Greta Thunberg has intimated, we can always try harder, especially in relation to the quality of our environment. Eating more plants will not do us meat eaters any harm.
How to make the most of winter vegetables
One of my favourite ways to roast vegetables is with sherry vinegar. The gentle sweet acidity lends a brightness to winter vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, celeriac or even Brussels sprouts.
When cooking vegetables, I often just fry them in a pan, as one would meat or fish, basting them with butter, garlic and herbs. But vegetables always need some acidity, especially winter ones which are a little more dense and gnarly, having spent more time in the cold ground.
When roasting them, I add the vinegar beforehand, whereas if pan frying, for example a few carrots with butter and herbs, I add the vinegar in at the end. PX vinegar, which is the Spanish equivalent of balsamic, is my favourite.