Chefs are going out of their way to make use of everything that comes into their kitchens—and bragging about it. And now vegetable trimmings are getting their star turn too. In my latest story in the Wall Street Journal, I chart how the hanger steak at Park Avenue Spring comes with “nose-to-tail beets”—the root, roasted and lightly pickled, served with sautéed greens and stems. At Miller Union in Atlanta, a ruby chard-stem chutney accompanies the cheese plate. Chef Andrew Wisehart, the vegetable wizard at Gardner in Austin, sautés broccoli florets and serves them with a salad of broccoli leaves and flowers and sprinkles it all with dehydrated, powdered broccoli stalks to further boost the broccoli flavor. Foxy Organic, a national produce company, just started selling broccoli leaves at grocery stores across the country.
But the point chefs want to make is this: Too much food that’s thrown away doesn’t belong in the trash. Squash skins are edible. So are kale ribs, beet greens, fennel tops, even carrot skins, which most of the time just need a good scrub. “Given the scale of hunger in this country, we need to convert what can be eaten into actual meals,” said Jonathan Bloom, author of “American Wasteland: How America Wastes Nearly Half of Its Food (And What We Can Do About It).”
What do you think? Are you going out of your way to use this stuff? I personally am a big fan of broccoli leaves! Let me know.