Now reading The Contorni Matrix

The Contorni Matrix

Seventy-four new ways to cook your vegetables.

You can see the glorious, sprawling thirteen-page version of this article in the Plant Kingdom issue, along with lots of other great stuff. 

Vegetables are versatile. You can braise cabbage with onions and chicken stock until it’s soft, buttery, and rich, or you can eat it raw, simply dressed, crunchy, and sweet. Carrots are equally good—and completely different—fried, roasted, puréed, or grilled. And fava beans are as delightful fresh out of the shell as they are whipped into a pesto and draped over potatoes.

We all have our standby vegetable recipes—our roasted asparagus or bacon-y brussels sprouts. They’re reliable and inoffensive crowd-pleasers. But if you’re looking to branch out of your veg routine to, say, incorporate a few new ways to cook eggplant, or learn what the hell to do with kohlrabi, or maybe just to eat less meat, then this chart—the Contorni Matrix—is for you. There are twelve vegetables to choose from and six ways to prepare each one. They are by no means traditional contorni—that is, side dishes to complement an Italian meal—but they are approachable enough to be universally appealing. From stupid-simple solutions to more elevated recipes from a handful of chefs, the matrix showcases the many possibilities of the vegetable. Pick one you don’t use much and start experimenting. Pickle it (as Jody Williams does to kohlrabi). Char it (like Joshua McFadden’s Grilled Chicories). Serve one recipe as a side dish or a few as a meal. Love them all equally. Or don’t—nobody’s going to tell you to eat your vegetables, but the recipes in this matrix sure will make them hard to resist.