Call it the bacon backlash or the cauliflower comeback, but after years of nose-to-tail, lardcore cooking, vegetables are finally getting their moment in the sun. Miller Union’s Steven Satterfield kicked off spring with Root to Leaf, a cookbook dedicated only to fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Now Empire State South’s Hugh Acheson has also entered the garden game with The Broad Fork, a vegetable-driven cookbook that, like Satterfield’s, is organized by season. “Many think the perfect Southern meal is a bucket of fast-food fried chicken, but to me, it is a spread of fried thighs with succotash, tomato salad, rice purloo, squash casserole, dressed dandelion greens, crisped okra, and baked grits,” he writes in his introduction. As much as it’s a solid index of engaging recipes, The Broad Fork is also a guided tour through Acheson’s thinking: Tips for poaching eggs and making chicken stock are broken up with stories about his early days in the kitchen, how he feeds his kids, and nonprofits working to end extreme poverty. His opinions, his approach, and his history are tightly bound together in this personal work, which is well suited to any kitchen.
Lobster with peas and seared fingerling potatoes
1 pound fresh English peas, shelled
1 pound fingerling potatoes
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Juice of 1 lemon
2 1 1/2-pound lobsters, cooked, shelled, and chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1. Prepare an ice water bath and set it near the stove. In a medium stockpot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil and season it well with kosher salt. Blanch the peas in the boiling water for 2 minutes, or until they are tender and bright green. Immediately drain the peas and shock them in the ice water. Allow them to chill. Then remove them from the ice water and place them on a plate lined with paper towels.
2. Place the fingerling potatoes in a small pot, and add cold water to cover and enough kosher salt so you can taste it. Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and slowly simmer the potatoes for 5 minutes, or until they are fork-tender. Drain the potatoes and cool them in the refrigerator. Once they are cool, dry them well and cut them into bite-size pieces.
3. In a large sauté pan, heat the canola oil over high heat. Once the oil comes to a slight smoke, add the potatoes and turn the heat down to medium. Crisp the potatoes until they are golden brown, about 5 minutes, and season them with a few pinches of kosher salt. Take the potatoes out of the pan and set them aside.
4. Pour the chicken stock into the same pan, add the butter, and reduce over high heat until the mixture starts to thicken, about 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice, peas, lobster, and potatoes, and warm through. Adjust the seasoning with kosher salt, and arrange on a platter. Garnish the dish with the chives.
A version of this article originally appeared in our July 2015 issue.