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The Vegetable Butcher

 

The Vegetable Butcher: How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini, by Cara Mangini (Workman Publishing; $29.95)

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Cara Mangini comes from a line of butchers, but as she explains in her debut cookbook, she prefers to use her knife “against the curves of a stubborn butternut squash.”

For each of the 50-plus vegetables in the book, Mangini -owner of Little Eater Produce & Provisions in Columbus, Ohio – provides information on seasonality, varieties, choosing, storing, and using. But as the book’s title suggests, most of the information focuses on prepping, with 250 pretty-but-practical color photographs depicting how to peel, trim, shell, slice, dice, chop, and mince.

For someone new to cooking, this book will become a well-worn reference, while seasoned cooks may benefit from pieces on lesser-known produce, like crosnes and cardoons. All can enjoy the 150 recipes (mostly savory, but some sweet), which include some surprising yet effective cooking methods and intriguing flavor pairings.

One to try: Smashed and Seared Beets. Pan-fried and served as a salad with chimichurri sauce and goat cheese, it’s plate-scraping good stuff.

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