Eat this Word: Salsify

salsifyWHAT? The world is your oyster plant. For such a mild-mannered root vegetable, salsify has attracted an unusually high number of ardent defenders and passionate detractors. Unique, delicate, superb, mild, mysterious, its champions insist. Bland, mushy, faded, forgettable, its critics rejoin. Salsify is also known as oyster plant, because when cooked, it's alleged to taste like the mollusk. (More disagreement on this point.) There are, however, a few facts everyone concedes: Salsify is a carrot-shaped winter vegetable. Thomas Jefferson grew it, and a vegetable garden remains the best place to find it in contemporary America. It's much more common in Europe, where people use it in stews, soups, and fritters or simply sautèed in butter. White salsify and black salsify (technically called Scorzonera) are used interchangeably. WHERE? Michael Giletto and Alina Eisenhauer's Beard Hou

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The Bookshelf: Jennifer McLagan Chews the Fat

Fat At yesterday’s Beard on Books, author and self-labeled “fat lady” Jennifer McLagan delighted the crowd with her honest talk on fat, the most misunderstood block in the food pyramid. The discussion was largely based on her latest book, Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes, which took home the medal for Cookbook of the Year at last year’s JBF Awards. Raised in Australia, McLagan recalls how she “ate fat with pleasure,” always opening the refrigerator to find three different types: butter, lard, and drippings. Fat was used in everything and no one she knew was overweight, a far-fetched world for Americans who subscribe to a religion of low fat or no fat. McLagan also focused on health benefits of fat, specifically the nutrients in high-quality animal fat that keep us happy

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Recipe: Goat Cheese Crêpes with Herb Salad

Goat cheese crepes Tangy and sweet, these unfussy goat cheese crêpes from chef Christopher Edwards are an excellent dish for a Sunday brunch. His recipe calls for frisée and an herb salad of basil, chives, and tarragon. We think any combination of greens is the perfect accompaniment.

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Eye Candy: The Final Touch

Plating foie A crew member seasons a quince, completing a plate of foie gras and Sauternes sauce. Click here to see more photos from Kevin Penner and Matt Birnstill's Beard House dinner. (Photo by Joan Garvin)

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Recipe: Warm Oysters with Prosecco, Cauliflower, and Sorrel Soup

Warm Oysters with Prosecco, Cauliflower, and Sorrel Soup The indulgent pairing of oysters and Champagne is one that is often celebrated simply. But at tonight's Beard House dinner, Seattle chef Ethan Stowell will rearrange the duo into a luxurious soup, incorporating refreshing Prosecco, cauliflower, and bitter sorrel. Keep his simple recipe in mind for a low-key weekend dinner party. (If sorrel is not available, spinach or arugula make great substitutions.)

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Recipe: Jennifer McLagan's Perfect Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich

Fat For our first Beard on Books of the year, we're tossing those healthy resolutions out the window and sitting at the feet of Jennifer McLagan, chef, food stylist, and fat advocate. She's discussing her latest book, Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes, which was named Cookbook of the Year at the 2009 James Beard Awards. Supported by common sense and science, McLagan comes to the defense of this unfairly maligned nutrient, persuasively arguing that fat is indispensable to a complete diet and full flavor. (Not that we ever needed to be convinced of the latter.) The book features recipes that get a boost from clever uses of oil, butter, or animal products. One of our favorites is her Perfect Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich: the mayonn

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Recipe: Jennifer McLagan's Perfect Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich

Fat For our first Beard on Books of the year, we're tossing those healthy resolutions out the window and sitting at the feet of Jennifer McLagan, chef, food stylist, and fat advocate. She's discussing her latest book, Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes, which was named Cookbook of the Year at the 2009 James Beard Awards. Supported by common sense and science, McLagan comes to the defense of this unfairly maligned nutrient, persuasively arguing that fat is indispensable to a complete diet and full flavor. (Not that we ever needed to be convinced of the latter.) The book features recipes that get a boost from clever uses of oil, butter, or animal products. One of our favorites is her Perfect Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich: the mayonn

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