A Quick Guide to Winter Produce
by Rodney Dunn
For the uninitiated, winter from the outside can seem rather dull and dreary on the produce front. However peel back that layer of scepticism and it reveals a world of possibilities and flavours that are unique to this time of year.
The cold of winter actually improves flavours of all the root vegetables and brassicas. For root vegetables, such as carrots and parsnips, these are actually storage vessels that at the cold times of the year get sweeter. The brassica family, aka. cabbages, brussel sprouts, cauliflowers and kales, only improve in flavour with a good frost. In The Agrarian Kitchen garden we don’t even bother growing brassicas in summer, given the fight with pests and the flavour difference, it’s better to keep them as winter treats.
So what are my favourite things to do with them you ask?
Cabbages: These benefit from being chargrilled, a pan is fine but if you can give them some woodsmoke over coals even better. Make sure they still retain a little crunch.
Cauliflowers: I love to roast these whole, about 30 minutes at 200, but first brush them with butter and miso paste.
Kale: Braised kale is excellent. It can stand up to a long slow cook – first sweat some onion and garlic, then add kale and a little liquid, water’s fine but stock is better.
Carrots: There are few things better than a roasted carrot, I usually dress them with yoghurt, chopped coriander and fermented chilli sauce, as well as a few toasted almonds for crunch.
Parsnips: So delicious as a soup! Soften some onion in butter, add peeled chopped parsnip, cover with milk and/or stock and simmer until tender. Puree and serve with a sliver of blue cheese… trust me, it works!
Owner of Hobart’s The Agrarian Kitchen and author of The Truffle Cookbook, Rodney Dunn will showcase Winter Vegetables at his Chef Masterclass at Carriageworks on Sat 22 June, hosted by Julie Gibbs and presented in partnership with Smeg Australia. Book Now.