With fall nearly upon us, it’s our last chance to savor the summer. Chef Curtis Shaver designed this Vegetarian Blue Plate Special to make the most of everyone’s favorite flavors from the local harvest.
Feast your imagination (and your taste buds, if you hurry) on this sampler of vegetarian delicacies.
Charred Okra Tomato Salad
Rob Lewis at Rill Cross Farm in Palmyra is “kind of an okra nut,” Curtis says. “He always brings different varieties: red okra, smoother green okra, Star of David okra with a really spiky defined edge.” The mix of heirloom varieties gives this salad a great flavor and texture.
“Okra loves a hot, high, fast cooking method,” Curtis says. “A lot of people give it a bad name for sliminess, but they don’t know the right way to cook it.”
Grill-charred okra – combined with cherry tomatoes, red onion, herbs and sherry vinegar – will be a revelation for erstwhile haters.
While we adore local hand-cultivated mushrooms, Curtis asked Cavalier Produce to source these “Portobellini” mushrooms from a commercial grower who could provide a large supply of evenly-sized specimens.
It’s a straightforward recipe: rub the mushrooms with a little salt and pepper, then par-bake for about 5 minutes. Stuff with leeks, ricotta cheese and basil. Then bake to order just long enough to brown the cheese on top.
Summer Vegetable Casserole
This dish is a pure slice of summer, incorporating “all the summer vegetables that we could,” Curtis says. With veggies coming in from Wayside Produce, Meadow’s Pride Farm, Polyface, Double H Farm, Rill Cross Farm and others, that’s quite a lot!
Zucchini, yellow squash, and tomatoes are sliced and layered with sauteed onions, garlic, fresh thyme, parsley, oregano, asiago cheese, and bread crumbs. “We just layer it like a vegetarian lasagna without the pasta,” Curtis says, “top it with bread crumbs & asiago, then bake the whole thing and cut out portions.”
Red lentils, cooked with vegetable stock and mirepoix, create a perfect base for fried cakes that are crisp on the outside but soft and moist inside. Curtis and his team mix in garlic and herbs, then coat each cake with bread crumbs for that perfect texture.
The lentil cakes are topped with house made curry tomato jam. Couldn’t be simpler: just cook down those gorgeous summer tomatoes with curry paste, sugar, and a little bit of salt.
Black Eyed Pea Salad
There’s a reason they call this dish “Southern caviar.” Mixed with orange, celery, onion, tomato and fresh herbs, these tender little beans just burst with flavor.
Our vegetarian blue plate special changes with the seasons, so book your table today and enjoy summer’s bounty before it disappears.