Root-to-stalk recipes using cauliflower leaves, potato peels, herb stems

The Canadian Press

There are a surprising number of uses for the stalks, tops, ribs, fronds and stems of vegetables.
Andrea Buckett says they can add delicious flavour to home cooking and the most underused parts of vegetables are the leaves and tops of carrots, radishes, beets and cauliflower.
“Typically we’re buying them for the main vegetable and we’re not thinking about the leaves,” the freelance chef says.
Here are three recipes she has created to help you get started using the parts of vegetables you might normally discard.
ROASTED CAULIFLOWER SALAD WITH TAHINI DRESSING
This salad is great served warm or cold. Using local seasonal cauliflower works the best for this, as the green leaves can be more tender.
1 small head cauliflower, core removed
1 red onion, sliced into half moons
10 ml (2 tsp) olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Dressing
If the dressing is too thick, thin it with a couple drops of water.
30 ml (2 tbsp) olive oil
15 ml (1 tbsp) apple cider vinegar
15 ml (1 tbsp) tahini
3 dashes Tabasco
Pinch of salt and pepper
Garnish
50 ml (1/4 cup) sliced almonds, toasted
50 ml (1/4 cup) dried currants
15 ml (1 tbsp) capers
Preheat oven to 190 C (375 F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Remove outer leaves and green stalks from cauliflower and trim off any brown bits. Cut more fibrous green stalks into matchstick pieces. Use hands to break head of cauliflower into small florets.
In a large bowl, toss red onion and cauliflower florets, leaves and stems with olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Spread on prepared baking sheet and roast for 30 to 35 minutes until cauliflower begins to brown.
Dressing: Meanwhile, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, tahini, Tabasco, salt and pepper.
Place roasted cauliflower and onions on a serving platter. Toss with tahini dressing and garnish with almonds, currants and capers.
Makes 4 to 6 servings (depending on size of cauliflower).
POTATO PEEL NACHOS
This recipe makes the most delicious before-dinner snack.
Peels of 4 potatoes (russet or sweet potato work best)
10 ml (2 tsp) olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
125 ml (1/2 cup) finely grated jalapeno Monterey jack cheese
1 Roma tomato, diced
2 green onions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
Chipotle Sour Cream
125 ml (1/2 cup) sour cream
2 ml (1/2 tsp) ground chipotle pepper
5 ml (1 tsp) lime juice
Preheat oven to 190 C (375 F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Toss potato peels with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on prepared pan and roast for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine sour cream, chipotle pepper and lime juice.
Remove potato peels from oven and top with cheese; return to oven for another 2 minutes until cheese has melted.
Transfer potato peels to plate. Top with tomato and green onions. Serve with chipotle sour cream.
Makes 2 servings as a snack.
HERB STEM SALSA VERDE
Use this delicious condiment made out of the parts of the herb that might have gone to waste to top grilled fish, poultry, pork and beef. It’s fantastic mixed into potato, tuna and chicken salad or as a sandwich spread, says Buckett.
Freeze herb stems until you have enough to equal 500 ml (2 cups). Before freezing, wash stems and dry thoroughly, then seal. It’s unnecessary to thaw before making salsa verde.
500 ml (2 cups) packed herb stems (any combination of parsley, cilantro, dill)
50 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed from half
1 clove garlic
15 ml (1 tbsp) lemon juice
10 ml (2 tsp) lemon zest
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a food processor, combine all ingredients and blend until herbs are well chopped.
Place in an airtight container and refrigerate until needed. This will keep for about 1 week in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer.
Makes about 250 ml (1 cup).
Source: Andrea Buckett, food and nutrition expert.