20 years of Observer Food Monthly: Nigel Slater’s five star ingredients

20 Years of Observer Food Monthly: Nigel Slater Five Five Star Ingredients Twenty years ago, beetroot was probably found in a pot of cucumbers and cauliflower under a morning saucepan. Here are five foods you have had in a ‘second’ of twenty years Roasted beetroot, bitter leaves and basil pesto Roast beetroot, bitter leaves and basil pesto Photo: Jonathan Lovekin of The Observer Nigel Slater Nigel Slater Mon 19 April 2021 08.00 BST 5 How we eat has changed little in the last 20 years since OFM first appeared. New ingredients have appeared, old ones have been given a new role, some have stayed while some have faded and darkened. We may have our eyes fixed on food fashions, but it is always true that sometimes the ingredient will move slowly, even temporarily. Part of this change included the rejuvenation of the fruits and vegetables we eat and their place in our daily cooking. Encouraged by the markets of farmers and seed sellers, some of the older varieties that had been removed from the field have returned, especially to those who own land and vegetable gardens. Nigel Slater November 2000. Nigel Slater November 2000. Photo: Harry Borden Some fruits and vegetables that we used to consider useless – artichokes, celeriac, quinces, to name just three – have been promoted to new popularity. Some that we used to ignore – chards and pea shoots, for example – are now so popular that it’s hard to avoid them. For a while I was last given a restaurant menu without the word beetroot in it. That is, apparently, the British method, some ingredients have been adopted, used properly and then shipped with a low dive back in the dark. Sun-dried tomatoes, anyone? Purple cauliflower, Chinese artichokes, yellow courgettes, golden kiwi fruit? They all hugged briefly and then returned to where they had come from. Some remain popular. Pomegranate seeds have their place, but they rarely get where they come from now. Some products were discarded when the price was dropped (pine nuts) or as a result of natural disaster news reports caused by our sudden overdose. Advertisement A few who are promoted to star positions live there: the Jerusalem artichoke continues; cavolo nero, with its beautiful blue edges, is now as popular as savoy cabbage; and kale is everywhere. The current “inevitable” crop includes carrots and radish of various hues, sweet mushrooms and tasty “winter” tomatoes. In the meantime, you can be forgiven for thinking that the ingredient is not boiled and therefore not worth eating. This month’s issue has provided an opportunity to reflect on some of the ingredients that have changed since we first started publishing. 1: Beetroot Beetroot is ubiquitous, appearing five or six years ago in pick-up salads and sandwiches, pastas and risotto. Seen in fritters, soups and even cake. The root bleeds profusely when pierced, sending its garnet tones to Instagram feeds all over the world. Beetroot makes him jump from the cake pot to the oven a few years ago, but he looks set to stay. Its popularity was strengthened when someone discovered how good it was – big, sweet and sandy – it was when it was fried in a foil. Its combination with goat cheese has never been in doubt, but it can appear a little more often than I like. I am always a fan, however, especially in summer and autumn when the leaves are ready enough to be planted. I feel lucky that I like it, but I apologize to those who don’t like it, who will find the dark red globes hard to avoid these days. Roasted beetroot, spicy leaves and basil pesto (top photo) It can be eaten by 4 people 450g beetroots olive oil 2 tbsp cider vinegar 2 tbsp spicy salad leaves 150g, watercress etc. tomato 150g Advertisement For pesto basil leaves 50g pine nuts 15g garlic 1 clove, peeled olive oil 5 tbsp Set the oven to a 180C 6 fan / gas mark. Wash and cut the beetles, taking care not to pierce their skin. Place on a baking sheet and cover lightly with foil. Bake the beetroots for about 45-50 minutes, until soft and centered. Combine olive oil and cider vinegar. Peel a squash, grate it and squeeze the juice. Make pesto by placing basil leaves in a food processor container. Add the pine nuts, crushed cloves and olive oil. The process for a few seconds has been rough, loose, then add a little salt and transfer to a small bowl. Wash and stir to dry the salad leaves. Place the leaves in a large bowl and serve with fried and sliced ​​beetroot. Cut the tomatoes and add to the salad. Add about half a pest of basil, saving the rest for some time. It will be stored, covered with a little olive oil, refrigerated for service days. Gently toss the salad on the table before serving. 2: Burrata I kill two birds with one stone here. Pumpkin, loved for its bright color, and burrata, cheese is currently chasing the mozzarella on its throne. I’m not sure I had even heard of the burrata when we started OFM. Now, this loose, dairy cheese egg has even used mozzarella as our fresh goose cheese. Some find it boring and overcrowded, but I prefer it with its soft texture, so soft and creamy is not as suitable as cheese. Usage is limited – you can’t cut or slice it between two slices of bread, and you can’t cook with it. And the burrata has an almost permanent place in my fridge. Few dinners are quicker than the one where you wear this tender oval with fresh peas, olive oil and a nest of pea shoots. Or separate one open and let the molded interior flow over the sour cream and hash of chillies and coriander. It blends perfectly with basil and mint leaves; prosciutto and cod’s roe; peaches and figs. Burrata is almost soft enough to be considered an impromptu sauce. I let the snow-white cakes bloom the aubergine roasted with thyme and lemon; sprinkle baked tomatoes with basil; and use them as a new immersion

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