Author and restaurant critic Fay Maschler
The best vegetarian dish I’ve ever eaten, why, where?
A soupe au pistou you might say is minestrone with a French accent. It is a throng of vegetables, both root and branch, assembled at the moment when fresh haricot beans are available, then anointed with a pungent emulsion of basil, garlic and olive oil. Eaten in the warm breath of Provence in the South of France in summertime, it is, as American gourmand Waverly Root observed, “one of the finest soups known to man”.
Favourite vegetarian ingredient?
Tofu (aka beancurd) is almost literally a blank canvas on which can be applied flavours and ingredients both savoury and sweet. Also, low in calories and high in iron.
A vegetable/fruit for 2021?
Vitamin K in tandem with vitamin D has proved important in combating Covid. Blueberries are a fruit source and should be showered everywhere.
Favourite dish to whip up with a vegetable?
Quick and punchy and, although intended as a side dish also agreeable on its own, is smacked cucumbers. Biffing them is a cathartic activity and dressing them with garlic, sugar, soy sauce, chilli oil and rice wine vinegar is rewarding. Adding peanuts can add protein.
Favourite vegetable emoji?
Mushroom. I like the fairy tale look.
Vegetables underrated and despised?
Underrated are Jerusalem artichokes and despised are mangetouts peas.
A vegetable that surprised with its depth of flavour?
Asparagus cooked about three minutes after being pulled from the ground.