Vegetables Make Grand Entree

April 6, 2010  
Filed under Food

By Caroline Dipping, CNS

A few months back, Executive Chef Trey Foshee of George’s California Modern unveiled a vegetarian menu alongside his seasonal offerings. This was no halfhearted stab at meatless cuisine with just an uninspired steamed veggie plate or a slapdash pasta, but rather a thoughtful, tasteful roster complete with starters, entrees and vegan options.

Foshee began noodling over the idea of a high-end vegetarian menu a year after conducting a series of Side Table events in George’s bar. The vegetarian-themed Side Table was the one event that sold out both nights it was offered.

“I met a couple who told me they love going out to dine and enjoy a good bottle of wine, but they feel, as vegetarians, they are alienated from a lot of special events restaurants hold,” said Foshee.

“Now I find myself looking more and more at vegetable preparations specifically and having those influence my non-vegetarian items,” he said. “I keep toying with it.”

Here is on of Foshee’s new vegetarian recipes:



2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 white onion, peeled and minced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 cups farro (chef prefers Anson Mills brand, see note)
1 cup white wine
8 cups mushroom stock, hot (see note)
1⁄2 cup parmesan cheese
Salt and black pepper


2 portobello mushrooms
1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 thyme sprigs
2 garlic cloves, smashed
Salt and pepper


12 pearl onions, peeled
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon honey


1⁄2 cup garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup Italian parsley leaves
1⁄2 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper
6 large eggs
Makes 6 appetizer servings

For the farro: In a medium-sized sauce pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until soft but not colored, about 10 minutes. Add the farro and toast for about 5 minutes, then deglaze with the white wine and reduce until almost dry. Add mushroom stock 1 cup at a time while stirring continuously until the farro is soft with a bit of a bite, about 20 minutes, depending on the brand of farro. As soon as you see the kernels begin to “pop,” remove pan from the heat and add the parmesan and season with salt and black pepper. Adjust with more stock if needed.

For the mushrooms: In a medium bowl, marinate the mushrooms with the smashed garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and thyme and let sit 15 minutes. Grill or roast mushrooms in a hot oven. Reserve in a warm place.

For the onions: Slice the onions in half and sear them cut side down in a saute pan with the olive oil until well caramelized. Deglaze with sherry vinegar, turning down the heat to just above a simmer and reduce slowly till almost dry. Add the honey and stir to coat the onions; reserve in a warm place.

For the garlic-parsley cream: Place the garlic in a medium-sized pot and fill with water. Bring to a boil, strain, refill and repeat three times. Strain the garlic. Bring another pot of water to a boil and plunge the parsley leaves into it for about 1 minute and remove to a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking immediately, squeeze out all the water and reserve. Bring cream to a simmer and combine the garlic, parsley and cream in a blender and blend until completely smooth, strain through a fine mesh strainer, and reserve.

To serve: Poach the eggs. Spoon the farro into six bowls, top with mushrooms and onions and place an egg on top. Coat the egg with the garlic-parsley sauce.

Notes: Anson Mills farro is available online at Other types of farro are available at specialty stores such as Whole Foods and Seaside Market. The chef makes his own mushroom stock, but mushroom stock can be purchased at specialty stores.

— From chef Trey Foshee


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