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James restaurant recipes

Season’s eatings: Try these recipes from James restaurant

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Want to really veg out this spring?

James restaurant in Prospect Heights is turning over a whole new leaf — adding weekday lunch service and a lean, mean, decidedly green menu that’s bound to make herbivores swoon.

“Veggies have really come into their own in the culinary world,” said chef and co-owner Bryan Calvert, “I work with a lot of farmers and the amount of great produce is just amazing.”

It’s not just the supply that’s wowing — it’s the demand, according to Calvert.

“People are also increasingly health conscious, so our menu has evolved to be a lot lighter,” he added. “This kind of cooking in line with what we love and what we’d like to promote and also what we think will be successful in general.”

Whatever your stance on meat consumption, it’s hard not to get excited by dishes like wild arugula and roasted sunchoke salad with buffalo ricotta and meyer lemon vinaigrette ($9), baked herbed polenta with cheddar, duck eggs and cherry tomatoes ($12), and a cured salmon and beets sandwich, with charred scallions, pickled shallots, and wasabi-dill cream, ($11).

They’re perfect playmates for equally veggie-centric James standards, like the popular spring onion soup and a black kale salad, with red quinoa, smoked almonds, and ricotta salata ($9 each).

“We’re already pretty well known for both of those dishes,” Calvert said. “Kale is one of those things that’s in vogue now — it’s been around for a long time and kind of ignored, but it really represents the best of both worlds. It’s really healthy and has a lot of flavor, so minute you eat it, you feel really good.”

James [605 Carlton Ave. between Prospect Place and St. Marks Avenue in Prospect Heights, (718) 942-4255].

Spring onion soup with pecorino

Courtesy of Bryan Calvert and Deborah Williamson of James restaurant

Serves four

1 bunch spring onions with greens

2 ramps or young garlic

2 shallots

1 qt. vegetable stock

3 oz butter

2 oz dry white wine

1/2 cup of cleaned spinach

Sprig of fresh thyme

1/4 cup Pecorino Foglie di Noce, grated

Clean the onions and ramps by separating the green tops from the white bulbs. Rinse thoroughly.

Medium dice the onion bulbs, ramp bulbs and shallots, and rough cut the greens from the ramps and onions as well as the spinach.

Put a three quart sauce pot on low heat, add the butter and melt. Add all the cut white bulbs and sweat on low heat until tender, stirring occasionally. Do not brown the onions.

Add the onion and ramp greens and spinach and continue sweating on low heat until tender.

Add the white wine and cook for a few minutes, then add the vegetable stock and thyme sprig.

Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Remove thyme, and blend until smooth.

Season with salt and pepper, and adjust the consistency with stock or water. Place in soup bowls, and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Black kale salad

Courtesy of Bryan Calvert and Deborah Williamson of James restaurant

Serves two

1 head Black Tuscan kale cleaned, tough part of stems removed

1 cup beet greens cleaned, stems removed

1/4 cup smoked almonds, roughly chopped

1/4 cup grated ricotta salata

Salt and black pepper to taste (not too much salt as the cheese is very briny)

1/2 cup cooked red quinoa that has been seasoned with 1 tbs olive oil, salt, 1 tsp chopped parsley, pepper and the zest of 1 lemon

2 extra large organic eggs or duck eggs

Roast garlic vinaigrette

1 head roasted garlic

1/2 cup quality red wine vinegar

1 tsp. mustard

1/4 cup olive oil

1/8 cup grape seed oil

Salt and pepper

For the vinaigrette; place the roasted garlic cloves in a blender, puree, add vinegar, mustard, and seasoning. Stream in the grape seed oil and olive oil to emulsify.

Just before making the salad, cut all the cleaned greens crosswise across the leaf. Place in bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette and all the other ingredients, besides the poached eggs. Season and adjust the amount of vinaigrette, add salt and pepper to taste.

Divide into two individual salad bowls.

Place a seasoned sunny side up egg on top of each salad and enjoy.

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