Creative chefs are using a bounty of spring produce to craft vegetarian versions of charcuterie classics.
MUSHROOM TORCHON, KINSHIP
Torchon is traditionally made with seasoned foie gras. However, chef-owner Eric Ziebold has produced a clever vegetarian rendition of the Franco favorite. His mushroom torchon starts with caramelized onions, sauteed button mushrooms, garlic and plenty of butter to give the spreadable starter a silky texture. “This dish celebrates the craft of cooking, which is about technique,” says Ziebold. “And it gives diners the same emotion and mechanics of eating a classic torchon.” It’s served with huckleberry gastrique, baby beets, mache and triangles of toasted brioche. $13, 1015 Seventh St. NW, 202.737.7700
CELERY-ROOT PASTRAMI, REQUIN
“I wanted to give vegetarians something new and different, while creating something that would satisfy meat eaters,” explains chef-partner Jen Carroll about her celery-root pastrami, possesses all the flavors of the deli classic. Spiced with paprika, caraway, coriander seed and more, the root-vegetable is both cold- and hot-smoked. The resulting batons are half-cooked and half-raw, so there’s a wonderful crunch. $18 as part of four dishes, 8296 Glass Alley, Fairfax, Va., 703.462.8662
COCONUT BACON, ELIZABETH’S GONE RAW
Everyone loves bacon—even vegans. However, there’s not an ounce of pork in this coconut bacon. Executive Chef Carlos Hernandez thinly slices coconut meat and marinates it for 24 hours in an aromatic bath of bay leaf, thyme, star anise and other spices. The strips are then cold-smoked over hickory and dehydrated. “The flavor is smoky with a little sweetness and salt,” says Hernandez. The coconut bacon appears in a variety of dishes on the raw tasting menu. $75 for a prix fixe tasting menu, 1341 L St. NW, 202.347.8349