Meat-free recipes from renowned New York City chef John Fraser

How John Fraser became a vegetarian chef

John Fraser grew up in a Los Angeles suburb eating fruits and veggies from his family's backyard and fish caught on camping trips. He's brought a love of fresh, local produce to restaurants throughout his career including his current New York venues the vegetarian restaurant The Nix and The Loyal, a neighborhood brasserie. Now he's in charge of all the dining options at Ian Schrager's new Times Square Edition Hotel.

Here are some of Fraser's signature recipes: 

Shaved mushroom and fennel salad 

Ingredients

8 silver dollar mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tablespoon fennel brunoise (recipe follows)
Parmesan cheese (small block), microplane
2 large handfuls of baby arugula
1 tablespoon lemon vinaigrette (mix equal parts lemon juice and hazelnut oil with a pinch of salt)
1 teaspoon chopped hazelnuts
2 teaspoons hazelnut oil
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted and lightly cracked in a mortar & pestle
Dash of nutmeg

For the fennel brunoise:
4.3 ounces fennel, chopped brunoise
1 medium bulb fennel, chopped into medium-size pieces
Olive oil
¾ cup white wine
23 ounces vegetable broth
⅔ cup lemon juice
1.5 teaspoon salt 

Directions

  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, sweat the fennel with a bit of olive oil for around ten minutes, until the pieces start to become tender. Season lightly with salt.
  • Once tender, add the wine and continue cooking off the alcohol
  • Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice and salt. Strain the fennel and reserve the liquid. Cook the fennel brunoise in the liquid until tender. 
  • Toss the shaved mushrooms and fennel brunoise together in a stainlees steel bowl.
  • In a separate bowl toss the baby arugula in lemon vinaigrette
  • Build the salad in layers with dressed arugula, mushrroms + fennel, hazelnuts, and freshly grated parmesan.
  • Garnish with fleur de sel, hazelnut oil, black pepper, caraway seeds, nutmeg, and a touch more parmesan.

Carrots en papillote 

Ingredients

2 cups cooked bulgar
20 pieces baby rainbow carrot (washed with tops)
4 tablespoons carrot cure
4 tablespoons butter
Olive oil
4 parsley sprigs
20 mint leaves
4 lemon wedges 

For the carrot cure:

1 tbls salt
2 tbls brown sugar
2 tbls maple syrup
½ tbls cumin coriander
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp fresh garlic, grated 

Directions

  • Cut out 4 heart shapes in parchment paper (you want approx. 3" all around the bunch of carrots)
  • Toss the washed carrots in the cure.
  • Place ½ cup cooked bulgar in the center of the parchment heart.
  • Top with 5 spiced rainbow carrots and top the carrot with one tables spoon of butter and a splash of water.
  • Seal the parchment by folding it in half and pinching the edges together
  • Bake at 450F for approx. 15 minutes.
  • Cut the top open and top a little olive oil and with herbs.
  • Serve with a lemon wedge

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Carrot bolognese

Ingredients

2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon red chile flakes
1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 stalk celery, medium diced
1 ½ medium carrots, peeled and medium diced
1 small Spanish onion, medium diced
4 cremini mushrooms
¾ cups toasted walnuts
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained
1 thyme sprig
2 bay leaves
½ cinnamon stick
¼ teaspoon ground allspice, toasted
2 ounces red wine
7 oz of canned whole, peeled plum tomatoes, blended with their juices
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 pound dried rigatoni 

Directions

  • In a food processor, chop garlic until fine. Remove and set aside.
  • Pulse walnuts in the food processor until they are roughly chopped. Remove and set aside.
  • Combine celery, carrots, onions & mushrooms in a bowl and mix well. In 3 batches, chop the vegetables in the food processor until they are finely minced. You will notice some liquid will start to come out from the vegetables. Remove and continue to chop the remaining vegetables in the food processor.
  • Meanwhile, place the sun-dried tomatoes and half of the pureed tomatoes in a blender and blitz until a fine, smooth consistency is achieved. Remove and set aside.
  • Combine olive oil, garlic, and chili flakes in a sauce pot over very low heat. Allow the chilies and garlic to cook for 5 minutes, until fragrant.
  • Add the walnuts and chopped vegetable mixture. Turn the heat up, just below medium. Allow the vegetables to cook slowly for roughly 35-45 minutes, stirring frequently. Light caramelization will occur on the bottom of the pot. Continue to stir and scrape the bottom of the pot.
  • Once the vegetables are sweet and soft and there is no more bite to the onions, add the ground allspice, pureed sun-dried tomatoes and sachet containing the cinnamon, bay leaves and thyme. Cook out for 5 minutes.
  • Add the red wine and reduce the mixture by half, until the raw wine flavor is gone.
  • Add the remaining tomato puree and continue to cook for another 30 minutes, until the raw tomato flavor is gone.
  • Remove the sachet and discard. Stir in the nutritional yeast until well mixed. Keep hot over low heat while you cook the pasta.
  • Cook the dried pasta in salted boiling water until almost al dente. Reserve 3 cups of the pasta water and add to the bolognese sauce. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook together. Add the drained pasta, cook for one minute, ensuring the sauce remains loose. Remove from the heat and serve.  

Cauliflower tempura

Ingredients

5-6 cauliflower florets
Full recipe tempura batter
2 liters of canola oil
1¼ cup bbq sauce
4 thai basil leaves
8 pickled cucumbers
8 pickled carrots
3 radishes, quartered
½ teaspoon poppy seeds
4 steamed buns
¼ cup vegan mayo 

Directions

  • Dip cauliflower in tempura batter and fry in oil heated to 350 degrees F in batches for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
  • Make a pickle set in round 1¼" ramekin with pickles, radish, and Thai basil
  • Heat BBQ sauce in a saucepan to a boil.
  • Place pre-fried cauliflower in fryer baskets. Drop into oil and deep fry for a second time. Drain.
  • Dress cauliflower with the bbq sauce. Plate and garnish with poppy seeds. Serve with pickles, mayo and steamed buns.  

Apple cookpot 

Ingredients

1 recipe caramelized apples
1 recipe oat streusel
Buttermilk ice cream
Apple chips

For caramelized apples:

1 peeled, cored and chopped granny smith apple
⅓ cup sugar
½ ounce apple cider vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 pinch of salt 
1 ounce strained liquid from caramelized apples
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 pinch cornstarch
1 teaspoon water 

Directions

  • Peel and dice the apple and arrange the pieces in an even layer on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
  • In a small pot, cover the sugar with enough water, about ½ oz, to completely coat the apples and cook over medium heat until it caramelizes and takes on a golden color.
  • Remove the caramel from the heat and whisk in the apple cider vinegar.
  • Whisk in the butter, vanilla paste and salt until the butter is melted and everything is combined, then pour over the chopped apples on the sheet pan.
  • Cover the pan with foil and cook in the oven at 350 °F until the apples are tender, checking every 10 minutes.
  • Strain out the liquid from the caramelized apples and reserve for the sauce.
  • Bring the apple liquid to a boil with the maple syrup over medium-high heat.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl to make a slurry
  • Add the slurry into the boiling apple liquid mixture and cook for a few minutes until the sauce thickens.
  • Coat the reserved caramelized apples with the sauce and cool everything down. 

For oat streusel:

⅔ cup light brown sugar, packed
⅓ cup all purpose flour
½ cup rolled oats
1 pinch cinnamon
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon vanilla paste
4.5 ounces butter, cold and cubed 

Directions  

  • Mix everything except the butter into a bowl or mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on low speed.
  • Add in the cold, cubed butter and mix on medium speed until crumbs form.

For buttermilk ice cream:

18 ounces heavy cream
1 ¼ cup sugar, divided
3 tablespoons milk powder
1 teaspoon salt
5 ounces egg yolks
20 ounces buttermilk 

Directions  

  • Combine the heavy cream and 1 cup of the sugar in a medium saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • While the heavy cream heats up, whisk the milk powder, salt and remaining sugar together in a medium bowl until combined. Whisk in the egg yolks.
  • Once it begins to bowl, lower the heat slightly and gradually whisk a bit of the hot cream into the egg mixture, tempering the yolks, and add back to the saucepan. Continue cooking the mixture over medium heat until it thickens and reaches 180 degrees F on a digital thermometer.
  • Strain the mixture into a large bowl and add the cold buttermilk. Let cool, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Process in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions.

For apple chips:

1 Granny Smith apple
14 ounces sugar
28 ounces water 

Directions  

  • Slice the apple very thinly using a mandolin or sharp knife, adding the slices to a bowl of cold water mixed with a splash of lemon juice to keep them from browning.
  • In the meantime, combine the water and sugar in a large saucepan over high heat and cook until the sugar dissolves and begins to boil, but does not caramelize.
  • Drop the apple slices in the sugar syrup and boil for 30 seconds. Remove using a slotted spoon and lay the slices out on a sheet pan lined with a silpat to cool.
  • Place the sheet pan in a 200 degree F oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until the slices have dried.