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Edible Art

A leader of Chicago’s culinary vanguard, Curtis Duffy, of the three-Michelin-star Grace, reveals the genius behind a new spring dish of parsnip, black olive, blood orange, and burgundy spinach.

Photo: Jason Little

1 Parsnip

“Simplicity is beautiful,” says Duffy, who sometimes flips through art books for inspiration. Here, a curl of raw parsnip contrasts visually and texturally with a cube of parsnip-coconut custard and dots of caramelized parsnip purée. “I’ll probably keep messing with the shape of the custard. I don’t like things that look too symmetrical.”

2 Black olives

Salt-cured, finely chopped, and arranged in a crescent that echoes the curve of the fennel shaving above, the olives have “a really concentrated flavor and brininess.”

3 Blood orange

Duffy breaks up the richness of the parsnip elements with the acidity of blood orange (in the form of wedges and a sauce), the tartness of red-leafed wood sorrel, and the mild bite of a green onion purée.

4 Burgundy spinach

Duffy uses both the stem and the leaf of this colorful, tender green. “The spinach goes through a freeze-thaw process as it grows, and that makes it sweeter and sweeter.”


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