Chef Adam Brown’s approach to cooking is simple:
“We just cook the right way,’’ said Brown, executive chef at The Cooper restaurant in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
The “right way’’ has made The Cooper one of the more popular restaurants in South Florida and Brown one of the area’s top chefs specializing in farm-to-table cuisine.
Here’s a look at some of my favorite culinary creations from Brown’s Winter menu:
The Farmer’s Market Vegetable Palette featuring stewed kohlrabi, rainbow carrots, braised red cabbage, hearts of palm cakes, cauliflower t-bone, broccolini, roasted beet quinoa and squash puree.
The Winter Harvest Salad featuring roasted beets and acorn squash, hearty greens, toasted pepitas, goat cheese, pickled wax beans and cider vinaigrette is another good (and delicious) example of Brown’s farm-to-table philosophy that focuses on local products, as is the Pan-Roasted Diver Scallops with local Kai Kai Farm “Happy Rich” broccolini, roasted beet quinoa, calabaza squash puree and beet-walnut vinaigrette.
“‘Happy Rich’ is from the brassica family of veggies and also known as ‘Chinese Kale’ with some little broccoli florets on top,’’ Brown said. “It tastes like a mild broccoli that doesn’t get bitter or woody – even the stems are crunchy and juicy. This cross is very similar to the ‘broccolini,’ but that, I believe, has yellow flowers, while this has white, which I think goes nicely with its delicate nature.’’
Among the more popular mainstays on The Cooper menu is Za’atar Grilled Salmon with zucchini pancakes, red and black quinoa pilaf, pomegranate-beet citronette, mint yogurt; and the Double-Cut Duroc Pork Chop with roasted sweet and fingerling potato salad, beer braised collard greens, dried fig-apricot compote.
“The different muscles give it different flavors,’’ Brown said of The Cooper Burger.
On the subject of flavors, don’t pass up The Cooper Sundae, possibly the best and more decadent dessert in South Florida. The Cooper Sundae features vanilla ice cream, brûléed bananas, hot chocolate fudge, salted caramel, spiced pecans, whipped cream and amarena cherries.
The Cooper Sundae might not qualify as farm-to-table, but spoon to stomach works just as well.
Feature picture: LibbyVision