Monica Pope (an F&W Best New Chef 1996) loves the organic pecans from Rio Grande Organics in Quemado Valley, Texas (riograndeorganics.com). At her Houston restaurant, T'afia, she uses the nuts to garnish a salad of quickly grilled zucchini ribbons and creamy-fleshed cranberry beans. Pecan oil enhances the pecans' sweet flavor but the dish is equally delicious without it.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.