John Kernick

The "first lady of meat" says this is the right (and only) way to cook vegetables.

Elisabeth Sherman
May 24, 2018

When I ask Angie Mar — executive chef at NYC's Beatrice Inn and a 2017 Food & Wine Best New Chef — if she’s been working with any vegetables lately, she simply laughs and says “No,” with a definitive shake of her head. It takes her a moment before she backtracks.

“I shouldn’t say that. I always have a good romaine salad on the side,” she admits.

When pressed, however, Mar does admit that there is one way to prepare vegetables (other than lettuce) that she can get behind. 

“Cook them in beef fat,” she says with absolutely zero hesitation. She doesn’t even suggest an alternative method, just repeats the directive again. “In beef fat.”

This is, clearly, the best way for meat-lovers and grilling fanatics to prepare their vegetables. And if you’re one of those people who needs serious goading to even get one vegetable on your plate, her technique actually makes good sense. You may even forget you're eating vegetables at all.

“What I really love to do is use the rendered drippings, so that I’m using the whole animal,” she explains.  “I cook beef, and while it’s resting, use the fat in the pan to sauté carrots or green beans.”

Mar’s method is incredibly versatile: It works with just about any vegetable side that goes with steaks, including sautéed spinach or kale. Plus, this technique cuts down on waste. Instead of pouring the rendered beef fat down the drain, you can easily integrate it into another part of your meal.

While Mar typically uses beef fat to add an extra dimension of flavor to her sautéed vegetables, you might also try using the animal fat to roast your vegetable sides, too. One method is to toss vegetables like cauliflower or Brussel sprouts in chicken fat before roasting, or you can simply pour the rendered fat from the pan onto potatoes before sticking them in the oven to brown.

Alternatively, you can take a page straight out of Mar’s playbook: Treat your vegetables just like you do your steaks, and throw them straight on the grill.