Townsman’s Roasted Carrots with Smoked Almond Purée
Townsman has been described as the ultimate brasserie-inspired, nose-to-tail New England restaurant. One thing’s for sure — at this neighborhood favorite, Chef Matt Jennings knows how to celebrate the bounty of the Northeast on menus bursting with sustainable, seasonal flavors and ingredients. We caught up with him recently to ask him about his favorite dish.
Could describe this dish?
It’s with carrots that we actually brine in a whey. We make a lot of ricotta in house so we’ll take that whey and brine vegetables in it, pan roast them and keep basting and glazing them — developing and caramelizing those flavors and the natural sugars of the vegetables. We roast the carrots and serve them with a smoked almond purée along with some corn that’s been charred, turned into a crema and spread on the plate. It’s just a beautiful, very seasonal vegetable dish.
How does it represent what you’re doing at Townsman?
I think we are perpetually tagged as being a real meat-centric restaurant. But I think that’s just part of the truth. The real truth is I’m very proud of the way that we’re celebrating vegetables right now. It’s that time of year, and when we come into this time of year in New England, it’s our moment as chefs to embrace what we’ve been missing the other nine months of the year. And we feel a great opportunity and obligation to really let the ingredients shine on the plate. It’s a keystone for the whole operation.
Townsman's interior. Photo provided by Townsman
What drinks pair best with your menu?
We certainly look to celebrate local beers. There are so many in the New England region. If you’re an oenophile, the best way to head is toward wines that tend to be more mineral and stony. Whites from Alsace, German Rieslings, Gewurztraminer — things like that are great with our food. They tend to provide just enough of a tart-acid balance that helps really accentuate the flavors of our food which are anything but shy and really flavor forward. So those are always good anchors for all that stuff.
For more on this Boston restaurateur, husband and father, check out our interview with him here.