Richmond's Pantry

Jo Pendergraph's Must-Have Pantry Items

By Constance Costas / Photography By Shell B Royster | May 01, 2015
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Espelette pepper
French espelette pepper's smoky heat sparks everything from roasted vegetables to eggs.

Jo and Rob Pendergraph grow the herbs, edible flowers, microgreens and baby lettuces favored by chefs from Charlottesville to Tidewater. Both avid cooks, the couple behind Manakintowne greens combine their enthusiasm for new flavors with a respect for classic flavors. We asked Jo to share the go-to ingredients stocked in their Powhatan pantry.

Greens, of course, but two in particular we keep in the house fridge: Microgreens are incredibly nutritious. We tuck them into wraps, serve with pasta or next to a nice grilled salmon. And bitter chicories—we love the way radicchio, escarole, dandelion and Sugarloaf chicory complement strong flavors like anchovies, capers, olives and feta.

Pickles. We make bread-and-butter, green tomato and Jerusalem artichoke pickles in our farm kitchen every year and we have them every day, literally. For a time, Powhatan artist Julien Binford’s mother made the Jerusalem artichoke pickles for Miller & Rhoads. Her recipe dates back to the 1920s, at least. I’d share it, but I’m sworn to secrecy. 

Espellette. We are newly enamored of this wonderful pepper plant of French origin. It’s similar to paprika, but with a wonderful savory flavor and just enough heat to use liberally, so you really get the flavor of the pepper. Espellette enhances everything from eggs to grilled meats, Bloody Marys, pasta and shrimp. We found seeds from a UK source last year and it has quickly become a major go-to for us. We keep espellette flakes and sauce by the stove, always.

Soup bones from Brookview Farm are incredibly meaty, with lots of marrow for flavor and sustenance. With a mix of herbs and veggies, they make the most heavenly stock.

Goat feta from Goats-R-Us is fantastic with our grilled chicory salad (recipe below), crumbled in a quiche or to nibble alongside olives and pimientos de Padrón while we cook. We always try to have goat feta handy and ration ourselves when the goats are in kid and supplies are low. 

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