Publication Date: March 27, 2012
A master class on vegetables with award-winning cookbook author and renowned cooking instructor James Peterson
Have you ever purchased bundles of ingredients at the farmers’ market only to arrive home and wonder what on earth to do with your bag of fiddlehead ferns, zucchini flowers, bamboo shoots, or cactus pads? Treat yourself to an in-depth education with Vegetables, acclaimed author and teacher James Peterson’s comprehensive guide to identifying, selecting, and preparing ninety-five vegetables—from amaranth to zucchini—along with information on dozens of additional varieties and cultivars.
Peterson’s classical French training and decades of teaching experience inform his impeccable presentation of every vegetable preparation technique and cooking method. You’ll begin by stemming, seeding, peeling, chopping, slicing, dicing, mincing, crushing, and pureeing, then explore less familiar but no-less-useful skills such as turning turnips, charring chile peppers, and frenching French green beans. Once the prepping is complete, Peterson explains the intricacies of the many methods for cooking each vegetable, from the most straightforward boiling, braising, steaming, and stir-frying techniques, to the more elaborate and flavor intense grilling, glazing, roasting, sauteing, and deep-frying. The text is further enhanced with handsome full-color photography and useful extras, like time-saving workarounds, tips on seasonal purchasing, storage recommendations, and suggestions for kitchen tools you’ll really use.
Woven in with the fundamentals is Peterson’s collection of some 300 recipes that showcase the versatility of vegetables in both familiar and unexpected ways. He offers dozens of refreshing salads; plenty of soups and rich, flavorful stews; crowd-pleasing casseroles and pastas; soul-comforting gratins and risottos; and perfect, hand-crafted gnocchi. There are some surprises, as well. For instance, the hardworking cabbage is pickled, potted, steamed, stir-fried, stuffed, and slawed, but when it appears in the Cabbage Potée with Braised Duck Legs, it is transformed into a black-tie entree. The Baked Morels Stuffed with Foie Gras is an unapologetically upscale variation on basic stuffed mushrooms, and in his iconic Eggplant Parmesan, Peterson confesses to changing the recipe every time he makes it—and urges you to do the same!
So the next time you spot some salsify at the farmers’ market, don’t be daunted—buy some and give the Artichoke, Morel, and Salisfy Salad a chance. If tender little broccolini show up in your neighborhood grocer’s, be sure to try the savory-sweet Broccolini with Pancetta, Anchovies, and Raisins. And when your fifth backyard bumper crop of summer tomatoes has your family longing for take-out after weeks of tomato soup, tomato salads, and tomato sauces, bring them back to the table with Twice-Baked Garlic and Tomato Soufflés. Whether you’re an iconoclastic cook looking to broaden your culinary horizons, or a tradition-minded home chef hoping to polish your prep skills while expanding your repertoire, Vegetables will become your essential go-to reference.
Vegetables, Revised: The Most Authoritative Guide to Buying, Preparing, and Cooking, with More than 300 Recipes
Sounds great. I've used Marian Morash's Victory Garden Cookbook for many years. Same thing - it's my go to book when I pick or buy a vegetable and don't know what to do with it. But maybe it's time for something new.