by James Peterson. 400 pages. Publisher: Ten Speed Press; Revised edition (March 27, 2012)
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, sautéing, 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.
Using the treasures from the earth, Chez Panisse Vegetables offers endless possibilities for any occasion. Try Grilled Radicchio Risotto with Balsamic Vinegar at your next dinner party, or Pizza with Red and Yellow Peppers for a summer evening at home. Why not forgo green-leaf lettuce, and opt for Artichoke and Grapefruit Salad drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil? Or serve Corn Cakes with fresh berries for breakfast instead of cereal?
Cooks, gardeners, vegetarians and everyone who appreciates good food will find Chez Panisse Vegetables to be not only a cookbook, but a valuable resource for selecting and serving fine produce. From popular vegetables like corn, tomatoes and carrots, to more unusual selections like chard, amaranth greens and sorrel, Vegetables offers detailed information about the seasonal availability, proper look, flavor and preparation of each selection.