Vegetables

James Peterson, Author, Justin Schwartz, Editor William Morrow Cookbooks $35 (448p) ISBN 978-0-688-14658-0
Peterson, whose Sauces won IACP Cookbook-of-the-Year in 1992 and whose Fish & Shellfish won a 1997 IACP award, will no doubt earn more honors with his latest, a collection of over 300 recipes so imaginative and inviting that even veggie-phobes will rejoice. Accepting the challenge of making something tasty out of supermarket produce (and occasionally making use of dairy and meat products), Peterson proves to be more than up to the task. In the first third of the book, he suggests cooking techniques for over 60 vegetables, from artichokes to zucchinis, along the way providing countless tips--such as uses for fennel stems (dry them and toss on a barbecue to scent grilled food; use fresh ones to enliven stocks and stews). The rest of the book is devoted to ""The Dishes"" and covers everything from Vegetable Salads to Pasta, Gnocchi and Risotto, not to mention Fried Vegetables and Vegetable Stews. Many recipes are inspired. When preparing Dried Bean and Mussel Salad, cook the beans in the mussel broth for deeper flavor; create a savory side dish for roast beef or turkey with Shallots Glazed with Black Currant Liqueur; blend classic flavors in a hearty Italian-Style Kale and Garlic Soup with Prosciutto. Particularly helpful is a chart of yields per vegetable. Peterson doesn't worry much about fats, and may convince readers to abandon these cares as well--at least temporarily. Leek Gratin for four calls for a cup of heavy cream; Risotto with Dried Porcini or Morels, a first course for four, glistens with a stick of butter. Even so, Peterson's unpretentious tone and his deft way of amplifying vegetables' siren songs make this book uncommonly captivating. First serial to Gourmet; second serial to Food & Wine; BOMC main selection; author tour; rights held by Goodman Associates. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998
Release date: 07/01/1998
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