cover image Vegetable Simple: A Cookbook

Vegetable Simple: A Cookbook

Eric Ripert. Random House, $35 (256p) ISBN 978-0593-13248-7

Ripert, the chef at Michelin-starred Le Bernardin, follows his 2016 memoir 32 Yolks with an excellent celebration of the vegetable dishes that have sustained him since childhood. Known for his seafood, Ripert bestows equal elegance and care to plant-based recipes, most of which call for few ingredients and focus on techniques that heighten a singular essence. A two-minute rest in salt enhances the flavor and texture of small cucumbers. Celery root is roasted whole, the flesh pureed with milk, butter, salt and pepper, then served in its hollowed-out bulb. Throughout, the close-up photos by Nigel Parry elevate Ripert’s work to edible art forms. Vanilla-flecked caramel makes baked apples glisten, and the crispness of asparagus tempura is visually undeniable. For the latter, the chef shares pro secrets: use cake flour and sparkling water for the batter, and add sesame oil to the canola frying oil. His expertise extends to shopping for vegetables, and he urges cooks to touch and smell before they buy and, ideally, to shop for what’s in season a day or two before it’s used. This stunning, thoughtful guide to cooking with vegetables will delight home cooks. (Apr.)