cover image The Vegetarian Table: France

The Vegetarian Table: France

Georgeanne Brennan, Chronicle Books. Chronicle Books, $22.95 (144pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-0474-5

Although France does not have a vegetarian tradition per se, Brennan (Potager) gathers 75 recipes that reflect the characteristic French insistence on ``ingredients that are fresh, seasonal, and regional.'' The opening section on basics includes recipes for broths, sauces and infused oils and vinegars that are often called for in the dishes that follow. Garlic Vinaigrette, a flavorful variant of the classic, puts a lovely zing into a simple green salad, while the slightly sweet Balsamic Vinaigrette complements the bitterness of a Grilled Radicchio. Many of the recipes showcase a single vegetable--Brussels Sprouts Poached in Cider with Onions and Apples, Saute of Baby Spinach--while some of the main courses offer tasty combinations of spring or winter vegetables in ragouts or mixed grills. A versatile ratatouille can be served hot, cold or with pasta, omelets or polenta. And of course there are desserts--fruit tarts and a crispy pear gratin that can be equally flavorful with apples or blueberries. While not all recipes are easy to prepare (e.g., Artichokes Stuffed with Fennel Duxelles), directions are clear. Photographs are by the late John Vaughan. (Sept.)