With the arrival of spring (can summer be far behind?), it’s time to give vegetables center stage. The following cookbooks give plenty of options for enjoying vegetable based meals in the coming months.
A great place to start a veggie education is Deborah Madison’s stunning reference: Vegetable Literacy: Cooking and Gardening with Twelve Families from the Edible Plant Kingdom (Ten Speed). Madison) arranges vegetables by family, and shows how to use them interchangeably in cooking. With new and innovative recipes perfect for spring, here are some outstanding ones to try: griddled asparagus with tarragon butter, and artichokes with walnut sauce.
For a fascinating and fresh spin on Italian food, there’s The Duke’s Table the life’s work of Enrico Alliata, the Duke of Salaparuta, born in 1879. The aristocrat and gourmand, identified himself as a vegetarian and advocated a vegetarian lifestyle when such an idea was unheard of. Plenty of inspiration for warm weather includes a Sicilian “frittella” (fresh vegetable medley) with green peas, artichokes and fava beans, and beets with béchamel. A section on raw courses is especially appealing for summer with recipes for artichokes with mayonnaise; fennel with a nut dressing; and escarole and beets.
Tyler Florence, a familiar face, further assures us that vegetables can pack a punch in Tyler Florence Fresh (Clarkson Potter). Baby beets, avocado, grapefruit, quinoa, and sorrel as well as Zucchini Ricotta Fritters with grapefruit aioli, pine nuts, and basil will have you happily planning a special picnic.
Mr. Wilkinson’s Vegetables: A Cookbook to Celebrate the Seasons (Black Dog & Leventhal) offers up delicious spring recipes like baked fennel, breadcrumbs and herbs with or without anchovy, as well as a plate of spinach, mustard greens, and baked ricotta cheese.
For a sneak peak at what’s coming soon, out in May from Ten Speed Press is River Cottage Veg: 200 Inspired Vegetable Recipes by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who uses spring greens in kale speltotto (a risotto Fearnley-Whittingstall makes with organic spelt instead of rice) with goat. Beautifully simple layouts, photographs and mouth watering recipes welcome the change of season and showcase elegant food that will indeed convince you to go veg.