By spud b. Turnip

Pascale Beale’s latest culinary treat, Les Légumes: Vegetable Recipes from the Market Table (the third in the Market Table series), revels in cooking with vegetables throughout the seasons. Grouped by key ingredients in 12 chapters, with stunning full-page photos of every recipe, delightful anecdotes, practical tips, and uncomplicated recipes that work every time, Les Légumes transforms vegetable dishes into the highlight of any meal.

Photo: Courtesy of Media 27

The book is a compendium of more than 100 healthy, tempting plant-based dishes, brimming with vibrant hues, innovative ingredients and creative flavor combinations. Featuring simple yet striking tomato-avocado flowers, an ethereal zucchini cappuccino, and a sublimely fresh fennel salad with Asian pears. Flavor packed main courses such as a fragrant eggplant curry with caramelized onions and tomatoes, as well as a mouth-watering asparagus and mushroom quiche, and a show-stopping spring pea, fava bean, and roasted tomato tart are all presented.

In Les Légumes, the author’s recipes were inspired by, amongst other things: a documentary on Louis Comfort Tiffany, discovering fresh buffalo mozzarella in Venice, munching on raw asparagus in a friend’s garden, childhood adventures in the kitchen with her grandmother, and, of course, the food she finds every week at local farmers markets. Her passion for creating fresh and lively dishes is evident in the mouth-watering array of appetizers, soups, salads, and main courses that make up this book.

Highlighting the flavor, textures and colors of over forty different vegetables, Les Légumes is the vegetable cookbook that celebrates eating seasonally with spectacular and creative savory dishes.

Spud B.Turnip eats, reads, writes, and repeats…for a 19th century activist group called The Society for the Prevention of an Unwholesome Diet, or SPUD, which was formed to keep potatoes out of Britain. This group didn’t want anyone eating the tubers. The story was perpetuated in Mario Pei’s 1949 book, The Story of Language.

Roasted Kale and Brussels Sprouts with Dates and Pecans

Blanching or roasting kale for a few minutes softens the leaves, making them a pleasure to eat. This quick and easy side dish becomes a heartier main with the addition of some feta, grilled chicken, or salmon.

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, sliced
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon or walnut mustard
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 16 pitted dates, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup pecans, dry roasted for 2 minutes
  • 3 tablespoons chives, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the Brussels sprouts onto a large rimmed sheet pan or into a large shallow baking dish. Drizzle with half the olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and 5–6 grinds of pepper. Place in the center of the oven and roast for 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and stir in the kale. Roast 8 more minutes.

In a large salad bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar and remaining olive oil to form an emulsion. Add all the roasted vegetables, dates, pecans and chives and toss well together. Correct seasonings and serve warm.

Serves 6 – 8

Daikon, Watermelon Radish & Beet Salad with Nut Mustard Vinaigrette

Photo: Courtesy of Media 27

Roots can be deceptive. From the outside, with their nondescript skins, they may appear uninspiring, giving no indication of the beauty and flavor hiding within. Once peeled and sliced, the candy-cane stripes of Chioggia beets and vibrant pink interiors of watermelon radishes are revealed, and to the cook are as extravagant and appealing as rose petals.

Toasting the pine nuts and pistachios adds an irresistible buttery nuttiness; don’t be tempted to skip that step.

  • 1 small daikon radish
  • 1 watermelon radish
  • 1 raw Chioggia beet
  • 1 raw yellow beet
  • 1 small head red radicchio, leaves separated and torn bite size
  • ¼ cup pistachios
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 1 heaped tablespoon walnut or Dijon mustard
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons chives, finely chopped

Peel all the roots and slice them as thinly as possible, using a mandoline, food processor, or your own excellent knife skills. On a large platter, arrange the daikon and beet slices and radicchio leaves in an attractive manner, interspersing the different varieties and colors.

Dry roast the pistachios and pine nuts in a small pan over low heat for a few minutes until they release their aroma. Immediately scatter the warm nuts over the vegetables.

In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, lemon juice and olive oil to form an emulsion. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables and serve, scattered with chives.

Serves 6 – 8.