You can also jazz up the court bouillon with spices other than the traditional coriander -- dried fennel seeds or star anise are lovely with fennel; celery seed compliments tender celery stalks or celeriac, or you can get really creative and toss in a few dried chiles, a handful of Tellicherry peppercorns, slices of lime, even a vanilla bean.
"A little richness rounds things out," Strong says of the consommé -- though a good commercial chicken broth works fine too.
Instead of cooking the vegetables first in olive oil or adding it to the bouillon, Strong finishes the dish with a fruity olive oil from Barcelona.
Giraud first sautées onions in olive oil, then adds white wine that he's flambéed and reduced, as well as stock, aromatics and herbs ("most important, of course, is coriander, the smallest seeds you can find") to the poaching liquid.
Vegetables à la grecque, Giraud says, "is a great base" to build upon; he adds fresh vegetables to those he's poached and chilled to play with the textures and flavors.
In the summer, he'll toss in some cherry tomatoes, a squeeze of lemon juice, maybe fresh mint or basil or cilantro, and then finish with a good California olive oil.
Philip Tessier, chef de cuisine at Bouchon (and former sous chef at Per Se), says that he'll use his boss' basic recipe for vegetables à la grecque and then vary it. "It could be a component on its own, or as part of another dish," he says.
So Tessier will make artichokes prepared à la grecque (see the recipe in the "Bouchon" cookbook) and toss in some chorizo or cooked chick peas. Or both, he says.
"Everybody buys the same carrots," Tessier says. "It's how you use the technique that makes the difference."