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Legumes de saison

Time 10 hours
Yields Serves 8
Legumes de saison
(Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times )

Vegetable stock

1

Coarsely chop the carrots, celery and leek, and place in a large pot with the water. Add the garlic, bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 45 minutes. Strain and set aside. This makes about 1 gallon vegetable stock.

Sunchokes

1

Heat the oven to 500 degrees.

2

Wash the sunchokes using a soft brush to remove all dirt, then cut into bite-sized pieces.

3

Heat a saute pan just large enough to hold the sunchoke pieces comfortably in a single layer over medium-high heat until hot, then add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the butter.

4

Once the butter is melted and golden, add the sunchokes and season with salt, stirring until the pieces are evenly coated with fat and seasoning.

5

Place the pan, uncovered, in the oven and cook until the sunchokes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes; they should be as soft as a marshmallow when pierced and golden-brown. Stir the pieces every 5 to 8 minutes for even roasting.

6

Remove from heat and set aside.

Celery

1

Bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil and prepare an ice bath. Meanwhile, peel the outer fibrous part of the celery and cut the stalk crosswise into “U”-shaped pieces.

2

Add the baking soda to the water, then the celery. Blanch the celery until tender, about 1 minute, then strain and shock in the ice bath to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.

Celeriac

1

Clean the celeriac and remove the tough outer skin with a knife. Cut the root into bite-size (1-inch) pieces.

2

Heat a sauté pan just large enough to hold the celeriac pieces comfortably in a single layer over medium heat, then add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the butter.

3

Add the celeriac and season with celery salt. Add the garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, and making sure the celeriac doesn’t color.

4

Add enough stock and lemon juice to cover the celeriac, then cover with a lid and cook over medium heat until the celeriac is almost tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

5

Remove the lid and add the thyme. Continue cooking until the liquid is reduced to a syrup-like consistency that coats the celeriac, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt if needed.

Kohlrabi

1

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, peel the kohlrabi and cut it into eighths.

2

Heat a sauté pan just large enough to hold the kohlrabi comfortably in a single layer over medium-high heat until hot, then add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan.

3

Add the kohlrabi and garlic, season with salt and cover with a lid.

4

Place the pan in the oven and cook until the kohlrabi is fork tender. Add the thyme and toss for a couple of minutes to marry the flavors, then remove the kohlrabi and set aside.

Chestnut

1

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

2

Fill a large, heavy-bottom pot with enough grape seed oil to come up the sides by three inches. Heat the oil until a thermometer inserted reaches 350 degrees.

3

Meanwhile, peel the chestnuts: Using a razor blade or sharp knife, score the chestnuts with an X on the flat side of the shell. Deep-fry the chestnuts until the shells are darkened and the shells begin to curl where they have been scored, about 30 seconds. Strain the chestnuts to another heavy pan fitted with a lid. Set the chestnuts aside to steam for about 5 minutes, then remove the shells and outer skins from the chestnuts (rubbing the chestnuts in a towel will also help remove the skins).

4

Heat a sauté pan just large enough to hold the chestnuts comfortably in a single layer over medium heat, then add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the butter.

5

Once the butter is melted and golden, add the chestnuts and season with salt and sugar, stirring until the pieces are evenly coated with fat and seasoning. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chestnuts are golden-brown on all sides.

6

Add the stock to the pan, as well as garlic, star anise and dried fennel stem. Bring the stock to a boil.

7

Remove the pan from heat, cover it with a lid and place it in the oven. When the chestnuts are nearing fork tenderness, remove the lid, add the thyme and finish cooking until the chestnuts are tender and the liquid is reduced to a glaze. Remove from heat and set aside.

Rutabaga

1

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

2

Heat a sauté pan just large enough to hold the rutabaga comfortably in a single layer over medium heat, then add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan.

3

Add the rutabaga, season with salt and cover the pan with a lid. Place the pan in the oven and cook until the rutabaga is tender, 16 to 20 minutes. Halfway through roasting, add the garlic.

4

When the rutabaga is tender, add the thyme and toss for a couple of minutes to marry the flavors. Remove the rutabaga and set it aside.

Carrots

1

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

2

Heat a sauté pan just large enough to hold the carrots comfortably in a single layer over medium heat, then add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan.

3

Add the carrots, season with salt and sugar and stir until the carrots are evenly coated with oil, cooking until the oil begins to take on an orange tint, about 3 minutes. Cover the pan with a lid, and place the pan in the oven.

4

When the carrots are almost tender, stir in the garlic and thyme and continue to cook a couple of minutes to marry the flavors. Remove the carrots and set aside.

Watermelon radish

1

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel and quarter the radishes.

2

Heat a sauté pan just large enough to hold the radishes comfortably in a single layer over medium heat, then add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan.

3

Add the watermelon radish and stir until evenly coated with oil. Season with the salt and sugar. Place the pan, uncovered, in the oven to roast the radishes.

4

When the radishes are almost fork tender, return the pan to the stove. Add the garlic, thyme and verjus. Cook over medium heat until the liquid is mostly evaporated and thickened to a glaze, coating the radishes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Yellow baby beets

1

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel and quarter the beets.

2

Heat a sauté pan just large enough to hold the radishes comfortably in a single layer over medium heat, then add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan.

3

Add the beets and salt and cook, stirring for 1 to 2 minutes, then place the pan in the oven.

4

Roast the beets until fork tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Halfway through roasting, add the garlic. When the beets are almost done, add the thyme and cover the pan to steam the beets until completely tender.

Red cabbage

1

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

2

Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the oil and sweat the ginger and garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the cabbage and season with salt and sugar.

3

Once the cabbage is softened, add the verjus and stock. Place the pan in the oven and cook until the cabbage is tender with a slight bite, and the liquid is absorbed or evaporated. Remove from heat and set aside.

Savoy cabbage

1

Bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil and prepare an ice bath.

2

Add the baking soda to the water, then the cabbage. Blanch the cabbage until tender, about 1 minute, then strain and shock in the ice bath to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.

Easter egg radish

1

Peel the radishes until there is only white, saving the peels.

2

Place the peels in a small saucepan, then cover with water and add the verjus, garlic and thyme and bring to a boil. Season with salt and sugar.

3

Once the stock is colored a bright red, strain it into a sauté pan large enough to hold the radishes comfortably in a single layer. Add the radishes and bring to a boil. Simmer the radishes until they are fork tender and bright red, and the cooking liquid reduces to a syrup that coats the radishes. (If the stock reduces too quickly before the radishes are done, add additional water as needed.)

4

Cool the radishes, then halve each one. Set aside.

Red swiss chard

1

Wash the chard and remove the leaves from the stems (save the leaves for another use). Peel the outer skin from each stem and slice the stems, on the bias, into diamond shapes, saving the stem peelings and trimmings.

2

Combine the chard peelings and trimmings, along with the sugar, verjus and salt in a saucepan. Add enough stock just until it covers the trimmings. Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 8 to 10 minutes.

3

Strain the stock, discarding the trimmings, and place in a clean saucepan. Bring the stock to a simmer. Cook the chard in the liquid until it is tender, then add the butter and thyme. Cook until the liquid is reduced to a glaze that coats the vegetables. Remove from heat, taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary, then set aside.

Yellow cauliflower

1

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the cauliflower into bite-size florets.

2

Heat a sauté pan just large enough to hold the cauliflower comfortably in a single layer over medium-high heat, then add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the oil, then place the cauliflower in the pan, flat pieces facing the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle over the remaining salt.

3

Cover the pan with a lid and roast the cauliflower in the oven until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool with the lid on.

Purple cauliflower

1

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the cauliflower into bite-size florets.

2

Heat a sauté pan just large enough to hold the cauliflower comfortably in a single layer over medium-high heat, then add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the oil, then place the cauliflower in the pan, flat pieces facing the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle over the remaining salt.

3

Cover the pan with a lid and roast the cauliflower in the oven until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool with the lid on.

Butternut squash

1

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel, seed and cut the butternut squash into bite-size pieces.

2

Heat a sauté pan just large enough to hold the squash comfortably in a single layer over medium-high heat, then add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the squash and season with the salt.

3

Cover the pan with a lid and roast the squash in the oven until tender, about 15 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as desired. Set aside.

Baby turnips

1

Bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil and prepare an ice bath.

2

Add the baking soda to the water, then the turnips. Blanch the turnips until tender, 6 to 8 minutes, then strain and shock in the ice bath to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.

Vegetable jus vinaigrette

1

Heat a large, heavy-bottom saucepan over low heat and add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot. Add the butter. When the butter is melted (make sure it does not brown), add the carrots, onion, celery, fennel, leek, cabbage, celeriac, kohlrabi and turnip. Sweat the vegetables until they are softened, at least 20 minutes.

2

Add the thyme and enough stock to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and strain, discarding the solids.

3

Continue cooking the broth until it is reduced to a glaze. Remove from heat, taste and adjust the seasoning with salt. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons vinegar, or as desired, then finish with a little extra olive oil. Set aside.

Shaved vegetables

1

Shave the carrot, radishes and beets crosswise into very thin coins. Set aside in an ice bath until ready to garnish each serving.

1

Heat a medium saute pan over medium-low heat. Add enough oil to cover the bottom and melt a tablespoon or two of butter. Add the radishes, red cabbage and chard, allong with enough vegetable stock to steam, and gently heat the vegetables until warmed through. Separately, reheat all of the remaining cooked vegetables together the same way.

2

Reheat the vegetable jus vinaigrette.

3

Drain and spin all the shaved vegetables in a small salad spinner.

4

In eight warm bowls “dispose with harmony” all the vegetables, drizzle the jus vinaigrette over them and finish with the shaved vegetables. Garnish with celery leaves, a drizzle of navette or nut oil, if using, and the borage flowers, if using. Serve immediately.

Adapted from a recipe by chef Tony Esnault of Spring Restaurant in downtown Los Angeles. For the dried fennel stem in the chestnut sub-recipe, place a fennel stem in a dehydrator overnight or until completely dried.

Amy Scattergood is a staff writer for the Food section of the Los Angeles Times.
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