VEGETATE WITH IN­TEN­TION

SAVEUR - - Season To Taste -

GET PICKY

You can look a fish in the eye or smell the sweet­ness of ripe fruit, but veg­eta­bles are harder to read. Look for the bright­est col­ors and the firmest, blem­ish-free flesh. Their aroma should be clean, earthy, and sweet. If dirt still clings, it too should smell rich like gar­den soil, not mildew.

For this recipe, you want a va­ri­ety of col­ors, tex­tures, and fla­vors, all of which can be en­hanced by the way they’re chopped, shaved, or carved. Look for bras­si­cas such as cab­bage, Brus­sels sprouts, and broc­coli for their rich, bit­ter fla­vor. Roots like radishes, beets, and car­rots bring nat­u­ral sweet­ness, earth­i­ness, and color. Stems and stalks, like as­para­gus and cel­ery, pro­vide a dis­tinct crunch. Beans and other legumes (in the pod or out), al­li­ums (onions, leeks, scal­lions, and shal­lots), and toma­toes and cu­cum­bers (both tech­ni­cally fruits), are all wel­come. Whit­tle radishes to points, curl car­rots into rib­bons, keep tiny toma­toes whole. The goal is to treat each el­e­ment art­fully, with pur­pose.

TAKE STOCK

In classic French cui­sine, stocks are used as a sup­port­ing base or back­ground, and are usu­ally un­sea­soned, so the dish can be fin­ished with salt or pep­per as de­sired. You don’t even need to add aro­mat­ics: Sim­ply steep and sim­mer chicken bones or kombu sheets in wa­ter to ex­tract max­i­mum fla­vor. (You can think of it like an in­fu­sion.) The goal is to cre­ate umami, or the elu­sive fla­vor of glu­ta­mate: a prod­uct of two amino acids found in pro­tein (glu­tamic acid and ala­nine) that sup­ports and am­pli­fies other fla­vors. Us­ing stock in two ways here bol­sters the veg­eta­bles’ fla­vor and en­riches the al­mond cream.

COOK WITH AN AC­CENT

A dish with so many dis­parate el­e­ments, even if they are all veg­eta­bles, needs some­thing to hold it to­gether. Here, Lau­rent unites the veg­eta­bles with a pool of al­mond cream, which adds fresh fla­vor and rich­ness. Acid, spice, and salt are in­te­grated with dabs of a pun­gent rel­ish of pars­ley, scal­lions, chile paste, pis­ta­chios, and pre­served lemons. To­gether, these ac­cents cre­ate a meld­ing of fla­vor, trans­form­ing veg­eta­bles into a meal.

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