Paul Gayler, executive chef at the Lanesborough Hotel, the U.K.'s five-star hotel for cuisine, started his cooking career in the vegetable section. He has remained enamored and, inspired and "seduced" by the Mediterranean and the Far East, he has amassed a collection of unforgettable recipes with vegetables in the starring roles. A Passion for Vegetables is not, however, a vegetarian cookbook, as there are a few recipes that call for ingredients such as shellfish, sardines, and beef stock, although any of those recipes can be adjusted.
"Taste buds are at their sharpest at the beginning of a meal," says Galer, so he offers some of his most exciting recipes right from the start. Potato and Goat's Cheese Soup with White Truffle Oil, Corn Bisque with Cheese and Smoked Bacon, Baked Artichokes with Coddled Eggs Niçoise, and Beefsteak Tomatoes with Sardine and Fennel Risotto are all memorable. Stunning photography convinces you not to skip over recipes such as Pan-Fried Asparagus with New-Season Morels and Mediterranean-Style Fennel.
Chapters on main courses, side dishes, and desserts follow. Divided by type (fungi, cabbage, pods and seeds, vegetable fruits, etc.), Galer is creative, enthusiastic, and sometimes downright brilliant with his combinations. Stuffed Artichoke Rosti with Brie, Bacon, and Cumin is shown "cut open ... to reveal an oozing blend of soft cheese and smoky bacon." Marinated and Broiled Teriyaki Shiitakes made with sake, mirin, and garlic are inspired. Baked Eggplants with Samfaina (a type of Spanish ratatouille) are the epitome of comfort food, as is the Thai Coconut-Scented Eggplant with Nam Pla.
And Galer doesn't forget dessert. Among them are Fennel and Caramelized Banana Stacks made with phyllo layers, a wonderful, light fennel mousse, and richly caramelized bananas. For the more adventurous, there's Coconut Milk, Yoghurt, and Red Chile Sorbet.
Galer is a master chef, but his recipes are clear and easy to follow. The lists of ingredients are not complicated, and he is generous with his tips. From a shortcut to peeling small onions and shallots to the difference between types of potatoes to warnings against adding cream before puréeing, Galer is encouraging, informative, and a pleasure to cook with. --Leora Y. Bloom --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Suffused with inspiring ideas and a sense of genuine curiosity, Gayler's book is a paean to fine dining and the simple pleasures the earth can provide. Gayler often achieves eye-popping results with just a handful of ingredients in innovative marriages, as in Iced Cucumber and Almond Soup, Pan-Fried Asparagus and New-Season Morels, and Fava Beans and Salsify with Garlic Cream. London chef Gayler (A Passion for Cheese) uses a single condiment for balance, resulting in simple, powerful gestures: Balsamic Glazed Red Chicory, Saffron-braised Potatoes with Paprika, Lemongrass-Glazed Carrots and Pink Radishes. An impressive compendium of the world's sauces, from chermoula and tarator to tzatziki and sambal is prominently on display throughout the book. And lest anyone doubt that vegetables can find their way to the dessert tray, Gayler deftly pairs the sweeter ones with fruit (Swiss Chard and Pear Tart, Butternut Squash and Orange Sorbet). Essays on the vegetable families are interspersed throughout the book; categorized as "roots and tubers," "thistles and shoots," "pods and seeds," they show a refreshing awareness of where vegetables come from and how they are grown. This unpretentious book treats vegetables with clarity, elegance and respect.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.