Roger Verge's Vegetables in the French Style

Roger Verge's Vegetables in the French Style

by Roger Verge, Bernard Touillon, Edward L. Schneider

Roger VergT's first memories were of the tiny spring vegetables grown by his father. Former proprietor of the world famous Moulin de Mougins in the south of France near Cannes, a restaurant with two stars in the Michelin guide, he was not content to leave vegetables where they are so often consigned by classical French cuisine--as a garnish to accompany meats or


Roger VergT's first memories were of the tiny spring vegetables grown by his father. Former proprietor of the world famous Moulin de Mougins in the south of France near Cannes, a restaurant with two stars in the Michelin guide, he was not content to leave vegetables where they are so often consigned by classical French cuisine--as a garnish to accompany meats or fish--but explored all their culinary possibilities.

The result is Roger VergT's Vegetables in the French Style, a tribute to his love affair with vegetables. It contains 150 recipes for sauces, soups, salads, gratins, terrines, and other ways of bringing out the natural goodness of high-quality produce. Recipe headnotes and sidebars add scores of exciting cooking and serving ideas, encouraging improvisation. Section introductions provide important advice on how to choose the best vegetables in the market. An extensive appendix details the classic methods of vegetable cookery--poaching, sweating, braising, frying, and baking--as well as today's favored methods--steaming, stir-frying, and grilling. One hundred color photographs show elegant and simple finished dishes as well as succulent fresh vegetables.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Verge, founder of the Moulin de Mougins restaurant in the South of France, brings an infectious enthusiasm for vegetable cookery to this book. The recipes reflect his fondness for his adopted home in Provence in their use of olive oil, anchovies and, of course, vegetables. Whether vegetarian, health-conscious or simply looking for new recipes, you'll find something of interest here. In addition to individual vegetables, Verge also provides recipes for vegetable medleys such as three-vegetable quiche with thyme and all-vegetable menus. A very useful chapter on sauces and coulis that enhance and complement the different vegetable flavors also is included. Verge provides strict instructions on how to pick the freshest and best vegetables and which wines complement his creations. Although the recipes are well-written and the comments helpful, inexperienced cooks might be confused by such instructions as ``throw in a handful of salt.'' Likewise, anyone unsure of how to sweat a vegetable had better study Verge's chapter on techniques. Cooks will find that Verge strives to enhance delicate flavors and combine pleasing or intriguing tastes and textures in spinach-coconut flan and glazed pearl onions with dried currants. One caveat: though recipes primarily contain vegetables, many cannot be considered low-fat, as they use butter or olive oil in preparation. (Sept.)
Library Journal
This beautiful book is the result of French master chef Verge's passion for vegetables. He begins with an entire chapter devoted to sauces specifically for vegetables and then moves on to Sun-Drenched Vegetables, Vegetables of the Earth, Vegetables from Afar, and more. Some of the 150 recipes, many illustrated with full-page color photographs, are Verge's version of classic French, particularly Provenal, dishes; others are homey, grandmre-style food; and still others are unusual and innovative dishes, such as stylish Turnip Cakes with Cardamom. Recommended for most collections.
Barbara Jacobs
One of France's most famous chefs features 150 vegetable recipes in this beautifully illustrated collection. Divided by types of vegetables, from sun-drenched to green to earth-bound to exotic, his book offers a good selection of plain and fancy dishes. More than a few are high in fat and calories, yet all will please the palate. As a daily shopper at fresh markets in Provence and environs, he tempers his poetry of the kitchen with some equally elegant prose about various vegetables--"everyone who grows potatoes is a treasure hunter at heart."

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Read an Excerpt

Eggplant Gratin Vieux Peygros

Gratin d'Aubergines du Vieux Peygros

Vieux Peygros, in Mougins, is where they used to grow flowers for the perfume industry, especially violets and jasmine blossoms. I've given its name to this eggplant gratin because it is so fragrant and so evocative of the aromas of the Mougins countryside.

For 4 servings

Preparation: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 65 minutes

2 medium onions, preferably white

About 10 tablespoons olive oil

4 medium eggplants (2 1/4 pounds total)

2 garlic cloves

A few sprigs of savory

1/4 cup chopped parsley

4 ripe medium tomatoes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons bread crumbs

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Peel the onions, slice them thin, and cook over low heat with 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy saucepan; do not let them brown.

Preheat the oven to 550 degrees.

Peel the eggplants and cut them into slices about 1/8 inch thick.

Peel the garlic. In a food processor or blender, or by hand, very finely chop the savory (reserving a sprig for garnish, if desired), parsley, and garlic. Set aside.

Oil 2 sheet pans with 2 tablespoons olive oil each and sprinkle lightly with salt. Arrange the eggplant slices on the pans in a single layer and bake until tender, about 10 minutes. If necessary, repeat until you have cooked all the eggplant. Set aside.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Cut the tomatoes into thin slices.

Lightly oil a large grating dish or baking dish with olive oil and arrange on it half the eggplant slices, then the cooked onions. Salt lightly. Top this with half the sliced tomatoes and sprinkle with the chopped herb-garlic mixture. Now comes the remaining eggplant, then the rest of the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.

Mix the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese and sprinkle on top of the tomatoes. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Bake the gratin for 45 minutes; if it looks as if it is drying out, reduce the temperature to 325 degrees or lower.

Bring to the table in its baking dish; you can decorate it with a sprig of savory.

Note: When the gratin is cooked, you can try this variation: make 4 depressions in it with a small ladle and break a very fresh egg into each depression. Put it back into the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the eggs are set but still soft, then sprinkle the eggs with salt and freshly ground pepper before serving.

Buttered Young Fava Beans

Fevettes au Beurre Frais

Tender young fava beans are a springtime treat you will wholeheartedly enjoy despite the work involved in shelling them. But once they are shelled, it will take you barely a quarter of an hour to finish this recipe--a recipe that, for the sake of freshness, must be prepared at the very last minute.

For 4 Servings

Preparation: 1 hour

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

5 1/2 pounds small fava beans

1 scant cup chicken stock

4 tablespoons butter

A sprig of fresh savory

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Shell the beans and slip each bean out of its tough skin.

In a shallow pan, bring the chicken stock to the boil; add a little salt. Add the fava beans, 1 tablespoon of the butter, and the savory. Boil over high heat, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

When no more than 2 tablespoons of cooking liquid remain, the beans are done. Remove the savory, and add the remaining butter and parsley. Let the sauce boil so that the butter will be emulsified into the cooking liquid and become creamy.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve hot.

Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes with Basil

Tomates-Cerises Sautees au Basilic

Cherry tomatoes are so fragrant and fruity that they need very little by way of preparation. This simple recipe will be even more delicious if you make it quickly and at the last minute; delay will sacrifice the firmness of the tomatoes.

For 4 servings

Preparation: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 5 or 6 minutes

1 generous pound cherry tomatoes

1 garlic clove, peeled

20 basil leaves

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon sugar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves

Wash the tomatoes, dry them thoroughly with paper towels, and remove their stems.

Chop together the garlic, basil, and parsley.

Warm a serving dish in a 200 degree oven.

Put the oil into a skillet over high heat. When the oil begins to ripple, add the well-dried tomatoes.

Sprinkle with sugar, salt, and pepper and toss briefly. Add the garlic mixture and the thyme and mix well.

Serve immediately in the hot serving dish.

Meet the Author

Roger Vergé opened Moulin de Mougins in 1969. His cooking and hospitality have received the highest awards in gastronomical guides. He operates a cooking school at Mougins that attracts a growing number of students each year, and he developed the menus for the restaurants at the French pavilion at the Epcot Center at Disney World in Florida and runs a restaurant in Tokyo.

Bernard Touillon, a French photographer who is equally at home photographing houses and food, has worked closely with Roger Vergé to show the radiance, flavor, and wonderful simplicity of fresh vegetables and vegetable dishes.

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