The Art of Cooking with Vegetables

A collection of forty-eight vegetarian recipes by three-Michelin-starred chef Alain Passard.

Alain Passard is chef who astonished the food world in 2001 by removing red meat from his three-Michelin-starred Paris restaurant L’Arpège, and dedicating himself to cooking with vegetables, supplied exclusively from his own organic farm. Today L’Arpège is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s great restaurants, while its visionary owner has inspired a new generation of chefs.
Here is a collection of forty-eight wonderful recipes illustrated with Alain Passard’s own joyful collages. Ranging through the year, the recipes include:
* Asparagus, pear, lemon and sorrel in April and May
* Peas, pink grapefruit, almond and thyme in July and August
* Beetroot, blackberry, sage and lavender in September and October
* Red potatoes, red chicory, sage, lemon and nutmeg in December and January.
The Art of Cooking with Vegetables is made up of unexpected combinations, complex flavours created with a few simple elements, a passion for fresh and seasonal ingredients. Simple, and simply perfect.

Alain Passard is chef and owner of restaurant l’Arpège in Paris, which has retained a three-Michelin-star ranking since 1996. His kitchen garden in Fillé 230 km from Paris supplies the restaurant, and is run completely organically, without even the use of machines. He lives in Paris. | Alex Carlier has years of experience editing English cookery books, and cooking in England and France. She lives in Paris.

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First book by the chef and owner of L’Arpege, a restaurna tin Paris which has retained three Michelin stars since 1996. Almost 50 recipes for seasonal fruits and vegetables, stylishly illustrated with Passard’s own collages. For fans of Ottolenghi’s ‘Plenty‘.


A strange, magical book. Cooking from this book will change you. Quietly and surely.

New York Times

‘Alain Passard, hats off to you! Not a nugget of bacon or dollop of duck fat anywhere, vegetables and fruits deftly handled. I’ve always thought that cooking with fruit is like acting with children and animals; Passard has proved me wrong. Splendid!’

Fergus Henderson

A true Vegetarian gastronomic delight, leading French chef Alain passard presents 48 recipes, deceptively simple, a bouquet of taste sensations.


In the past decade, Alain Passard has been making one of the great  imaginative journeys of recent cooking, stripping the last traces of homely piety from vegetarian cooking and making it instead something surprising and often sublime. This book opens a new chapter in the history of taking vegetables seriously as food, and even as art;  even the most bloody-minded meat eater will find something here to enliven their plate and shock their palate.

Adam Gopnik











Serves 4, 50 mins



2 large aubergines (eggplants), each weighing about 200 g (7 oz)

about 16 tbls virgin olive oil

1 large sweet white onion, such as a Cevennes or a Spanish onion

leaves from . bunch flat-leafed parsley,

finely chopped leaves from bunch fresh coriander (cilantro),

finely chopped stick lemongrass, trimmed of dry outer layers, the stalk finely chopped

1 clove of new garlic, peeled and finely chopped

a small amount of finely chopped green chilli to taste

1⁄3 lime, skin intact

a pinch or two of Madras curry powder, according to taste

fleur de sel or the salt of your taste


drink with

Red from the Languedoc region, such as a Corbieres or a Faugeres.


To serve as a main course

Double the portion size and offer an accompaniment of wild rice.


This is one of the loveliest specialities at L’Arpege. It must be something to do with the tender, savoury flesh of the roasted aubergine and the multiple flavours of the mysterious green curry.



Cut the aubergines in half lengthways, score their flesh with a small knife, then drizzle over half the quantity of olive oil.


Put the aubergines on a baking sheet and bake them in a preheated 200°C (400°F, Gas Mark 6) oven for 30–40 minutes, turning half way through cooking.



Meanwhile, make the green curry: in a saute pan, sweat the onion in the remaining olive oil over very gentle heat. When, after about 10 minutes, it starts to soften and become translucent, stir in the parsley, coriander, lemongrass, garlic, chilli, lime and Madras curry to taste. Continue to sweat the ingredients for a further 10 minutes or until the onion is completely soft.



Drain the mixture through a sieve, holding on to the liquid. Discard the segment of lime. Blend the solids briefly, adding just enough of the liquid – or some olive oil if you prefer – to make a light, homogeneous puree which holds its form. Adjust the seasoning, then use a pair of spoons to shape this puree into 4 egg-shaped quenelles.



Present the baked aubergines, seasoned with salt, on a warm serving dish. Arrange the quenelles alongside. Serve as a first course or as an accompaniment to roast chicken or spitroasted lamb. The curry mixture keeps extremely well in a sealed container in the refrigerator and makes a good flavouring for cauliflower, eggs and fish.




Serves 4, 20 mins

600 g (1 lb 5 oz) haricots verts, extra fine

1 large white peach, stoned and cut into 12 segments

12 whole blanched almonds, cut in half lengthways if desired

40 g (1. oz) lightly salted butter

a long dash of virgin olive oil

a few purple basil leaves, or green if purple basil is unavailable


fleur de sel or salt of your choice

freshly ground black pepper


Drink with

A Condrieu or a full-bodied white made with the Viognier grape

For me, the peach is nature’s own summer sorbet: its fresh clear juice, with the scent of white flowers, has a sweetness that never cloys; its soft flesh melts in the mouth. Put the peach with haricots verts and you have a fine marriage of textures and flavours. Add almonds, and you have an arousing contrast and a fabulous note of crunch.


Plunge the haricots verts into lightly salted boiling water.

Return to the boil, then cook, uncovered, to al dente stage – usually 2–3 minutes for extra fine beans. Drain them, immerse in cold water to arrest their cooking and preservecolour, then drain again.

In a large saute pan set over low heat, melt the butter and a long dash of olive oil. Add the haricots verts, shaking the pan to coat them, then add the almonds, segments of peach and basil leaves. Leave these ingredients to warm through gently – but do not stir them or they may lose their fragile shape and beauty. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Arrange the assembly on 4 warm table plates and eat straight away.



Serves 4, 40 mins

1 large ripe melon

150–200 g (5–7 oz) fourme d’Ambert, or Stilton

3–4 tbls virgin olive oil

several handfuls of red or green sorrel, washed,

and tough ribs removed

leaves from a bunch of purple or green basil

1 tbls balsamic vinegar

fleur de sel or salt of your choice

1 tbls black peppercorns crushed or coarsely ground


Drink with

A Pineau de Charentes or a Floc de Gascogne



The blue vein, creamy-textured cheese I use for this dish is fourme d’Ambert. If this is difficult for you to source outside of France, you could replace it with Stilton. The cheese i combined with sweet, fully ripe melon – which is lightly sauteed– to make one of the tastiest chaud-froid dishes I know. As an accompaniment, a salad of red sorrel and purple basil offers some arresting colour as well as a delicate astringency, but you could equally well use green varieties of both. Black pepper supports the whole dish.




Cut the cheese into four equal-sized portions and leave theat room temperature for about half an hour.



Meanwhile, cut the melon into quarters, and scoop out and discard the seeds. Thinly cover the bottom of a saute panwith about one tablespoon of the olive oil, holding back the rest; arrange the melon quarters, flat on their side, in a single layer, in the pan. Partially cover with a lid and stew the melon quarters gently over low heat for 25 minutes, turning them over from time to time.


While the melon is stewing gently, put the leaves of sorrel and basil in a salad bowl and dress them gently with the  remaining olive oil.



To serve, arrange a quarter of melon, a portion of cheese and a helping of the salad on 4 individual plates. Season to tastewith salt and coarsely crushed or ground black pepper. Sign each plate with a trail of balsamic vinegar.



Serves 4, 1 hr plus

30 mins cooling



100 g (4 oz) salted butter, preferably from Brittany, clarified

1 large sweet onion, such as a Spanish or Roscoff onion, finely sliced

4 large tomatoes, preferably 1 red, 1 black or bronze, 1 yellow and 1 orange, all cored, skinned, deseeded and cut into large segments or quarters

1 small head of new garlic, peeled and crushed

2 large firm courgettes (zucchini), one cut into batons, the other cut into very fine rounds

1 large aubergine (eggplant)

1 red pepper

1 green pepper

leaves from a small bunch of basil

a few splashes of virgin olive oil

a few dashes of soy sauce to taste

fleur de sel or salt of your choice



Drink with

A Crozes-Hermitage or a Saint-Joseph



To serve as a main course

Double the portion size and serve with either couscous or quinoa or, better still, a mixture of quinoa and bulgar – which can be bought as a ready-mix in many supermarkets. Olive bread is an excellent choice to offer with this dish. I enjoy taking this legendary dish of Provence to Brittany, where instead of olive oil the cooks prefer to exploit the wonders of their local salted butter. The butter’s assertive personality has much to offer this dish. In particular, its distinctive saltiness gets the seasoning off to a good start and throws flavours into relief. The recipe combines cooked and uncooked vegetables, for a nice interplay of temperatures as well as textures.


In a large saute pan – preferably with flared sides – sweat the onion in two-thirds of the butter over very gentle heat until it softens slightly. Add half the quantity of the tomatoes, the garlic and the courgette cut into batons.


Partially cover the pan with a lid and leave the ingredients to stew very gently for about 40 minutes, or until the watery juices from the tomatoes have evaporated.


Meanwhile, blister the skin of the peppers, as well as the aubergine, to make it easy to peel away their skin. The best way to do this is to skewer each vegetable whole and pass it through a naked flame from a gas hob or an open fire. If this is impractical, then use a regular grill. To make the blistered peppers easy to peel, wrap them briefly in a kitchen towel wrung out in cold water. Peel them, cut them into strips and add them to the simmering ratatouille mixture.



When the aubergine is sufficiently blistered, leave it to cool for up to 30 minutes, then spoon out its flesh and put it in a saucepan along with the remaining butter. Stir to blend over low to medium heat until the pulp is lightly coloured; season with salt and set aside in a warm place.



Prepare the uncooked ingredients for presentation: put the remaining tomatoes and courgette in a salad bowl along with the basil. Dress the ingredients with olive oil blended with a few drops of soy sauce to taste; set this aside at room temperature.



To serve, season the hot ratatouille with a few drops of soy sauce to taste, and transfer it to a large, warm serving dish. You can add the aubergine pulp to this dish or present it separately in a warm sauce boat. Offer the salad bowl of uncooked vegetables separately. Let diners help themselves and enjoy the elements of hot and cold.



Copyright 2012 Alain Passard and Frances Lincoln, Ltd. All rights reserved. $29.95,

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