Elizabeth Schneider's Uncommon Fruits and Vegetables
set a standard for exact yet lively investigation. Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini
follows in her earlier book's footsteps to create a compelling guide to 350 common and exotic vegetables. This seed-to-table exploration does more, however. In addition to its usefulness as a reference work (vegetables are, for example, listed by their market, botanical, and common names), the book offers 500 up-to-the-minute recipes--such as Shredded Yellow Squash with Garlic Chives and Baked Sweet Potato-Apple Puree with Horseradish--valuable advice on seasonality and selection, multiple-method cooking instructions, and color photos of all the entries that make market identification a breeze.
Interested in amaranth? Find its entry and discover, first, the magenta-veined plant's common aliases (among them, the Caribbean callaloo, the Indian bhaji, and the Korean namul); an engaging vegetable biography that distills information from many fields (for example, the Greeks thought amaranth immortal); information on selection, storage, and preparation (use the vegetable's tiniest leaves for salads; steam, braise, or sauté the larger "with garlic, shallots, tomato dice, and a touch of chilies"); and full-dress recipes (such as Garlicky Sauté of Amaranth and Tomatoes, Cuban Style). A final section, called Pros Propose, offers recipe sketches from cooking experts, like Paula Wolfert's Amaranth and Sheep's Milk Cheese. This lucid organizational scheme, common to all the entries, and Schneider's expert handling of it, promote a full yet relaxed familiarization with the selected vegetables. This is one of those few books that most cooks will want, as well as need, to own. --Arthur Boehm
“It’s a book that should lead the pack for a long, long time.” (Ann Hodgman, Gourmet)