Garden Vegetables with Black Truffle

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Cooking demands respect for the ingredients. It took a certain amount of modest courage to serve this recipe at the Louis XV in 1987. Many found the dish too lowly; others found it almost provocative. To me, anything that brings out the wonders of the produce helps create beautiful cuisine; anything that distorts produce abases it. A chef must display humility before fine produce. With the focus on vegetables, this dish appeals to our current desire for health and fitness.

Preparation time: 35 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12 Cherry Belle radishes
  • 7 oz (200 g) garden peas
  • 1 pinch ascorbic acid
  • 3 ⅓ tbsp (5 cl) olive oil
  • 8 carrots, with tops
  • 8 baby fennel, with stalks
  • 8 long white turnips with tops
  • 4 zucchini blossoms
  • 7 oz (200 g) green beans
  • 7 oz (200 g) baby fava beans
  • 8 scallions
  • 12 green asparagus spears
  • 4 poivrade (purple) artichokes
  • tbsp (20 g) coarse salt
  • ¾ cup (180 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups (1 L) poultry fond blanc
  • oz (40 g) black truffle
  • cup (80 ml) truffle jus
  • tsp (20 g) butter
  • tbsp (50 ml) Barolo vinegar
  • Fleur de sel (sea salt crystals)

Method

Prepare the vegetables

Wash all the vegetables in cold water.

Prepare the radishes: Remove the small leaves and trim the stems evenly. Place in a bowl of iced water. Trim the carrot stems evenly, turn,* and place in the same bowl of iced water.

Remove the outer layer of the fennel bulbs, and trim the stalks evenly. Turn the turnips and trim the stems evenly. Place in a bowl of iced water. Remove the pistils from the zucchini blossoms, and fold the blossoms over. Refrigerate.

The cooking times for the vegetables will vary depending on the size. Check for doneness using the tip of a paring knife; the vegetables should be just tender.

Snap off the stalk end of the green beans but retain the tips. Cut into 1¼-inch (3-cm) pieces. Pod the garden peas and the baby fava, and sort according to size. Remove the root end of the scallions and trim the stalks evenly. Trim the asparagus spears, retaining only the tender tip. Cut off the large outer artichoke leaves and turn the artichokes, and then cut them in half. Set aside in a bowl of iced water containing a large pinch of ascorbic acid. Set the other vegetables aside in iced water.

Cook the green beans and scallions

Immerse the green beans and scallions in boiling salted water, when cooked, they should still be firm. Refresh* in iced water and refrigerate.

Cook the remaining vegetables separately. Proceed in the same way for each vegetable. Heat a little olive oil in a sauté pan* and gently pan fry* the vegetables without browning. Then, add some fond blanc to come to the halfway mark on the vegetables; cook covered.

Check for doneness using the tip of a paring knife. Turn the vegetables and their cooking juices out onto a baking sheet and chill rapidly.

Plunging vegetables into ice d water stops them from cooking and sets their color.

Crush the black truffle with a fork. Use a sauté pan large enough to hold all the vegetables without crowding them. Add the cooking juices, a dash of olive oil from extra ripe olives, the truffle jus, and the crushed black truffle. Gently heat to warm the vegetables, add the garden peas and baby fava beans, and glaze* the vegetables in their juices. Add the green beans and scallions.

Arrange the glazed vegetables in soup plates.

Add the butter and Barolo vinegar to the vegetable cooking juices.

Adjust the seasoning if necessary and drizzle each serving with the jus.

At the last minute, if desired, you could grate a little truffle over each serving.

Drink Pairing

A white Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the southern Rhône Valley, or a red Côtes de Provence wine.

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