First things first: let me make a little confession. I adore Laura Calder and her cookbooks. Last summer I used up so much of my garden’s goodness with her recipes from French Food at Home, and so far this summer I’ve tried two recipes for vegetables from her latest, French Taste. With my abundance of radishes, I cooked Glazed Radishes Chateau du Fey a couple of weekends ago. I’m not going to front. They were terrible. I parboiled them for too long and had way too much water leftover, which meant the butter and sugar didn’t glaze as one would expect. I mean, mine looked nothing like this. My husband reluctantly ate them, and then I did the best I could, but they were definitely short of yummy.
But I wasn’t going to give up. When we’re up at the cottage most weekends, it’s easy to fall into the trap of having the same sides: potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn (which is delicious in the later summer months). We gorge ourselves on easy-to-prepare packets: veggies in tinfoil and cooked on the BBQ, and it’s not a bad thing, but it does get a little tiresome. So, this past weekend I tried Calder’s Spring Vegetable Tumble. I had the aforementioned radishes from the garden along with some turnips that grew into gorgeous purple and white orbits that I also wanted to cook.
And then we also had Ontario asparagus, beans and baby carrots (from the grocery store; I’m sorry! No farmer’s markets were open in the wee hours of the night when we headed up north) to add to the mix.
The recipe couldn’t be easier — parboil until the veggies are al dente, drop them into some ice water, and then reheat before serving by frying them in butter with fresh herbs. I used sage, thyme and rosemary (picked fresh, yes, from the garden). I’m not going to lie — the dish turned out delicious. The most popular of the veggies in the tumble? Perfectly cooked turnips and radishes. I learned my lesson and didn’t boil the crap out of either, but carefully gauged their readiness as I went along versus just assuming the water level would tell me when they’re done.
And now that my garden has started giving up my most favourite summer vegetable of all, bush beans, I’m going to add this method of cooking to our cottage repertoire. The flavours are so hearty and fulfilling. I ate two full plates of fresh veggies and didn’t even think twice about the fact that we hadn’t had any form of potato product the entire four days we spent up north over the Canada Day long weekend. Also, for once, my pictures didn’t turn out half-bad either.