If I were a vegetable, I’d like to start my life in spring. The tenderest peas, the sweetest onions, the most darling little carrots and turnips emerge at this time of year. The markets in France are overflowing with beautiful young veggies. And what better idea for a chef that to combine them in the bright and lovely dish known as a jardinière — literally, a garden box — of vegetables.
Jardinière de légumes printaniers / Spring vegetable medley
There are many variations on this dish. It may include baby leeks, baby fennel, artichoke hearts, or any other spring veggie — and it may also include bacon, a favorite with the younger set.
The veggies (except the peas), along with the bacon if you’re using it, are sautéed in olive oil until just beginning to brown. Then they are braised briefly in water — this produces a succulent sauce. The peas are added at the last minute.
Et voilà — a dish that marries well with just about anything, and that can also achieve star power on its own, accompanied by a salad and perhaps some cheese.