I recently purchased Nigel Slater's TENDER, his version of a number of books such as Alice Water's CHEZ PANISSE VEGETABLES where the book is divided into vegetables for easy reference when you have a vegetable you want to cook. A number of things make this book stand out in an amazing way, however:
1) it is gorgeous. The pictures, as well as the layout, are beautiful. If nothing else, it would be a terrific coffee table book.
2) Incredible info. Each vegetable has not only excellent recipes but a ton of information about the vegetable, how to grow it or harvest it or store it... each one has a lot of wonderful cooking information even before you get to specific recipes.
3) The recipes are incredible. I've only done a few so far but I am not sure I've ever had a cookbook where the first 6 or 7 things I cooked all were home runs. Just last night with some friends we did a 'farmer's market' dinner, everyone hit their market on Sunday, brought their fresh vegetables and we cooked up a bunch of great dishes, I tried two more from TENDER that were amazing.
The first was a simple pea puree. I love english peas, had some fresh but the idea of a puree never appealed. Well, I figured I'd try it. You drop the peas and some mint in boiling salted water for a few minutes, drain, then puree with olive oil and more salt. We literally stood over the bowl with spoons. It was that good.
Even better was a recipe where you halve large bell peppers (I used red and orange) and fill them with cherry tomatoes tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper. You roast them an hour then pour over a fresh basil puree. It was so simple yet the flavors were perfect. And it was a gorgeous presentation.
Anyway, I wanted to throw this out to everyone. Summer is the perfect time to start in with this book!