Deborah Madison's Spring Garden Hodgepodge of Radishes, Leeks, and Peas Depending ...


[Photograph: Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton]

You gotta love a cookbook author bold enough to use the words "hodgepodge" and "depending" in the same recipe title. Yet as Deborah Madison explains in her new book, Vegetable Literacy: "Depending is the operative word when there is a garden or good farmers' market."

Indeed, when shopping seasonally, you'll never really know what'll look good until you see it. So, go ahead, embrace the hodgepodge of spring vegetables, and adapt Madison's gentle cooking technique and emphatic use of excellent butter to suit your spring haul.

Why I picked this recipe: There is little that is more satisfying than a bowl of spring vegetables at their peak, cooked properly and doused in sweet butter.

What worked: I used the proportions listed in the recipe and the result was perfectly balanced and full of variety.

What didn't: I needed to use the upper end of the broth amount because my skillet was very wide. Use your judgement and add more liquid as needed.

Suggested tweaks: If you're adapting the recipe, you'll probably need to adapt the cooking times as well. You want your vegetables completely cooked through, but to still retain their vibrancy. I finished the dish Vermont Creamery's lightly salted butter, so I seasoned the vegetables with a little less salt than usual. Use your best judgement.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Vegetable Literacy to give away this week.