Gentle Vegetables a la Grecque | Vegetables Poached in Wine

Poached Baby Vegetables

Oh how seductive are Autumn mornings. Full of golden light, rayed so jaw-droopingly beautifully through the leaves. Plants in autumn reach up lovingly to the sun, after months of shrinking away from the heat of summer. Long tendrils holding flowers wave in the breezes and welcome your passing smile — they nod knowingly in that gentle breeze. Chives and spring onions are flowering. Geraniums as red as lipstick. Mint and lemon verbena. Bog sage. Curry leaf. Earlier, my Lemongrass flowered — the first time ever!

How fitting then to find a recipe of matching gentleness, a warm salad of wine poached baby veggies, needing nothing else but the magnificent flavours of plants, leaves, wine and the very best of oils. Yes, Ottolenghi, you understand Autumn.

Are you after other a la Greque dishes? Try Slow Braised Fennel with Chilli, Garlic and Orange, Zucchini a la Grecque, and Parsley Braised with Olive Oil and Tomatoes. Also try Sweet and Sour Leeks with Burrata.

You might like to browse other Ottolenghi recipes and all of our a la Grecque recipes. Be inspired by our collection of Mid Autumn recipes.

Autumn in Adelaide

some notes on the dish

Not a fan of mayonnaise, I left it out. I prefer the taste of the vegetables unconfused by other tastes. Some capers scattered over the cooked vegetables rather than in the mayonnaise is a great addition.

[Update: recently I have begun making my Mother’s recipe for Mayonnaise without eggs. It is a mid 1900’s classic, but I quite love it. To this mayo I add lemon juice, a little oil and finely chopped capers. It is gorgeous with this dish.]

A variation is to add some green peppercorns to the poaching liquid, and a couple of juniper berries. These compliment the flavours well. The juniper grounds the dish a little without overwhelming the flavours (use only a couple of berries). And the addition of green peppercorns is wonderful.

Be flexible with the vegetable mix used in the dish, but keep away from strong flavours. Hence the use of baby vegetables. In the recipe below is the fairly standard mix. However, the tiniest of Brussels Sprouts were added, very hesitantly as the flavours can be strong. Teeny tomatoes, halved, were also added right at then end of cooking. Gorgeous. And some halved, small green beans.

Serve this as a separate course, so the gentleness of the vegetables can present itself in all it’s glory.

Poached Baby Vegetables

Gentle Autumn Vegetables a la Grecque | Baby Vegetables Poached in Oil and Wine

Preparation Time: 20 mins
Cooking Time: 2 hours
Serves: 4 β€” 6, depending on serving size

these are not exact measurements
200g baby carrots, scraped but leave 2 – 3 cm of the tops
100g baby fennel
1/2 or more bunch fine asparagus
100g baby zucchini
150g baby leeks
4 or 5 baby tomatoes
2 Tblspn chopped dill to serve

Poaching Liquor
600ml White wine, neither too sweet or too dry
200ml good, extra virgin olive oil, just over 2/3 cup
150ml lemon juice, about 1 average lemon
2 bay leaves
5 green peppercorns, whole (optional, but don’t use black peppercorns or ground pepper)
2 celery sticks, cut into batons
1/2 onion, halved again
1 tspn salt

Wash the veggies but don’t trim them too much. Leave ends, and some of the stalks/leaves. Cut them longways into halves or quarters, depending on size. Aim for similar sized pieces. Thin veggies like asparagus don’t need to be cut.

Place the wine in a wide pan and boil for 2 or 3 minutes.

Add the other poaching liquor ingredients and simmer gently for a minute. Add the harder vegetables first, ie the carrots and fennel. After 3 or 4 minutes, add the other vegetables and continue to simmer for a further 3 – 4 minutes. In the last minute, add the halved tomatoes.

Now the vegetables should be cooked but still crunchy. Using tongs, lift the vegetables from the poaching liquor onto a deep plate. Spoon some liquor around the vegetables. (You can keep the remaining liquor in the fridge or freezer to use again.)

Garnish with some fronds of dill and some prepared capers.

I love to eat this as it is. If you would like an egg free dressing, make a dressing similar to this cream dressing on German Tomato Salad, adding garlic and more lemon juice.

Autumn in Adelaide 3

browse some salad recipes


Author: Ganga108

Heat in the Kitchen, Cooking with Spirit. Temple junkie, temple builder, temple cleaner. Lover of life, people, cultures, travel. Champion of growth, change and awareness. Taker of photos. Passionate about family. Happy.

16 thoughts on “Gentle Vegetables a la Grecque | Vegetables Poached in Wine”

  1. What is there not to love in this recipe. I can almost taste and bite into them. And a book and some alone time for me on that gorgeous chair.

    1. I don’t drink wine, Maria — its not that I dont like it, rather it doesnt like me. However, cooking with it is a different matter. It is quite delish.

  2. and i am grieveing for that sunshine so much more this year considering the lack of summer we had…beautiful food. maybe a nice pesto-like dressing with a little thyme in it might be fun? that first photo…lovely.

    1. Aah, Lucy, yes it felt like summer never properly arrived. Already we have heaters on and the heavier doona on the bed. Time for a holiday in Bali, methinks. :))

  3. What a lovely recipe Ganga, that poaching liquid sounds delicious. I have to say I’m mildly addicted to bay leaves at the moment. I love your new banner across the top, such gorgeous colours.

    1. Thanks, Kathryn. Yes, I love bay too. Such a wonderful, wintery, earthy taste. I love them combined with juniper berries too, for the same reason.

  4. Ganga, I love the description in the opening paragraph. Makes me feel nostalgic for the Season gone by! Autumn is my favourite season too. It makes me feel like I am standing on the brink of Spring, especially when I sniff the air. I like the idea of the liquid. I usually toss them in just o/o and herbs but next time I will try your version. And yes I would gladly join you for a herbal tea and some of that platter, on that chair – Oh God! What a glorious vision!

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