Mixed Vegetable Ragoût

This methodical but straightforward recipe for simmered and buttered vegetables comes from JBF Award winner Jeremiah Tower, one of the pioneers of California cuisine. 


  • 16 small pearl onions, peeled
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 sprig tarragon
  • 24 baby carrots, trimmed and peeled
  • 1/2 small head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/2 small head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 6 pattypan squash, halved crosswise
  • 4 small zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • 4 small yellow zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • 8 ears baby corn
  • 24 small French green beans
  • 24 squash blossoms
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped mixed herbs
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 stick (1/4 pound) butter, cut into small pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.

Put the onions, thyme, tarragon, 1 cup of water, and a pinch of salt in a sauté pan over medium heat. Cover and let come to a simmer; continue simmering for 5 minutes.

Add the carrots to the boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the water, add to the simmering onions, and cover. Add the cauliflower and broccoli to the boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the water and add to to the onions and carrots, along with an additional 1/2 cup water. Cover and continue simmering, tossing the vegetables every few minutes.

Add the squash and zucchini to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Remove and add to the other vegetables. Toss once more. Add the corn and beans to the boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Remove and add to the other vegetables. Toss, cover, and simmer for another 5 minutes. At this point there should be about a cup of liquid in the sauté pan.

Uncover the pan and add the squash blossoms, herbs, garlic, and butter. Raise the heat to high and toss until the butter is melted and the sauce thickens a little. Taste for seasoning before serving.


6 to 8 servings