Eric Ripert embraces spring with fresh, vegetable-focused dishes

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Chef, author and television personality Eric Ripert is joining TODAY to share a few of his favorite fresh fruit and vegetable recipes from his new cookbook “Vegetable Simple: A Cookbook.” He shows us how to make broiled Caesar salad gratin, a colorfully layered French vegetable casserole and sweet watermelon “pizza” […]

Chef, author and television personality Eric Ripert is joining TODAY to share a few of his favorite fresh fruit and vegetable recipes from his new cookbook “Vegetable Simple: A Cookbook.” He shows us how to make broiled Caesar salad gratin, a colorfully layered French vegetable casserole and sweet watermelon “pizza” with salty, briny toppings.

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Byaldi (Provençal Vegetable Casserole)

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Byaldi is a very typical Provençal dish similar to a very fancy ratatouille. My grandmother made it on Sundays to bring with us when we visited our extended family in the countryside. We would have to drive for hours, but we didn’t mind because the smell of the byaldi in the car was so good. It took everything we had not to steal a piece before we arrived at my aunt Monique’s house. We wouldn’t even reheat it; we would just eat it warm from the casserole. It’s even better the next day if you manage to have leftovers.

Romaine Caesar Gratin

Nigel Parry

Inspired by my dear friend Laurent Manrique, this is a clever play on a Caesar salad. The obvious difference is that the romaine is served quartered and broiled for the gratin effect, but it keeps its crunchiness and freshness.

Watermelon 'Pizza'

Nigel Parry

This summery treat is great for adults and kids alike! I love the combined flavors of the sweetness of the melon with the saltiness of the feta and brininess of the olives.

If you like those sensational seasonal recipes, you should also try these:

Springtime Pasta Bake

Alex Guarnaschelli

Cauliflower Vegetable Fried Rice

Courtesy Matt Abdoo

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