Provencal Light

Provencal Light

by Martha R. Shulman

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A healthy and delicious trove of recipes that capture the heart of Provence but not the fat In Provencal Light, first published in hardcover in 1994, Martha Rose Shulman embraces the glorious essence of Provence as she introduces us to her favorite recipes, rich and redolent with flavor but lightened for today's lifestyles.

Provencal Light

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A healthy and delicious trove of recipes that capture the heart of Provence but not the fat In Provencal Light, first published in hardcover in 1994, Martha Rose Shulman embraces the glorious essence of Provence as she introduces us to her favorite recipes, rich and redolent with flavor but lightened for today's lifestyles.

Provencal Light takes us on a fantastic culinary tour of the south of France. Nutrition-conscious home cooks can enjoy such culinary marvels as the ravioli of Nice, filled with chard and chicken or herbs with ricotta cheese; nourishing vegetable tortes; creamy Asparagus and Fresh Pea Risotto; Stuffed Summer Vegetables; Pan-Roasted Quail with Quinces and Figs; and luscious Pear and Apple Souffle. Plus there is a scrumptious selection of richly flavored vegetable gratins and ragouts; satisfying pastas and gnocchi; and heavenly, naturally sweet fruit tarts, clafoutis, and sorbets.

Each recipe is accompanied by a complete nutritional breakdown, including calories, sodium, and fat content. Provencal Light lets you enjoy the marvelous cuisine of the south of France while adhering to a healthful, hearty diet. This is the perfect marriage of low-fat eating and good taste for everyone with a passion for food.

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Editorial Reviews

Colman Andrews
In this glorious catalogue of dishes from Provence and the Cote d'Azur, Martha Rose shulman manages to reduce the heft of the food while leaving its heart intact. —authr of Catalan Cuisine and Everything on the Table
Patricia Wells
The light, fragrance, and zest of Provence shine through on every page. The spirit of Provence has touched Martha Rose Shulman's soul, and she truly is a daughter of that blessed land.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Noting that the cuisine of Southern France is already ``essentially vegetarian,'' Shulman ( Mediterranean Light ) maintains the character of traditional Provencal dishes even while reducing their fat content. Eschewing all meat dishes (and even the traditional bourride, a heavily enriched fish soup) , she cuts the amount of olive oil used in many dishes (down to one or two tablespoons for four to eight servings) and calls for less than usual amounts of such high-fat flavor enhancers as tapenade (olive paste). In a ``relatively low-fat aioli'' much of the garlic mayonnaise's oil is replaced with fromage blanc, cottage cheese or mashed potatoes. While there are only 10 recipes in the poultry and rabbit chapter, the vegetable and soup chapters are as full as a market basket in July. Of note are vegetable ragouts and gratins: tomato, potato and squash, and others in combination--such as artichokes and potatoes, eggplant and tomato, spinach and red pepper--all redolent of garlic and herbs. Sauteed vegetables are cooked with less oil and over a low heat, yielding their flavors surely but more slowly. Desserts highlight fresh fruits, usually in clafoutis or tarts made with crisp, scantily buttered phyllo pastry. These are not diet recipes, but they are reasonably healthful and joyously Provencal. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Shulman, cooking teacher and writer, has lived in France for more than ten years, and she's spent a great deal of that time in Provence. Although she covered some of this same ground in Mediterranean Light ( LJ 4/15/89), now she focuses strictly on Provencal cuisine in all its glory. The Provencal diet lends itself readily to Shulman's lightening, and she offers dozens of recipes for flavorful dishes that are low-fat but still true to the spirit of the ``cuisine of the sun.'' She includes a whole chapter on the region's famous fish soups, along with lots of delicious vegetable dishes, zesty salads and starters, breads, pizzas, pastas, and a variety of fruit desserts. Definitely not a ``diet'' book, this is highly recommended.

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
6.98(w) x 9.90(h) x 1.15(d)

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Croutons with Garlic and Tomato
(Pain catalan or pain gradaillé)

Serves 4

The word gradaillé comes from the Languedocien word gradalha, to rub with garlic, which in turn comes from the Languedocien word for garlic clove, gra d'alh. In Provence a thick piece of stale bread is rubbed generously with garlic, then drizzled with vinegar and quite a bit of olive oil. Instead of olive oil I've used the juice of a tomato, which makes this more like the Spanish or Catalonian version (which in its traditional form would also contain olive oil). In fact the tomato version of this dish is eaten all over the Mediterranean, so I don't know why the French call it "Catalonian bread." All you need is good, crusty bread, juicy tomatoes, and garlic.

8 thick slices of country bread, lightly toasted or slightly stale
1 to 2 garlic cloves, as needed, cut in half lengthwise
2 ripe tomatoes, cut in half

Rub the bread with the cut garlic, then with the cut half of a tomato, squeezing the tomato a bit so that its juice saturates the bread.

Advance Preparation: Eat these as soon as you prepare them.

Per Portion

Calories 170
Fat 2 G
Sodium 351 MG
Protein 6 G
Carbohydrate 33 G
Cholesterol 0

Chicken in Onion, Wine, and Caper Sauce(Poulet en capilotade)

Serves 4 to 6

Capilotade, a lusty Provençal sauce containing lots of capers and onions, is wonderful with chicken. In this easy dish the sauce is made with white wine and chicken stock as opposed to the red wine and fish stock in the salt cod version on page 202. The dish makes a nicefamily dinner served with rice, wheatberries, pasta, or potatoes.

13-pound (1.35 kg) chicken, cut into pieces and skin removed
2quarts (2 l) water or enough to cover the chicken a bouquet garni made with a bay leaf, a few fresh thyme sprigs, and a few parsley sprigs
4black peppercorns
3medium-size onions, one quartered, the rest chopped
2medium-size carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
6garlic cloves, 4 peeled, 2 minced or put through a press
salt to taste
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup (125 ml) dry white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon unbleached white flour
1/4 cup (60 ml) drained capers, rinsed
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/2teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1/4 teaspoon crushed dried
freshly ground pepper to taste
3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Combine the chicken, water, bouquet garni, peppercorns, quartered onion, carrots, whole garlic cloves, and salt in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a simmer and skim off any foam that rises. Reduce the heat, cover partially, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through—25 minutes for the white meat and 35 to 45 minutes for the dark meat. Remove the chicken and place in a bowl or serving dish. Strain the stock and reserve 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) for the sauce and the rest for another use.

Stir together the tomato paste, wine, and chicken stock in a bowl. Set aside. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-low heat and add the chopped onions. Cook, stirring, until they soften, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and continue to cook, stirring, until the garlic begins to color, about 30 to 60 seconds. Stir in the vinegar and flour and stir together for about 1 minute, until the mixture is just beginning to brown.

Add the wine mixture to the onions along with the capers, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Cook, uncovered, for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until the sauce thickens slightly.

Stir the chicken back into the mixture, heat through, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.

Advance Preparation: This can be made hours ahead of serving and can also be held overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat in a 350 F (180 C) oven for 10 to 15 minutes or stir over medium-low heat in a flameproof casserole to reheat.

Per Portion

Calories 240
Protein 25 G
Fat 8 G
Carbohydrate 13 G
Sodium 266 MG
Cholesterol 76 MG

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