Provence Cookbook: 150 Recipes and Select Guide to the Markets, Shops, and Restaurants of France
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Provence Cookbook: 150 Recipes and Select Guide to the Markets, Shops, and Restaurants of France

by Patricia Wells
     
 

No matter where you live, or how gloomy it may be outside, Patricia Wells will brighten your kitchen with the sunny flavors of France's bountiful south with The Provence Cookbook. A French-food expert and longtime Provence resident, Patricia offers readers an intimate guide to the culinary treasures of this sun-drenched landscape and dishes that will

Overview

No matter where you live, or how gloomy it may be outside, Patricia Wells will brighten your kitchen with the sunny flavors of France's bountiful south with The Provence Cookbook. A French-food expert and longtime Provence resident, Patricia offers readers an intimate guide to the culinary treasures of this sun-drenched landscape and dishes that will transport you and your guests with every flavorful bite.

The Provence Cookbook's 175 enticing recipes reflect Patricia's long and close ties with the farmers and purveyors who provide her and her neighbors in Provence with a kaleidoscope of high-quality foods. Their year-round bounty is the inspiration for these exciting, healthful Mediterranean-French dishes,which Patricia shares with home cooks everywhere. Over the past twenty years, it is Patricia who has often been the student, learning Provencal ways and regional recipes directly from the locals. With The Provence Cookbook, her readers benefit from this rich inheritance, as she passes along such recipes as My Vegetable Man's Asparagus Flan, or Maussane Potter's Spaghetti.

Along side authentic and flavorful dishes for every course from hors d'oeuvre to dessert, as wellas pantry staples, The Provence Cookbook features eighty-eight of Patricia's artful black-and-white photographs of Provence's farmers, shopkeepers, and delightful products. More than a cookbook, this is also a complete guide and handbook to Provencal dining, with vendor profiles, restaurant and food shop recommendations and contact information, and twelve tempting menus — delight in An August Dinner at Sunset or perhaps A Winter Truffle Feast.

Whether you are a home cook, a traveler, or an armchair adventurer, enjoy Provence as the locals do, with Patricia Wells and The Provence Cookbook as your guides.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Wells is one of the most famous American culinary expats living in France, and she's carved out quite a niche for herself as the voice of France for American home cooks. Provence, a sunny region in the hills above the Riviera, is not a new subject for Wells; although her last book focused on Paris, she authored Patricia Wells at Home in Provence in 1996. For this lively volume, she seems to have combed the villages surrounding her and her husband's "rewarding little farmhouse" in northern Provence to come up with recipes and culinary tips from farmers, winemakers, tradesmen, shopkeepers and restaurateurs. It's a robust collection (with over 200 recipes), encompassing all manner of food, wine and preparation techniques, and a highly personal one too. For example, in the Salads section, the recipe for Mireille's Tomato, Green Pepper, Olive, and Anchovy Salad prompts Wells to expound on her favorite olive oil; while the recipe for the Maussane Potter's Spaghetti, which comes from some of the author's potter friends in the village of Maussane-les-Alpilles, leads Wells to write about her favorite pottery shops in Provence. This could be bothersome if Wells were not so instructive, but her personal digressions serve as important lessons to cooks and to those planning a trip to the area. To that end, Wells includes plenty of travel information, giving the various locations and hours of Provence's many markets and contact information for restaurants and shops. Altogether, this is a lovely cookbook, a celebration of simple, delectable cuisine. (May) Forecast: Wells's name alone will sell this cookbook, and sales will be aided by radio interviews (including NPR), a national media campaign and author appearances in 14 U.S. cities. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Wells spends much of the year in Provence, where she and her husband bought a farmhouse 20 years ago. At Home with Patricia Wells chronicled their enviable existence there; now she offers more of her own recipes, along with some from her butcher, fishmonger, other merchants, neighborhood restaurants, and other sources slightly farther afield. Most of the dishes are simple, allowing the flavors of Provence's wonderfully fresh produce and other ingredients to come through, e.g., Salad of Garden Sorrel and Fresh Mint, Six-Minute Salmon Braised in Viognier, and My Vegetable Man's Asparagus Flan. Wine suggestions are included throughout-sometimes for Wells's own label, since her vineyard is now productive-and she provides addresses and other relevant details about her favorite restaurants and purveyors. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/03.] Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060507824
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/13/2004
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
7.37(w) x 9.12(h) x 1.07(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Provence Cookbook


By Wells, Patricia

HarperCollins Publishers

ISBN: 0060507829

My Vegetable Man's Asparagus Flan

Le Flan d'Asperges de Mon Marchand de Légumes

8 Servings as a First Course

lt's funny how merchants in the market generally resemble their produce. The farmer selling gnarled old carrots and turnips always sports hands that advertise his long hard labor in the sun. The lady offering pristine little rounds of goat cheese manages to reflect a prim, proper, tidy life. Raymond Chapuis, who supplies me with first-of-season asparagus, tender peas, firm and shiny zucchini, and gorgeous fava beans, is always trim, neatly dressed, and sporting a well-kept beard and a hearty smile. I see him at the Tuesday market in Vasion-la-Romaine, then again on Wednesdays in Saint-Rémy. His wife, Simone, kindly shared this favored asparagus flan. Note that for this recipe you need only the tender tips, which in Provence are sold separately. The stems can be steamed, puréed, and blended with chicken stock to prepare a soup.

EQUIPMENT: A 10 1/2-inch round Porcelain gratin dish; a vegetable steamer.

1 pound thin green asparagus tips (about 2 cups)
4 ounces smoked slab bacon, rind removed, cut into cubes (1 cup)
1 cup light cream
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
Fine sea salt to taste
Freshly ground white pepper to taste

Wine Suggestion: This delicate spring flan calls for a floral white, perhaps one with a Viognier base. Try the vin de pays from the reputable Châteauneuf-du-Pape vineyard Domaine de la Janasse.

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Butter the gratin dish and set aside.

  2. Bring about 3 cups of water to a simmer in the bottom of a vegetable steamer. Place the asparagus tips on the steaming rack. Place the rack over the simmering water, cover, and steam until they are cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes, Drain. Set aside.

  3. Place the bacon in a large skillet and cook, stirring frequently, over medium-high heat just until it begins to give off its fat and starts to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain. Set aside.

  4. In a large bowl, combine the cream and eggs. Whisk to blend.

  5. Pour half of the cream and egg mixture into the gratin dish. Scatter the bacon ever the mixture. Layer the asparagus tips on top of the bacon. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with the remaining cream and egg mixture.

  6. Place the baking dish in the center of the oven. Bake until the mixture is set and the top is golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Serve in wedges as a first course, or as a main luncheon dish with a tossed salad alongside.

Salad of Tomatoes, Pine Nuts, and Basil

Salade de Tomates, Pignons de Pin, et Basilic

6 To 8 Servings

On the theory that "what grows together, goes together," all I need do is look out my kitchen window and find the makings of this marvelous salad: Myriad varieties of tomatoes and basil from the potager, and pine nuts from our towering parasol pines. (Okay, I don't harvest the pine nuts, but they do inspire!) If you have access to a good nut oil, pine nut oil is best -- but good walnut or hazelnut oil are far from shabby substitutes. Even a very green herbaceous olive oil, like those from the Alpes de Haut Provence, would not be out of place here.

Layer the sliced tomatoes on a large platter, overlapping as necessary. Season with salt, Sprinkle with the pine nuts and the basil. Drizzle with the lemon juice and the oil. Season gently with salt, generously with pepper. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes to allow flavors to mellow. Serve as a first course or as part of a buffet.

6 ripe, red tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds) cored, peeled, and sliced lengthwise
Fleur de sel or fine sea salt to taste
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 cup basil leaves, cut into a chiffonnade
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 tablespoons pine nut oil, or substitute walnut, hazelnut, or olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Continues...

Excerpted from The Provence Cookbook by Wells, Patricia Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Patricia Wells is a journalist, author, and teacher who runs the popular cooking school At Home with Patricia Wells in Paris and Provence. She has won four James Beard Awards and the French government has honored her as a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, recognizing her contribution to French culture. A former New York Times reporter, she is the only foreigner and the only woman to serve as restaurant critic for a major French publication, L'Express. She served as the global restaurant critic for the International Herald Tribune for more than twenty-five years. She lives in Paris and Provence with her husband, Walter Wells.

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