For the past thirteen years, Patricia Wells has been carrying on a love affair-not with an individual, but with a region of France, a centuries-old stone farmhouse, and a cuisine. Now, in a cookbook that captures the soul of modern regional French cooking, the award-winning journalist and author invites readers to share the passion, the joy, and, best of all, the cooking of her adopted home.
Provence is uniquely blessed with natural beauty as well as some of the world's most appealing foods and liveliest wines. Patricia's culinary skills have transformed the signature ingredients of this quintessential French countryside into recipes so satisfying and exciting they will instantly become part of your daily repertoire.
Here are 175 recipes from Patricia's farmhouse kitchen. Simple but imaginative "palate openers" such as Tuna Tapenade are followed by a profusion of salads, from All-Star Herb Salad, which captures the essence of the herb garden in a single bite, to the vibrant, cream-dressed greens of the Cheesemaker's Salad.
Vegetables have a special place in the hearts and palates of Provence's cooks, so Patricia presents an entire chapter of quick-and-easy vegetable creations. From the crunch and herbal freshness of Fresh Beans with Garlic & Herbs to the elegant simplicity of Potatoes Roasted in Sea Salt, these are recipes for the vegetarian and nonvegetarian alike.
Soul-satisfying soups have their own chapter, with such delights as Summer Piston and the deeply flavorfull Caramelized Fennel Soup. This chapter is highlighted by Monkfish Bouillabaisse with Aioli, Patricia's own brilliant interpretation of a Provencal classic. Pastas, too, are on the menu, with inventive dishes like Provencal Penne and Spaghetti with Green Olive Puttanesca, inspired by the produce of Patricids village market. A chapter on breads includes everything from Crusty Wheat & Polenta Bread to an olive oil brioche, a local classic.
Poultry and game are represented with everything from Butter-Roasted Herbed Chicken to Monsieur Hennys Rabbit Bouillabaisse. In the fish and shellfish department, you will savor Seared Pancetta-Wrapped Cod and The Valson Fishmonger's Fresh Tuna Casserole. When it comes to meat, Patricia offers recipes for earthy daubes, the slow-simmered almost-stews so beloved by the French, along with homey favorites like Lemon-Thyme Lamb Chops, and Spit-Roasted Brine-Cured Pork.
To round out the meal, there is a treasure trove of desserts based on seasonal fruits-Cherry-Almond Tart, Winernaker's Grape Cake, and Patricids Apricot-Honey-Almond Tart, as effortless as child's play but as impressive as the most exacting work of the pastrymaker's art.
As you read and cook from this book, generously illustrated with the captivating color pictures of famed photographer Robert Freson, you will feel as if you have actually joined Patricia Wells in her beloved stone farmhouse, and her passion for the foods, flavors, and people of Provence will become yours. As comforting as an old friend, as enlivening as a trip to the sun-dappled hills of southern France, this book will truly bring Provence into your kitchen, and you will want to visit its pages again and again.