Provence is loved for its sunlit beauty and earthy, tantalizing cuisine. Both are celebrated in Provence the Beautiful Cookbook, an oversized (more than two feet tall!) picture and cookbook of breathtaking color photos and authentic regional recipes. The 270 recipes, compiled and written by award-winning food book author Richard Olney, include soups and starters; seafood, meat, game, and poultry dishes; vegetable and grain specialties; and simple but luscious desserts. Readers seeking an armchair tour of the region, singularly depicted, and the chance to see and reproduce its dishes, will delight in the book, which would also make a welcome gift.
Beginning with an introduction to the land and its cooking, the book then weaves short essays about the Provençal regions with recipes arranged by courses. There are exemplary versions of bouillabaisse and bourride (the creamy, garlic-infused fish chowder), estouffade (braised beef, here with olives and mushrooms), daubs (stews), vegetable-filled omelets, and tians (savory gratins). Less familiar treasures include a mixed herb pasta from Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, porgy with crab sauce from the Var, a braised stuffed lamb shoulder from Vaucluse, zucchini and rice gratin from the Alpes Maritimes, and dried figs in thyme and red wine syrup, also from the Var. The recipes reflect Olney's unerring palate and dedication to tradition; some cooks may find certain dishes beyond their reach, but all will discover approachable recipes that are easily made. Wine information and a glossary conclude the portrait of Provence and its table--a feast for the eye and palate alike. --Arthur Boehm
From Publishers Weekly
Provence has long been a magnet for artists, writers and those in search of a good climate. And yet, while Provence was the birthplace of Auguste Escoffier, the patron saint of French cooking, Provencal cooking itself has been relegated to the sidelines of French cuisine. It relies on simple ingredients like garlic, onions and anchovies, and therein lies its charm. Provence is composed of the Alpes Maritimes, Alpes-De-Haute Provence, the Vaucluse region, the Bouches-du-Rhone and Var. Within these five areas can be found lavender fields, Marseilles fishing boats and the celebrity-laden Cote d'Azur. Likewise, the cuisine varies, drawing heavily from its Italian influence and from local bounty from the sea and soil. This latest in Collins's "Beautiful Cookbook" series features recipes gathered by Olney ( Simple French Food ), who has clearly enjoyed himself while doing so. He ably introduces the reader to the traditions of Provencal cooking with clear, articulate recipes. The book is divided into 10 chapters, five of which discuss the history and gastronomic development of particular regions, the other five of which cover soups, fish, meats, vegetables and desserts. Olney also includes a useful glossary of terms from which the reader will learn how to make aioli, coulis and mirepoix, the building-blocks of Provencal cooking. He also includes valuable advice on matching Provencal wines with dishes. With its lush photographs of food and scenery, this is a book to savor, whether in the library or the kitchen.
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Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.