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The Provence Cookbook finds Patricia Wells, a resident of the region, evoking the terroir in over 200 recipes culled form chefs, home cooks, farmers, and more. Like her other collections, Provence yields easy but elegant fare--modern, light-on-their-feet dishes such as Six-minute Cod Braised in Spicy Tomato Sauce and Francks's Roasted Duck Breasts with Green Olives. While the recipes are truly French (with an occasional cross-cultural contribution), Wells has done her usual trick of translating them for relaxed American cooking; she's also provided enticing vignettes on local markets; on ingredients, like the nutty camargue rice; and on other culinary suppliers such as Hervé Poron, "The Truffle King". In themselves, the listings make a useful guide.
In addition to the expected categories, the large recipe range includes breads, pasta, egg and cheese dishes, such as Quick Polenta Bread with Rosemary, Linguini with Saffron and Baked Arugula Omelet. Desserts are hardly neglected, and include evocative specialties like Fresh Fig and Homemade Apricot Jam Tart, Three Pear Cake and Individual Cherry-Hazelnut Gratins. Tips such as "On Peeling Tomatoes" menus and photos further distinguish a book that will delight both Wells's fans and those fortunate to discover her culinary France. --Arthur Boehm, Amazon.com
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