Book Review: Provencal Recipes By Andy Brabon

Book Review: Provencal Recipes By Andy Brabon
September 20, 2011 Leslie Juvin-Acker

Click on this image to see the full photo album

Andy Brabon’s second book Provencal Recipes was released this summer and I was pleased to recieve a copy from Andy to review the book and test the recipes for myself and for you, my readers.

Set up like Andy’s first book in the French cooking series, Savoie Fayre, Provencal Recipes is chock full of culinary insight and knowledge from France’s Provence and Cotes d’Azûr regions, making it a great reference book as well as a cookbook for English speakers. Learn how to select vegetables by season, discover the regions’ cheeses, identify and accurately select the best local seafood and game, and discover the Provencal region’s golden triumvirate: garlic, tomatoes, and olives. Understand the culture, history, and how these two combine to make the regions’ most popular dishes. If you’re ever so lucky to visit the Provence & Cote d’Azûr regions, know the local wines and where and when to shop the local markets.

Provençal Recipes is colorful and playful with designs indicative of the Provençal and Cote d’Azûr regions. The images found throughout were taken by Andy himself, as I mentioned in a previous blog post about the behind the scenes action, and just looking at them is bound to inspire an internal dialogue of, “Ooh, I can make that!” or “I want to try that.”

The good news about Provençal Recipes is that tourists who find this book throughout France can go home and find just about everything they need to make all of the recipes in their own homes. When I gathered my grocery list, I loaded up on standard fresh vegetables such as eggplants, zucchinis, tomatoes, lots of garlic, parsley, and onions. From these basic ingredients, one can combine them to make just about everything found in the book. As for fish and meat recipes, Andy offers up suggestions for finding substitutions in your local market and includes tidbits of advice and information to improve preparation and storage.

Seeing as though I’ve already sampled all of the recipes found in Provençal Recipes at Andy’s photo shoot, I tasked myself for this review to see if I my cooking replicated the look and taste of Andy’s dishes shown in the book. Over the course of four days, I tried the following recipes: soupe au pistou, pistou, aubergines in tomato sauce, tomato fondue, niçoise style red mullet, tomatoes Provençal style and the provencal veal shank. With the final result in mind, everything came out exactly as they should taste: light, healthy and fresh. French food is often reputed as difficult to make, and once more Andy Brabon carefully selects the best 33 Provencal recipes to prove that everyone, regardless of cooking ability, can cook French food.

Priced at 9.50 €, this Provençal Recipes is affordable, portable, and makes the perfect gift for the francophile and epicure in your life. Provençal Recipes is sure to please the eyes and the stomach with simple to follow recipes and knowledge on France’s most beautiful and famous regions, a must have for any cookbook collection.

Find Provencal Recipes at Neva Editions online


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