Provencal Light

Martha Rose Shulman, Author Bantam Books $29.95 (472p) ISBN 978-0-553-08723-9
Noting that the cuisine of Southern France is already ``essentially vegetarian,'' Shulman ( Mediterranean Light ) maintains the character of traditional Provencal dishes even while reducing their fat content. Eschewing all meat dishes (and even the traditional bourride, a heavily enriched fish soup) , she cuts the amount of olive oil used in many dishes (down to one or two tablespoons for four to eight servings) and calls for less than usual amounts of such high-fat flavor enhancers as tapenade (olive paste). In a ``relatively low-fat aioli'' much of the garlic mayonnaise's oil is replaced with fromage blanc, cottage cheese or mashed potatoes. While there are only 10 recipes in the poultry and rabbit chapter, the vegetable and soup chapters are as full as a market basket in July. Of note are vegetable ragouts and gratins: tomato, potato and squash, and others in combination--such as artichokes and potatoes, eggplant and tomato, spinach and red pepper--all redolent of garlic and herbs. Sauteed vegetables are cooked with less oil and over a low heat, yielding their flavors surely but more slowly. Desserts highlight fresh fruits, usually in clafoutis or tarts made with crisp, scantily buttered phyllo pastry. These are not diet recipes, but they are reasonably healthful and joyously Provencal. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/04/1994
Release date: 04/01/1994
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