cover image Le Sud: Recipes from Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

Le Sud: Recipes from Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

Rebekah Peppler. Chronicle, $35 (280p) ISBN 978-1-79721-953-0

Paris-based American food writer Peppler (À Table) conjures up the vibrancy of southern French cuisine through these 80 recipes, which are framed by witty introductions and luscious photographs of the Mediterranean sea, market stalls, and the bounty of the region’s ingredients. Classic dishes include ratatouille, two versions of salad Niçoise, and the beef stew Daube Provençal. While she avoids “overwrought, technique-heavy dishes,” Peppler favors homemade tapenades, pesto, and aioli, the latter which she deems “the very sun of the Provençale universe.” This garlicky sauce shows up in soups (la bourride), mussels (moules in aioli), and, when paired with vegetables, makes a meal unto itself (aioli, petit to monstre). Veggies shine in cherry tomatoes with pistou, zucchini blossoms, and tomates à la Provençale (for “when it’s not summer but you need summer”). Peppler’s voice-driven writing is a treat, even in the titles: “The Pasta I Crave Every Time I’m Near the Sea,” which features fresh clams, is followed by “Pasta to Make When You’re Not Near the Sea (but Wish You Were)” with anchovies and sardines. Personal stories are lightly threaded throughout, as in the intro to sardines and piment d’Espelette, an impromptu picnic dish that Peppler once brought to the beach where she met her future wife. Desserts include a summery strawberry cake and a Christmasy hazelnut nougat, and a quick guide to the modern Provençale cheese plate rounds things out. This sparkling collection will delight foodies and armchair travelers alike. (Apr.)