Zucchini Provencal in my kitchen
One way to use the end of abundant summer growing season vegetables – tomatoes and zucchini – is to make this simple side dish, Zucchini Provencal. French home cooks tend to cook zucchini until it is almost mushy. So feel free to experiment with the cooking time, and make it to your taste and preference.
2-3 medium sized zucchini
Chop all of the vegetables in large chunks.
In a saute pan, heat some olive oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan.
Add some ground pepper and dried basil.
When the oil is hot, add the chopped onions.
Saute the onions until they start to clear.
Add the zucchini and stir.
Add the tomatoes and stir.
Saute until the tomatoes release their juice, the onions have become clear and the zucchini is soft the whole way through.
Serve hot as a side dish or a big bowl of it for a meal. It goes great with a big chunk of fresh baguette smeared with butter. I’ve also used it as a filling for a savory galette with parmesan cheese.
My take on Pasta with Salmon, using linguine, Chez Moi
It is not unusual to find pasta dishes in the South of France, or more specifically, in Provence. Italy is just across the border from the southern provinces and there are many families who live in the area that are of Roman or Italian descent. It is only natural that recipes in the south would cross over not only centuries and borders, but cultures.
Pasta, usually tagiatelle, with salmon in a rich cream sauce is a traditional dish in Arles and in the south. Arles is close both to the Mediterranean sea and the Rhône River, which runs through the middle of town. Seafood and fresh fish of all kinds are common items on the menus throughout the area.
I’ve had this dish twice in Arles, at two different restaurants, and both were similar, without variation. I could have guessed at this recipe when I had decided to make it at home a few weeks ago, but instead I searched the web for instructions. But the only recipes I found in English were salmon variations-on-a-theme of an (unbaked) tuna noodle casserole – with peas.
But that’s not the dish I had in Arles.
The dish I had in Arles was an al dente pasta with a cream sauce and salmon. Very simple. Very filling. And one should definitely wait twenty minutes before deciding on a second helping!
So I then did a search in French and found what I was looking for. The measurements were all in grams, but that’s not a problem because at chez moi, we don’t measure things. But the important thing was that I found a list of ingredients – and of course recipes vary, from the simplest version to the more complex, but any way you look at this recipe, it’s fairly simple.
If you are familiar with making a simple white sauce for pasta, then you already know this recipe, just add the marinated and sauteed salmon.
Fresh salmon filet
For the salmon marinade:
*Any of the thicker pastas will do, but this dish is usually made with tagiatelle. You could also use fettuccine, linguine, or even larger penne if that’s all you have.
A cup of heavy cream
Shredded Parmesan Cheese
Cut the filet of fresh salmon into thin strips.
Prepare the marinade by mixing a few chopped basil leaves, a crushed clove of garlic, sliced onion and the juice of half a lemon and sprinkle with pepper in a bowl.
Add the salmon.
Marinate strips of salmon in this mixture for 20 minutes.
Boil pasta until al dente, or according to the directions on the package, then drain.
Saute the salmon for 2 minutes.
In a saute pan, or a non-stick frying pan, melt a spoonful of butter.
Add some ground pepper.
When butter is melted add chopped garlic.
Then slowly add the cream, whisking or stirring as you do.
Let the cream simmer, stirring to keep it from boiling.
Let the cream cook down a bit.
Stir a handful of Parmesan cheese into the sauce.
Add some chopped fresh basil.
Stir the salmon into the cream.
Turn off heat.
Let this meld for a minute. (Not literally a minute, but while you get the pasta ready.)
Drain the pasta if you haven’t already.
Put it in a pasta bowl or on a plate.
Pour the cream sauce with salmon over it.
Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top if you would like to.
This is the heavy version of this recipe. If you are willing to experiment, you can use any combination of fat free, or low fat ingredients, less butter, or a butter/olive oil combination.