Slowing down to a Provencal Rhythm
Last August we spent a transformative week in the historic hill town of Cagnes sur Mer, widely considered the ‘Montmartre’ of the South and long favored by impressionist painters for its alluring beauty. Within five days we went from our hurried, busy lives to a more relaxed, slowed down Provencal pace, hopelessly seduced by incredibly fresh seafood, perfect vegetables, and daily rounds of pastis and rosé.
I originally wrote this post for Curious Provence, but wanted to add the recipe for rouget I roasted in a wood burning oven in Cagnes Sur Mer. To read the entire article, please visit Curious Provence – Truly one of the great Provencal blogs; written by expat Ashley.
Cooking with the best Mediterranean ingredients
When I travel, I prefer to cook at home rather than go out to eat. It seems I often end up in overpriced tourist traps suffering through mediocre food rather than finding that gem of a local spot whose cuisine reflects the region. By cooking myself, I get to interact with locals shopping at the same markets as me who are buying the same just-caught fish and fresh vegetables. I usually find locals to be friendly, and happy to share recipes, proudly offering tips that help you truly learn their food.
A Recipe for Rouget with Ratatouille stuffed in Zucchini Blossoms
The open air Provencal markets are artists palettes for those that love food. I returned from the fish market in old Nice with shrimp, calamari, loup de mer and rouget. Rouget is a fish hard to find in America except in big cities or from specialty fishmongers like Browne Trading who ship nationwide. You can substitute red snapper, or any other small fish weighing roughly 4 ounces each that you encounter.
Here the components you will need
Tapenade: An olive and caper spread delicious on anything, especially fish.
Ratatouille: When I was a small child my mother used to keep a jar of ratatouille in the refrigerator at all times. It scared me to death, I thought eggplant was a plant made from chicken eggs. My mother would eat it by the bowl load; cold, hot it didn’t matter. I could never understand her love for it. Now it is something I keep on hand during the summer months when all the ingredients are at their peak flavors. It’s fantastic with poached eggs served on top, rolled into a creamy omelet or just eaten alone.
Provencal Rouget with Tapenade, Ratatouille and Zucchini Blossoms
A dish I made for friends during a Culinary Adventure in Southern France using local ingredients and roasted in a wood burning oven.
- 1 recipe tapendade
- 4 each rouget or small red snapper remove head and bones
- 1 recipe ratatouille
- 4 each zucchini blossoms
- 3 tablespoons great olive oil
Put one tablespoon of tapenade between the two fish filets.
Stuff one tablespoon of cold ratatouille into the zucchini blossom.
Stick the fish into the zucchini blossom.
Drizzle with olive and bake in 450 degree oven for about ten minutes.
This may seem a long and complicated recipe to some. To me, this is a quick and easy dish utilizing components I usually have already made. Both tapenade and ratatouille are great dishes to have laying around at all times. If friends stop by unexpectedly you can put a spoonful of tapenade on a cucumber slice or tartine and have a quick snack. Ratatouille makes a great light dinner or omelet mixed with goat cheese.