The mild, warm climate and bright sun in the south of France nurture and sustain the colorful array of Provencal ingredients.
When I lived in France, I used to love to sit in the cafes and watch the locals come to dine and catch up on the gossip.
With thoughts of this casual dining, I created a quick bistro-style dinner. It takes only about 30 minutes to make.
The chicken sauce use anchovies as a base; they practically melt to nothing when sauteed, yet give the sauce a rich flavor.
Be sure to rinse the fish well before use. This will remove most of the salt.
This dinner has 595 calories, 24 percent of them from fat.
Tips: To give chicken a crisp texture, make sure the skillet is very hot before browning.
Fresh thyme gives the dish a sweet flavor; however, dried can be used.
Any other type of tomato can be substituted for plum tomatoes.
Sauteed Garlic Potatoes
1 pound red potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 medium garlic cloves, unpeeled
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Wash potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet large enough to hold the potatoes in one layer. Add garlic and saute about 1 minute. Add potatoes and saute until golden on all sides, about 15 minutes.
Sprinkle with a little salt and cover. Reduce heat and cook gently for about 10 minutes, or until soft, tossing or stirring from time to time. Remove garlic and season with a
little more salt and pepper to taste.
Yield: makes 2 servings.
Nutritional information per serving: 276 calories, 5 grams protein, 50 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams fat (22 percent of calories as fat) 5 grams fiber, 13 milligrams sodium.
3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 medium red onion, diced, about 1 cup
3 anchovy fillets packed in water, rinsed
2 medium garlic cloves, crushed
4 medium plum tomatoes, diced, about 1 1/2 cups
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 pitted black olives, cut in half
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Remove fat from chicken and divide chicken into 2 portions. Heat a nonstick skillet and brown chicken about 1 minutes on each side.
Add onion and anchovies while chicken browns. Mash anchovies with the back of your cooking spoon.
Lower heat and add garlic, tomatoes and thyme. Cover and simmer 5 minutes.
Remove chicken to serving plate. Stir sauce and add vinegar, oil and olives. Add pepper to taste. Place chicken on individual plates and serve sauce over the top.
Yield: serves 2.
Nutritional information per serving: 319 calories, 44 grams protein, 15 grams carbohydrate, 9 grams fat (26 percent of calories as fat), 3 grams fiber, 113 milligrams cholesterol, 368 milligrams sodium.