Sunday, September 7, 2014

French Family Visits Sablet and a Delicious Recipe

One of the things I look forward to in Sablet is visits from French family. In case you don't know, we bought our home in Sablet instead of other places we looked including Paris, Haut-Savoie, Côte d'Azur, Languedoc and Switzerland, because of the weather and proximity to French family.

On a beautiful Saturday last spring, cousin Jean Marc and family came to visit and have lunch prepared by yours truly. Before we sat down to eat, we went to Café des Sports for aperitifs. As I told you here, Café des Sports is owned by friend Bruno Bordeaux and is the center of activities in Sablet.

Family gathers at Café des Sports in Sablet

Anne-Emmanuelle and her partner Guillaume

Matthias and partner Aurélie

Jean Marc and wife Christine

Enjoying aperitifs on a short sleeve weather day in Sablet

After we soaked up some of the Provencal sun and aperitifs and caught up on the latest family news, we went back to the house for lunch. I prepared a restaurant style multi-course meal starting with an amuse bouche of soup made with the first of the season asparagus.

Asparagus soup amuse bouche

Our first course was a truffle risotto, redolent of the aroma of the fresh truffles I got at the market in Richerenche.

Truffle risotto

For our main course, I prepared a delicious Monkfish à la Provençale. I got the recipe from my friend Barbara who runs Cuisine de Provence cooking school, when she and her husband Robert entertained us in their beautiful home in nearby Vaison-la-Romaine a few nights earlier.

Monkfish à la Provençale

We served two of our favorite vegetable side dishes, haricots verts and zucchini gratin, with the Monkfish à la Provençale.

Monkfish à la Provençale with vegetable side dishes

No meal would be complete for French family, especially if cousin Jean Marc is there, without a cheese course. I picked up a variety, goat, sheep, and two cow's milk, cheeses for a cheese course from the wonderful Josiane Deal at her cheese shop Lou Canesteou near the main square in Vaison-la-Romaine.

Cheese course include Banon, Comté, Roquefort, and Époisses de Bourgogne

Cousin Christine brought desserts.

Dessert # 1

Dessert # 2

After our leisurely lunch, we headed out for a walk and ended up in Gigondas.

Shirley and cousins Matthias and Anne-Emmanuelle pause on the fountain near our house

"Monkfish à la Provençale".
Makes 6 servings


Monk fish fillets (enough for 6 people), cleaned, skinned and bluish membrane that surrounds meat removed before cooking. Ask your fishmonger to do this for you.
1/2 cup white wine
2 medium cans chopped tomatoes
2 medium white onions, halved and finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, very finely sliced
1 pound of cherry tomatoes
a handful of capers
olive oil, pepper and salt, red pepper flakes


Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit

1. Cut the cleaned monk fish fillets into generous, chunky medallions and keep refrigerated until ready to cook.
2. Add a splash of olive oil to a pan, add the cherry tomatoes and sauté over moderate heat until they begin to soften. Let cool.
3. Add a splash of olive oil to a second, ovenproof pan that is large enough to hold all ingredients. Add the onions, garlic and red pepper flakes and let sweat over moderate heat until translucent.
4. Add the canned tomatoes, the wine and let bubble away for a few minutes until the sauce thickens. Season to taste.
5. Skin the cooled down cherry tomatoes, taking care not to lose any of their juice, then add to the sauce. Stir in the capers.

You can prepare the recipe up to this point so that just 20 minutes before you are ready to eat you add the fish medallions to the sauce (take care to cover the fish with sauce) then bake in oven for 20 minutes.


  1. Wow! Next time we stay at your house in Sablet we'd love to have you there cooking for us! What a feast! And your photos of it are great.

    1. Kathy, I would be happy to cook for you. Thanks for your sweet feedback. I hope you are well.

  2. I know where these desserts came from! Glad you liked the monkfish stew.

    1. We loved the monkfish dish. It is really easy and very tasty. Yes, it is hard not to figure our where those desserts come from. Have a good day.