DINNER FOR TWO!: Crispy Salmon with Fresh Grated Tomato Broth and Hot Hot Hot Calabrian Chili Paste

RECIPE: Crispy Salmon with Fresh Grated Tomato Broth and Hot Hot Hot Calabrian Chili Paste

Salmon Tomato Calabrian ChiliI’m a creature of habit, and when I find something I love, I love it.  I have worn the same black jumpsuit to nearly everything all summer.  Same with this dish – I can’t get it out of my weekly rotation, and I would never want to!  Mr. English requests it.  He was gleeful when I made it Monday night.  My uncles were impressed – which impresses me – when I made a crowd-serving version in June.  It’s become a signature.

I love it for three reasons.  One: it’s so healthy, it’s nuts, and few things leave me feeling this guilt-free.  Two: it takes exactly fifteen minutes to make, so I make it nearly weekly after work.  #bestwifeever  And three: it looks very Park Avenue, so I can serve it when people come over and bask in the compliments – even though, as I said, it took me fifteen minutes to make.  Oh, and four!  It makes use of summer tomatoes, which I love and wait for all year long.  Don’t want those going to waste.

Ok, it’s amazing – but what is it?  It’s crispy pan-seared salmon fillets, seasoned only lightly with salt, nestled in a broth of fresh tomato, and topped with Calabrian chili paste and torn basil.  On the side, I serve a bowl of whole wheat couscous that steeps like tea in a bowl while I make the rest of the dish.

The salmon takes no effort.  I sear it in olive oil on both sides while I make the broth.  For the broth, I cut the tomatoes in half, and grate them on a box grater.  This is truly a revelation.  The skin stubbornly refuses to be grated, so you end up with a pile of perfect summer tomato flesh in thirty seconds, and the tomato peel sails into the trash.  I add some olive oil to a small saucepan, and add a whole clove of garlic.  When it’s golden, I add in the tomato flesh and some salt, and just cook it as long as it takes you to finish cooking the salmon.  I’m a weirdo who likes my salmon cooked all the way through, so that’s about 10 minutes.  The sauce is still fresh, but the raw edge is gone, and it’s breathtaking.  I serve it to my mom on zucchini noodles.  It goes with gnocchi.  It’s the best.

I serve it in wide, shallow bowls.  I spoon in the tomato broth, throwing away the garlic, which has already done what it set out to do.  Then, I settle the salmon in the middle of the warm broth.  I spoon just a dollop of Calabrian chili paste, spicy and full of olive oil and from the south of Italy, on top, and confetti on some basil (try tiny leaves of Greek or global basil, if you can get them).  The chili paste has a great flavor – I smear it over the fish, but you could also mix it into the broth.  It’s hot hot, so tread lightly.  The couscous is optional, but it really takes no work (just pour boiling water and a pinch of salt over the dry couscous in the serving bowl, and cover with plastic wrap for five to ten minutes), and it adds a nice heft the dish – plus it soaks up the extra broth like it was born to do it.  But baguette would work, as would a cool heritage grain, like farro.

That’s it!  For a crowd, I serve the broth and chili paste on the side, and roast a whole side of salmon in a low oven (325 degrees), scattering basil over the top before serving.  Then everyone can construct their own bowls.

In my mind, the perfect dinner for two.

Crispy Salmon with Fresh Grated Tomato Broth and Hot Hot Hot Calabrian Chili Paste
serves 2

Salmon Tomato Calabrian ChiliINGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and whole
  • 2 beefsteak or 3 vine-ripe tomatoes
  • 2 6-ounce fillets of center cut salmon
  • Calabrian chili paste – as much or little as you want
  • Fresh basil leaves – any kind you want

METHOD

In a small saucepan, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  At the garlic clove, and saute gently until golden brown.  Meanwhile, half the tomatoes, and light squeeze the halves over the sink to get rid of some seeds.  On the coarse side of a box grater, grate the tomato halves, skin-side-out.  Add the tomato pulp to the olive oil and toasted garlic clove.  Season with salt.  Leave to bubble uncovered, gently.

Season the salmon with salt.  Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet.  Sear the salmon, skin-side-up for 5 minutes, then flip and cook 3 to 5 minutes, depending on how cooked you like it.

Spoon the tomato broth into two wide, shallow bowls.  Place one salmon fillet in each.  Top with an angry dollop of chili paste.  And tear basil leaves over the whole thing.  Done!

If you want to serve the couscous, put 1 cup of whole wheat couscous in a serving bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and a good pinch of salt.  Use a fork to mix it all together.  Then, pour over boiling water or vegetable stock, or a mix of both – 1 ¼ cups total.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Do this first, and the couscous will be perfectly fluffy by the time everything else is done.  Just fluff with a fork, and serve alongside.

print this recipe
print this post Posted by Kerry | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment
Categories: 15 Minutes, Cheap, Easy, Eat, Fish, Main Courses, Recipes
 

Lemon Orecchiette with Rosemary…Cottage Cheese

RECIPE: Lemon Orecchiette with Rosemary...Cottage Cheese

Orechiette with Lemon, Rosemary, and Cottage Cheese

Mr. English and I came back from Puglia a few weeks ago.  The heel of the boot.  The Florida of Italy.  And while I love New York Italian food — or I thought I did before our trip — I am in acute withdrawal from real Italian pasta.

At our hotel, a masseria where all meals were (happily) taken on the premises, I was kept on a continuous drip of pasta.  But it wasn’t red sauce pasta.  It wasn’t Everests of Parmesan pasta.  It wasn’t guilty or heavy pasta.

Instead, the Italian pastas reminded me a bit of those interesting marriages between two personalities — one that seems calm, beige, simple, and the other that seems brash, ebullient, technicolor.  Taken apart, you can’t stand either, but together, you have the perfect dose of each.

So it was with my pastas in Puglia.  The pasta may have seemed like a blank canvas, but really it had its own interest.  Chubby little gnocchi.  Mustache twirls of trofie.  Greedy little orecchiette that gathered everything up in their little bowls.  And with these, a punchy pesto of zucchini flowers and summer garlic.  Raw halves of blush-hot cherry tomatoes.  Tangles of regal, bittersweet eggplant.  And that was it — just the two of them, with barely enough sauce to hold them together, or to pull them apart.

Then it was over.  The big skies and flat, shrubby land.  The white domed roofs.  The rustle of olive leaves, exchanging ancient gossip on the breeze.  Traded after a jet ride for hot concrete, glass, asphalt.  I sighed, and opened the fridge to whatever staples I had had to the foresight to order from Fresh Direct.

I love this pasta for being impromptu and unexpected, and kind of crazy.  And for being like those Italian pastas – light and punchy and summer.  I start with orecchiette, which I kind of believe goes with everything.  Although you could certainly use trofie, or anything that has that roughened, grizzled texture.  The sauce is just lemon juice and pasta water, whisked together with cold butter.  It is happy, and comforting – a salty yellow sweater.  To top it off, I mixed cottage cheese (yes, cottage cheese!) that I slightly drained with the zest of the lemon and chopped fresh rosemary.  You could definitely use ricotta in place of the cottage cheese, but I was using what I had, and I can’t tell you how unexpected the cottage cheese works in here, holding its own, adding creaminess without dissolving into a cream sauce.  You have to try it.

Lemon Orecchiette with Rosemary...Cottage Cheese
serves 2 – 4 (realistically, depending on how hungry you are)

Orechiette with Lemon, Rosemary, and Cottage CheeseINGREDIENTS

  • 1 1-pound box of orecchiette
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 twigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1 heaping ½ cup of full-fat cottage
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, very cold

METHOD

Cook the orecchiette according to package instructions in well-salted water until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining.

In the meantime, zest and juice the lemon, and finely chop the rosemary. Stir the lemon zest and rosemary into the cottage cheese. It’s up to you, but I love to drain my cottage cheese in a wide-mesh colander to dry it out a bit. Do that before you stir in the zest and rosemary!

In the same pot in which you cooked the pasta, add ½ cup of reserved pasta water and the lemon juice over high heat. Add the butter and whisk constantly until completely melted and incorporated. Takes a minute or two. Shut off the heat immediately, and stir in the pasta. Season with salt if it needs it.  Add more pasta water if it needs it.  Serve with the rosemary cottage cheese on the side, and spoon into the center of each plate of steaming pasta.

print this recipe
print this post Posted by Kerry | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Lemon Orecchiette with Rosemary…Cottage Cheese
Categories: 15 Minutes, Cheap, Easy, Eat, Main Courses, Recipes, Sides, Starches, Vegetarian, Vegetarian
 

Everything you ever wanted to know about France publishes today!

f is for franceFor my final exam at Le Cordon Bleu, I had to prepare a dish called blanquette de veau.  It’s a veal stew — sounds good, right?  Except that it’s stewed in cream, and thickened with egg yolk, and in the case of that exam, served over rice.  It was the whitest white on white food I’d ever made — Mr. English (who helped me study) and I are still recovering from it.  Bleck.

And yet, in reading Piu Eatwell’s new book of French trivia entitled F is for France, I discovered that blanquette is the #4 most popular dish in France!  Cassoulet is #15 — I harrumphed audibly.
I have to say, I love trivia.  And I have never before seen a book dedicated solely to trivia of the français variety.  I’ve been spewing facts to nearby victim-listeners since I received the galley.  
I am thrilled to have the author Piu here to answer a few questions about the book — and thrilled that we have two copies to give away to French Rev readers!  It’s the perfect light read — and it’s always nice to walk away from a book feeling like you learned something.  Like did you know that Napoleon’s sword sold for $6.5 million?  Or that Louis XIV ate 400 oysters before his wedding night (that’s pretty gross)?  Or that there are over two dozen town in the United States called Paris?  Or that the emergency call “Mayday” comes from “M’aidez”, or “help me”?  Or that Chanel No. 5 was created by Mademoiselle’s pharmacist?  Makes Walgreens seem pretty unaccomplished, doesn’t it?
Below, author Piu gives us a glimpse into the book.

Thanks to Piu and her publisher St. Martin’s Press, two lucky readers will receive free copies of the book.  Head over to Instagram and Facebook to find out how!

You can buy a copy of F is for France here!  It publishes today.

Piu Eatwell

Piu Eatwell

What spurred you to write a book of French trivia?  

There are so many strange and fascinating things about France that people don’t know about.  Most books about France just deal with the obvious clichés.

Tell us about your background!  Why France?  Why trivia?

Although I am British, I have lived in France for ten years.  Mainly in Paris, but in the country also.  I find my adopted country fascinating and want to share my discoveries with readers.

How did you uncover so much about France?  What were your sources like?  Your research?  

I spent a lot of time in French libraries and poring over French magazines, books, and newspapers. A lot of the information in the book has hitherto only been available to a French readership and is published for the first time in English in this book.

What was the most astonishing thing you uncovered?

That the croissant was invented in Austria!

Were there any facts that you wish you could have included in the book but didn’t — or couldn’t?  Spill!

There is an French urban myth that it is illegal to call a pig Napoleon in France.  Sadly, it’s not true.

Anything you uncovered that you just couldn’t believe?

That there is a wild kangaroo population just outside Paris.

In looking back on the whole project, what do you take away about France from the myriad facts that come together to describe it?  

That France, as ever, is so much more interesting than the clichés.

What are your five favorite tidbits from the book?

  1. There is a town in France where UFOs are banned from landing.
  2. Marie-Antoinette never said ‘Let them eat cake.’ The phrase was probably invented by the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
  3. There is a French law stating that all alcohol is banned from the workplace – except beer, wine, and cider.
  4. When Hitler invaded Paris, the French cut the ropes of the lift in the Eiffel Tower to stop him climbing it.
  5. The first champagne coupe was, according to legend, molded on the left breast of Marie-Antoinette.

What do you hope readers take away from the book?

A sense of the huge diversity and paradox that you find in modern France, beyond the clichés.

 

print this post Posted by Kerry | Tagged , | Comments Off on Everything you ever wanted to know about France publishes today!
Categories: Finds, France, People
 

Maille Has a Mustard Sommelier (You Heard That Right), and Her Name Is Pierette Huttner!

I can’t tell you what a thrill it is for me when Maille launches a new product, and I get the email that they I am invited to taste it.  I comes simply down to, I love Maille.  Their mustards have a sharpness that is all France — some American Dijons are too tame for me.  And strolling through their boutiques — there are now TWO in New York, at Lincoln Square and now in Flatiron — is like sampling the special perfumes at Chanel, but it’s the whole store, and instead of smelling, you’re dipping little wooden spoons into pots of fantastically named and hued mustards.  Exquisitely displayed, the mustards come in such an array of flavors that I immediately devolve from my Chanel-sniffing stance to full kid-in-a-candy store anticipation.  Even though the stores are so elegant, there is still a pervasive sense of whimsy and passion, and it is just such fun.  Especially when you pull your own mustard from the tap.

MailleTastingTable-036

Pulling mustard from the tap under Pierette’s guidance at Maille’s event with Tasting Table this spring.

I first met Pierette, Maille’s American mustard sommelier, a few years ago when Maille opened its first US boutique at Lincoln Center.  It was then that I first glimpsed her encyclopedic knowledge of and creativity with the flavored mustards — always telling me to put them in cocktails or desserts!

Filip Wolak_Maille_Create Your Own mustard Class_2016_11So I was delighted when a few weeks ago I was sat across from her at an intimate table of six at the new Flatiron store, as she walked me and five other food media types through Maille’s new Create-Your-Own-Mustard class (click here to sign up!).  I know I’m totally geeking out on mustard, but I had the time of my life.  Little pots of ingredients from around the world were lined up and labeled on all the counters of the store.  The bar was pouring rosé.  Pierette gave me some base mustard, and then counseled me on making my own personal mustard — just like my own personal scent.  For me, that meant a provençal concoction of lemon and orange, fennel seeds, black pepper, and woody herbs.  The flavors may have been very French, but I have been eating it, as Pierette informed me, the American way — sitting on my couch in front of the TV out of its pretty stone jar with a bag of Splits pretzels!  Being Kerry!

Filip Wolak_Maille_Create Your Own mustard Class_2016_18

The scene – an intimate table, shelves of mustard, black and gold.

Filip Wolak_Maille_Create Your Own mustard Class_2016_10

Pierette giving us the primers on how to create your own mustard flavor. Not as easy as you might think, but we were fully prepared after her instructions.

Filip Wolak_Maille_Create Your Own mustard Class_2016_5

Mustard on tap, and just some of the many mix-ins.

Filip Wolak_Maille_Create Your Own mustard Class_2016_8

What would mustard, or life, be without citrus zest?! Pierette supervises.

Filip Wolak_Maille_Create Your Own mustard Class_2016_3

Pierette consults as things get serious. A little of this, a little of that. But too much could spell disaster so we go slowly.

Filip Wolak_Maille_Create Your Own mustard Class_2016_4

Mixing — while eating too many cornichons.

Filip Wolak_Maille_Create Your Own mustard Class_2016_7

Fennel seeds, black pepper, lemon zest, orange zest, rosemary, and thyme. Pierette advised adding different vectors to the mustard. Sweet, Spice, Fresh, and Texture. Perfection.

I wanted you all to meet Pierette, because there is just no one out there like her.  If you love mustard and cornichons, as I do, you’ve just met your best friend.  She’s engaging, spirited, and passionate about both Maille’s inventiveness and heritage.  I wanted to learn a little more about her, and also to share with you her ridiculous ability to suggest perfect ways to use all of Maille’s mustards.  It’s dangerous — you will want to collect them all.

Pierette, your official title is Mustard Sommelier.  It’s such a particular job, and you’ve told me it is your ideal one.  Tell us how you became a mustard sommelier – where did you start and how did you get here?

My career prior to Maille was in the beauty industry, but my passion outside of work was always around cooking and discovering new recipes and flavors. I used Maille, loved Maille, and was passionate about mustard!  When I knew Maille was coming to the U.S., I thought it was a great opportunity to combine one of my personal passions with my expertise in retail. The beauty industry (specifically fragrances) really prepared me for this role. I have collected perfumes for years and would spend hours sampling, smelling, and dissecting the elements that make up a great or just memorable fragrance. It is this ability to identify notes and flavors that really has made me successful in my role.

Besides being Maille’s mustard sommelier, who is Pierette Huttner – sans mustard?

My other pursuits are also very artistic – I love fashion, art, music, and anything that pushes your creativity. I would describe myself as a curious person, so I love to discover and include new things in my life.

What was your sommelier training?  Sounds delicious.

My training was very intense! I had to learn to identify all of the types of mustard that we make and be able to speak to each unique flavor. I spent time in all of our boutiques overseas (Paris, London, Dijon) and worked with the team there to create pairings and tastings for our US customer base.

What did you discover about mustard that surprised you the most while training? 

Most surprising was how complementary it is with sweet dishes and desserts. The spiciness of mustard really complements sweet elements.

And, that there is such a rich history of mustard going back thousands of years!

Tell us about the differences in mustard culture between the US and France.  Maille has so many spectacular special flavors.  Which ones are unique to each country?

In the US, the use of mustard is more casual than in France. In France, it is common to find mustard used even in the most elegant of dishes. Here, it is more commonly found paired with very casual food like pretzels, sandwiches, and hotdogs.  We carry the same flavors around the globe, but I feel the flavors that best represent the US are rich and bold, like our Blue Cheese, Horseradish, and Dijon Originale White Wine Mustard on Tap.

You’ve told me that the founder of Maille was a scrappy entrepreneur (my words!).  How is Maille continuing that tradition of innovation today with such a legacy product?

It is a careful balance between retaining our 269-year-old heritage and retaining our relevance in a culinary world that is inundated with dozens of new or niche brands every year. We position the mustard in a way that is playful and elegant – like our Maille Mustard Mobile that traveled throughout the US, and new and unusual flavors like our Secret Garden of Chefs Collection, which is based in vegetables.

I love Maille mustard wholeheartedly – but I love the cornichons even more.  What’s their story?

Everybody loves cornichons! They are a real treat. We harvest our cornichons within a peak period that ensures we are getting the most crisp and flavorful cornichons. In addition to our Classic and Gourmet Cornichons, this year we have introduced two new flavor variations at the boutique and on Maille.com: Caramelized Onion and Sundried Tomato. They are a perfect snack or as an accompaniment to a summer cocktail.

I found the Create-Your-Own-Mustard class at the Maille boutique in New York to be such an eye-opening experience.  The idea that you can create your own custom mustard out of fresh ingredients, like a signature scent.  For someone who can’t make it to the class at the boutique, how can she make her own mustard at home?

I would start with identifying what you would like the end result to pair well with, like grilled fish or a vinaigrette to dress a salad. Make a list of your favorite flavors that could be add-ins. Love Tomatoes? Try, sundried tomatoes as an add-in. Or, are you fan of a particular cuisine? Check out what spices are commonly used. From there, I would go to your local farmer’s market and see what is in season in fresh herbs. With those inspirations, you will definitely create an amazing mustard!

Mustard versus ketchup.  Tell us why mustard wins.

Mustard has been used for over 3,000 years in every culture from the Egyptians, to the Greeks, to Chinese. It has a long tradition of use in cooking and in a variety of cuisines. It is has endured due to the unique spiciness of the mustard seeds and the ability of mustard to amplify other tastes within a dish.

If you had to choose a favorite child, which Maille mustard would it be?

Wholegrain Chardonnay wins every time. So simple, so delicious and versatile. An everyday classic.

Instead of the Epicurean Proust, which I usually use to end my Tête à Têtes, I want to share with French Rev readers your uncanny ability to invent recipe ideas (including, impressively, desserts and cocktails) off the top of your head with the mere mention of any of Maille’s many mustard flavors.  Here we go on some of my favorites…

Mustard-with-Olives-and-Herbes-de-ProvenceOlives and Herbes de Provence (one of my favorites, from the spring 2016 collection): 

I love grilled fish in the summertime so I would pair this with grilled mahi mahi.

 

 


Rosemary Honey MustardRosemary Honey (another personal favorite, and currently on tap for summer 2016): 

Fried chicken and waffles….

 

 

 

Black Truffle (a seasonal specialty):  

Best secret ingredient in mashed potatoes ever!

 

 

Blue-cheese-and-white-wine-mustard-19876101_1Blue Cheese: 

Wait! You are supposed to eat this with food??? If not, from the jar than I recommend it with a soft pretzel still warm from the oven.

 

 

 

Sun-dried-tomato-Espelette-pepper-white-wine-mustard-19879601_1Sun-Dried Tomato, Espelette Pepper, and White Wine: 

Southwestern style scrambled eggs with lots of cheddar cheese.

 

 

 

Honey-Modena-balsamic-vinegar-mustard-11942801_1Honey and Modena Balsamic Vinegar: 

An easy hors d’oeuvre like drizzled on top of ricotta and fig crostini.

 

 

 

Mustard-with-Carrot-and-a-Hint-of-ShallotCarrot and a Hint of Shallot: 

Infused into sour cream on top of a great gazpacho.

 

 

 

Candied-orange-peel-ginger-white-wine-mustard-39879301_1Candied Orange Peel, Ginger, and White Wine: 

I would toss this into a shrimp and rice stir-fry.

 

 

 

Gingerbread-chestnut-honey-and-white-wine-mustard-29879004_1Gingerbread, Chestnut Honey, and White Wine: 

Clearly, this is a base for a decadent ice cream with crumbled ginger snaps on top.

 

 

 

Dijon-blackcurrant-liqueur-and-white-wine-mustard-29876301_1Dijon Black Currant Liqueur and White Wine: 

My top choice for bratwurst or any salty sausage.

 

 

 

Saffron-Isigny-cremefraiche-white-wine-mustard-19879901_1Saffron, Isigny Crème Fraîche, and White Wine: 

Warmed with butter in a pan for scallops. I always add a lot of garlic and fresh tarragon.

 

 

 

Walnuts-and-white-wine-mustard-39879701_1Walnut: 

Super fantastic baked into a banana bread loaf.

 

 

 

Pesto-and-arugula-mustard-with-white-wine-19879501_1Pesto and Arugula Mustard with White Wine: 

A simple, last-minute brunch and so easy to prepare: mix into cream cheese and pair with a bagel, smoked salmon, and capers.

 

 

 

Maille’s new Flatiron boutique is located at 927 Broadway (at 21st Street) – Phone: +1-929-335-6610.  Open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. Open Sunday from 11:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.  

The Lincoln Square boutique is located at 185 Columbus Avenue (at 68th Street) – Phone: +1-212-724-1014.  Open Monday through Saturday from and 10:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. Open Sunday from 11:00A.M. to 7:00 P.M.

Create Your Own Mustard classes are $59 and offered at both locations.  Sign up here!

Photos courtesy of Maille and Filip Wolak.

A huge thank you to Maille and Fraîche for letting me experience the Create Your Own Mustard class, and for making this interview possible.

print this post Posted by Kerry | Tagged , , | 1 Comment
Categories: Finds, New York, People, Voyages
 

Hitting Provence’s Markets like a Pro: An Interview with Markets of Provence Author Marjorie Williams

Markets of Provence + Marjorie WilliamsMarjorie Williams

As I wrote last week, Marjorie Williams has written the French shopping bible – a day-by-day guide to the thirty best markets Provence has to offer. And it’s so usable – if you’re in Provence on a Friday (and who wouldn’t want to be!) and in the market for a market, just flip to the Friday chapter, and peruse your options. There are traditional markets, night markets, antique markets. And Marjorie lists the best providers and features of each. Plus, the book is peppered with otherworldly market facts – like the market in Vaison-la-Romaine that has been held every Tuesday since 1532. It marvelously brings history to life, knowing you are linked back to the Middle Age simply by Tuesdays upon Tuesdays of markets. On the occasion of the launch of Markets of Provence, her follow up to Markets of Paris, Marjorie stops by French Revolution to share her Provençal marketing know-how. Next time I head to France, I know who I’m taking with me! Thanks, Marjorie!

Buy Markets of Provence here.  Follow Marjorie on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Marjorie Williams Market SpreadTête à Tête with Marjorie Williams

When you show up at any market – how do you start?  What’s your method for conquering the market?

I bring along a market basket, a small notebook, and camera. I scope out a portion of the market to see what looks best before I decide where I’ll make my purchases. I usually make 2 – 3 rounds walking each market: Peruse. Purchase. Chat with vendors and snap some photos.

What’s your favorite type of market?  Night markets?  Antique?  Farmer’s?  Typical Provençal?  Tell us a bit about the differences.

I truly like them all. Check my book (pp. 3-5) for a description of the different types of markets in Provence.

Do you go knowing what you want to buy, or hoping to make discoveries?

I’ve learned to go to markets with an open mind and flexible shopping list. I learned this while shadowing a chef as he shopped at the Halles d’Avignon (covered market in Avignon). He had a loose idea of what he wanted to buy, but he allowed himself to be influenced by sellers’ recommendations of what was particularly fresh or unusual that day. I’ve adopted that technique.

Marjorie Williams Olive OilsWhat are your food must-buy items you can get only in Provence (or are best bought in Provence)?  Best markets for them?

I always buy Provençal olive oils. Best to buy them at covered markets because they’re sensitive to sunlight and outdoor temperature conditions. I also buy lavender soaps, honey from bees that have been feeding on local wildflowers, and Banon cheese.

What are your tips for picking the right vendor?  For choosing the right product?

Look for lines of customers. That typically indicates a vendor who is popular with the local residents, and they know best. Scope out a portion of the market to gauge where the produce looks the best, etc. before making purchases. Ask questions. Most vendors are knowledgeable and proud of the goods they’re selling and happy to explain the differences. If not, move on.

How truly local are Provence markets nowadays?  How much is for tourists, and how much is true local purveyors – both in food, and in other items?

There are differences among them, and in the book I give a sense of each market’s character and where it stands in terms of how much it’s geared to tourists or to locals or to a mix. Most Provençal markets attract a combination of tourists and locals. They’re not tourist attractions but instead a real part of local life.

Secrets for shopping like a local and not a tourist?

Go early when selection is at its best and parking is easier. It’s okay to ask for a sample, such as with olives. Interact with sellers, and don’t hesitate to ask questions. If you don’t speak French, however, don’t worry —going to markets is still easy and enjoyable. You don’t have to be fluent to be comfortable there. You’ll find many more tips in the book.

You also wrote a guide to the markets of Paris.  What are the differences between Paris markets and Provence markets?

There are more farmers selling at the markets in Provence, and a good portion of the goods are coming from the immediate area. For example, the most delicious strawberries, cherries, apricots, melons, goat cheeses, and so much more are grown in Provence. The food hasn’t traveled far to get to the markets. The markets in Provence tend to fill the entire village or town, weaving up and down streets, taking sharp turns, and spilling into public squares. The markets in Paris are straightforward to navigate since they’re usually a couple of consecutive straight blocks. These are just a few of the differences.

The Epicurean “Marketing!” Proust

1. What is your idea of perfect Provence market happiness?

A sunny day with a bright blue sky (as most days there are), a market with many local producteurs, and charming physical surroundings such as shady sycamores, a chateau in the background, or views of the Luberon.

Marjorie Williams Cheese6. What is your greatest market extravagance?

Locally made pottery. And cheese, cheese, cheese. I consume a lot of it when I’m there.

13. What is the quality you most like in a market?

A relaxed atmosphere.

15. What is the greatest market love of your life?

Probably the one in Fontainebleau because that’s where I first discovered—and fell in love with—French markets.

19. What do you consider your greatest Provence marketing achievement?

Narrowing down hundreds of markets to 30 that I consider the best. Also, finding a great parking space in Saint-Rémy when I arrived at 11 am on market day.

22. What is your most treasured market-bought possession?

A hand-woven market basket that I bought from a craftsman in Apt.

35. What is your marketing motto?

Go to another one tomorrow.

Marjorie Williams Market CollageAll market photos by Marjorie Williams.

print this post Posted by Kerry | Tagged , | Comments Off on Hitting Provence’s Markets like a Pro: An Interview with Markets of Provence Author Marjorie Williams
Categories: Finds, Guides, People, Provence, Voyages
 

Marjorie Williams has Written the Guide to Provençal Markets – aka the French Shopping Bible

GIVEAWAY!

Provençal Market CollageEach year, this is when I start plotting.

I am going to France.  I have limited time, and limited Euros.  How am I going to spend both?

I make a list of what I need.  Or want.  I have difficulty with the distinction when I’m in France.

From the big stores:

I weigh up extravagances (CelineGoyardRepettoSaint-James!) and ponder FX and VAT.  Mentally, I start packing the giant black Longchamp pliage carry-on that I fold up and tuck into my suitcase for this express purpose: carting treasure.

But I always – physically, mentally, financially – leave a little room for markets.  For someone who spreadsheets her vacation, the markets in the South of France are where I truly enter another world, Narnia-like, stepping away from the New York minute, and living in another time.  I cannot plan.  I cannot online shop/stalk.  I can’t come back tomorrow.  I can’t think about it.  I can only show up and marvel and exclaim.  I can only see and to act.  These oases, springing up from and deflating back into nothing – parking lots, squares, black-tarred streets – are my paradise.  Like water holes in an at-times isolating modern life, Provençal markets are complete anachronisms to me – and I delight in them.  Towns still gather.  Vendors still specialize.  You can truly still find treasure – both in what you bring back, and in the experience of just being there.

Last year in Eygalières, I discovered gibassier, a giant cookie made from olive oil and orange flower water (my two favorite things).  It took me two days to eat.  In Cordes-sur-Ciel, I met a man selling glass bottles of amethyst-hued syrup, steeped with the lavender on his land.  I poured it over yogurt each morning, stirred into wine and Perrier, and yes, carted the rest home wrapped in a t-shirt.  It’s still in my fridge.  In Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, I bought a shallow white-glazed ceramic bowl for baking brie.  A basket to hold fruit with a net that pulls over it.  A gray Provencal-patterned breadbasket.  Another hand-woven wooden bread basket (I needed both!).  An olive wood board.  In Vence, vintage Lanvin ads that hang on my wall.  And a little portrait of the port where my mother was born.  I gathered the diaphanous colored plastic bags under arms, from wrists, hinged into elbows.

Mr. English hates this.  He sits in a café with a coffee and an English paper watching the town pétanque game out of the corner of his eye.  I meet him periodically to drop a package or have a Perrier or use the bathroom.  During my peregrinations I pick up a baguette, some saucisson, weeping melons de pays, caviar d’aubergine, and afterwards we find a tree and sit and “pique-nique” – we have a little Laguiole knife bought at the market in Sarlat for just such an occasion.  It is a time out of time.  The bees hum their tune.  The mistral whistles.  We dream of it all year.  My fingers feel electric just typing about it.

Markets of Provence Book JacketThere is one thing that can ruin this perfection: missing the markets!  I’d show up in a town for two days, and find out the market was yesterday.  Then a few weeks ago, in the mail I received Markets of Provence, by Marjorie R. Williams.  I couldn’t believe it – someone had written the provençal market bible.  There it all was: Eygalières (Friday) on page 199, Saint-Remy-de-Provence (Wednesday) on page 117.  And all the rest of them!

The book is brilliantly sorted by day.  So if it’s Monday, you can look for the market near you.  You can see what the specialties are – is it food or antiques or bric-a-brac or art or craftsmanship?  What shouldn’t you miss?  Who are the producers?  Now I will never experience FOMM – Fear of Missing Market – again.

Marjorie will be joining us on May 3 for a special interview.  I can’t wait!  Until then, pre-order Marjorie’s book here.  And, thanks to Marjorie and her publisher St. Martin’s Press, two lucky readers will receive free copies of Marjorie’s book.  Head over to Instagram and Facebook to find out how!

More more on traveling in Provence, visit my Papiers Provence!

print this post Posted by Kerry | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment
Categories: Finds, France
 

Turkey Tenders with Sea Salt, Herbes de Provence, and Lemon

RECIPE: Turkey Tenders with Sea Salt, Herbes de Provence, and Lemon

Turkey TendersThis is a fun recipe!

Some people are young at heart.  I’m young at taste buds.  And there are times when those taste buds are wailing with clenched fists and trembling chins not for foie gras, but for grilled cheese, for oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies (or better yet, rainbow cookies!), and of course, chicken fingers.

Except for one problem.  I’m chicken-intolerant.

Can you believe it!?  Who’s chicken intolerant!?  I am.  That’s who.  In Paris, I walk by those cases of pirouetting chickens on their rotisseries, with their matching potatoes bobbing in the paprika-stained hot tub of their drippings, and I quail with desire.  I fantasize about running to the door when Mr. English gets home and presenting him with a chicken, roasted and crackling with butter in a cast iron skillet.  (I swear, I am a modern woman, but there is just something romantic about chicken!)  I want to go to Koreatown and eat the whole plate of Korean fried chicken AND lick my fingers (you can tell, I’ve tried this – we won’t discuss).  And I want to eat chicken fingers and chicken nuggets!  (Foot stamp.  Flushed cheeks.  Pout.)  They always look amazing.

So I decided to do something about this, and started on a tirade of turkey.  Turkey noodle soup anyone?  It’s on my list.  But first, I went classic with turkey “fingers”.  I found some organic thinly sliced turkey cutlets.  I cut these in half, creating long strips.  These, I rubbed stingily in mayonnaise peppered with super savory and herbaceous dried herbes de Provence.  Then I dredged in panko, and pan-fried in olive oil. I topped with shards of Maldon salt, more dried HdP, and fresh lemon zest, serving the rest of the lemon alongside to squeeze on for flavor instead of ketchup.

I’ve made them twice in the last week.

The turkey is tender and velvety in that way it is.  The hot oil ignites the herbs, and they impart that intense perfuming savoriness.  The panko is satisfying crunchy.  The lemon brightens everything.  We have been packing it for picnics as spring has started to peep out from behind winter.  It’s wonderful.

Bon app!

Turkey Tenders

Turkey Tenders with Sea Salt, Herbes de Provence, and Lemon
serves 2 - 4

Turkey TendersINGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound thinly sliced turkey cutlets
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon dried herbes de Provence
  • ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs (preferably whole wheat!)
  • Olive oil
  • ½ lemon
  • ½ teaspoon Maldon sea salt

METHOD

Cut the turkey cutlets into thick strips (usually, this means halving each cutlet lengthwise), and season with salt and pepper.

In a wide bowl, mix together the mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon of herbes de Provence.  Toss the turkey in the mixture to coat.

Pour the panko into a separate bowl.  Dredge each turkey strip in the panko to thoroughly coat.

Heat an even layer of olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.  Fry the turkey tenders in batches, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes per side.  Then remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.  Season with the remaining herbes de Provence and the Maldon sea salt (just use a couple pinches of regular salt if you don’t have flaky sea salt).  Then, zest the lemon over the top.

Cut the zested lemon into wedges and serve alongside.  These are great hot straight from the pan, or room temperature on a picnic.

print this recipe
print this post Posted by Kerry | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment
Categories: 30 Minutes, Cheap, Easy, Eat, Main Courses, Poultry, Recipes