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


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!

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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


  • 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


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.

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Cheap, Easy, Eat, Main Courses, Poultry, Recipes

Austin-Inspired Grill-Seared Flank Steak with Smoked Almond Greens Pesto and Smoked Salt Just in Time for SXSW

RECIPE: Grill-Seared Flank Steak with Smoked Almond Greens Pesto and Smoked Salt

Steak with Smoked Almond Pesto

I just got back from my very first trip to Austin, Texas, where I completely undid the effects of my Vegan + Fish January by eating nothing but red meat the entire time I was there.  C’est la vie!

I fell in love with the city (Launderette! La Condesa! Lamberts!) – its food and its shop.  The river / lake.  The bistro lights strung up everywhere indicating a general good time.  So this recipe is a little tip of my (cowboy?) hat to Texas – Grill-Seared Flank Steak with Smoked Almond Greens Pesto and Smoked Salt (if you have it).

I love a flank steak for weeknight cooking.  It’s cheap.  You serve it sliced so it goes a long way.  And it takes about 10 minutes to cook – on the grill, under the broiler, in a skillet.  Whatever.

Under this one, I whiz up an easy pesto.  My pesto recipe almost always follows the same recipe: 1 clove of garlic, ¼ cup of nuts, 3 cups of greens, and ¼ cup oil.  Cheese is whatever you feel like that night.  This pesto, which echoes all the woodsy, smoky flavors I ate in Austin, starts with smoked almonds (which I love and keep in the freezer at all time for emergency crap-people-are-coming-over-throw-wine-in-the-freezer-and-do-I-have-nuts moments).  I discovered them on a jetBlue flight and never looked back!

Add a clove of garlic, and 3 cups of greens.  You can really be inventive here.  I used arugula and basil, because I like the mix of peppery and herby.  But you can also use watercress, kale, spinach, parsley.  Whatever you like.  Finish with oil, salt, and pepper.  Smear on a platter.  Arrange the sliced meat on top.  Then top with a few handfuls of the greens you used, whole this time, drizzled with an anointing of olive oil and a crumbling of (smoked, if you have it) salt.  Serve with crusty bread (grilled for extra credit), and you’re done!  A kind of inverted steak salad full of smoky summer flavor when it’s still (only kinda sorta in New York) winter.

Grill-Seared Flank Steak with Smoked Almond Greens Pesto and Smoked Salt
serves 3-4


1 flank steak, about 1.5 pounds (leave it out for 15 minutes before you grill it to take the chill off)

1 clove garlic, peeled

Brimming 1/4 cup smoked almonds

1 cup basil

2 cups arugula, plus two big handfuls

1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

Salt and pepper, plus smoked salt for finishing


If you want to serve grilled bread, drizzle some sliced bread (I like baguette or ciabatta or country boule) with olive oil, and sear on a hot grill pan until marked.  Dust with salt.

Season the steak with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.  Place on a hot grill pan and don’t move it for 5 minutes.  Turn and cook another 3 minutes for a steak that’s done about medium.  Set aside to rest.

Meanwhile, make the pesto.  Blitz the garlic in the food processor.  Add the almonds, and blitz those.  Add the greens and some salt and pepper.  Blitz until obliterated.  Then add the olive oil, and blitz to combine.  Spread on a platter.

Slide the steak and arrange over the pesto.  Arrange the whole arugula leaves over the top, and drizzle with olive oil.  Crumbled some flaked smoked salt (or regular Maldon) over the top, and serve alongside the grilled bread, if using.

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Cheap, Easy, Eat, Main Courses, Meat, Recipes

Almond-Crusted Tilapia with Arugula, Fennel, and Lemon Salad

RECIPE: Almond-Crusted Tilapia with Arugula, Fennel, and Lemon Salad

Almond Crusted Tilapia with Arugula Fennel Lemon Salad

I have been delinquent in posting this recipe, because it was actually part of my “Vegan + Fish” January — and was unexpectedly so adored that Mr. English regularly pesters me to make it again.  I should listen.

I absolutely love Milanese.  To me, it’s schnitzel with salad, and in my absurd calorie math, fattening + vegetable = less fattening.  Sometimes traditional comfort food (think, gratin) leaves me feeling a bit, for lack of a better word, sick.  Of course, I eat it anyway, because I love it — but that’s precisely what I was trying NOT to do last month.

There is a weightlessness to a Milanese that belies the fact that it, of course, fried meat.  I always get up from the table grinning like the cat who ate a particularly deliciously prepared canary, but never having eaten myself ill.

I think part of its allure, for me anyway, is the fact that maman regularly breaded and shallow fried all kinds of things when I was growing up.  So often, it was flounder.  Sometimes chicken.  Even eggplant (which she would famously douse in a caramelized onion and chickpea sauce — it’s in the family annals).  It’s happy food for me.

To recreate it in my Vegan + Fish way, I coated fresh filets of tilapia with none other than Vegenaise (you could use regular mayonnaise, of course, if you’re not Vegan + Fishing).  Just wait, I’ll explain.  But first, I love tilapia because it has a sturdy fleshiness that at once stands up to my reliably voracious hunger, and also to being flipped in a pan.  It doesn’t crumble to fish flakes upon contact with a spatula.  It has backbone.  I then season and dredge the coated fish in almond meal — which sticks to the Vegenaise as well as I had hoped it would.

I first learned to use almond meal when I took a macaron-making class in Paris an eon ago.  Now, I keep it in my freezer.  It makes the perfect light and nutty and aromatic coating on fish.  Then, just a quick bronzing sear in olive oil, and my “Milanese” is perfect.  I top it with arugula and fennel tossed in olive oil and lemon juice and, for punctuation, pieces of lemon and lemon zest.  It perfectly captures that contract of the rich base and the bright as the summer sun salad.  I think I may have eaten the whole thing in four minutes.  Oh well.

Almond-Crusted Tilapia with Arugula, Fennel, and Lemon Salad
serves 4


4 tilapia filets

¼ cup mayonnaise (I use Vegenaise!)

1 cup almond meal

1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons

1 lemon

5 ounces baby arugula

1 fennel, thinly sliced (I use a mandoline), plus the chopped fronds


Season the fish with salt and pepper, and use your hands to coat in the mayonnaise. It sounds gross, but it tastes so great, you won’t regret it. Dredge in the almond meal to fully coat on both sides. Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet. When the oil is hot, add the fish in a single layer, cooking on medium heat until the fish is golden brown on both sides and cooked through.

Meanwhile, make the salad. In a large bowl, zest the lemon. Then cut the lemon into segments: using a small serrated knife or a paring knife, slice off the top and bottom of the lemon, exposing the yellow flesh, then run the knife down the edges to remove the skin and pith. Then, holding the lemon in your hand over the bowl, use the knife to cut out the little wedges of lemon flesh between the membranes. When that is done, squeeze out the lemon carcass into the bowl, getting rid of any seeds. If all this is too much for you, just juice the lemon into the bowl. Season the lemon with salt and pepper. Combine with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the arugula and fennel just before serving, and toss to combine.

To serve, place the fish, hot from the pan on a plate, and top it with the arugula salad. Yum!

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Easy, Eat, Fish, Main Courses, Recipes

Sweetheart Ingredient 2016: Caraway Seeds!

RECIPE: Caraway-Braised Beef Short Ribs with Celeriac and Celery Slaw

Caraway Short RibsBeing married on Valentine’s Day in a wonderful thing.  Marvelous, even miraculous, and intensely reassuring.  It’s also monotonous.  There is no face I’d rather see one pillow over when I open my eyes than Mr. English’s, but at the same time, after eight years, Valentine’s has kind of fallen by the wayside.  Anniversaries.  Holidays.  Birthdays.  We do them to the extreme.  But Valentine’s?  It kind of feels like it’s for new love.  For falling, tumbling head over heels.  We’ve already tumbled.  I think we’re on the outside of Valentine’s Day.

While I am not the kind of girl to fall in love with a new man every month, I am the type to fall in love with new things.  This year, I discovered and loved the western wine regions of Germany, perfectly stepped into the hillsides with gorgeous Germanic precision.  Snowshoeing, which I did for the first time after a snowstorm in Vermont.  It felt like trouping through Narnia!  Maman’s cavapoo Beau.  And caraway seeds.

I remember caraway seeds from Jewish deli rye, perfect on a grilled Swiss or with the tuna salad I used to order on 57th Street.  But outside of that little ecosystem, I never saw it.  Then, at my best friends’ joint bachelorette in Miami, we went to The Dutch for dinner, where they served beef short ribs with caraway.  What a revelation!  I was overcome by the aroma of them, cutting through the richness of the meat with a kind of licorice exoticism.  Then, I started seeing them everywhere.  In slaws in Bon Appetit magazine.  In my favorite Ottolenghi recipe for salmon, similar to Meme’s famous Moroccan rendition.  In potato salad served with cod on Shelter Island.  Now I use them everywhere.  It’s the rare jar of spice that I might actually buy and finish in the same year.

This dish is a kind of hybrid between that dinner at the Dutch and a pot-au-feu I had in St. Germain about two years ago in Paris.  It’s a combination of richly stewed beef, simmered to oblivion, and a fresh, crunchy, bright celery-spiked salad.  Like at the Dutch, I crust the meat in caraway.  But then, I take on some French inspiration by stewing it in wine with onion, garlic, thyme, and bay, and then serving it with a kind of upside-down pot-au-feu slaw.  Instead of stewing the vegetables with the meat, I turn them into a fresh salad, using grated celeriac and fresh celery leaves, chopped with cornichons and parsley, and tossed in a dressing of creme fraiche and whole grain mustard.  Served with grilled bread, it is so good.

Bon app!  I hope you fall in love with many things this year.

Caraway Short Ribs


Caraway-Braised Beef Short Ribs with Celeriac and Celery Slaw
serves 2


2 1/2 pounds beef short ribs

2 teaspoons caraways seeds, freshly pounded or blitzed

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

About 6 stems of thyme

1 bay leaf

2/3 cup dry white wine

1 1/2 cups beef broth


1 tablespoon creme fraiche (or substitute sour cream or Greek yogurt)

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon whole grain mustard

2 teaspoons rice vinegar

1 small celeriac, peeled and grated for slaw

2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley and celery leaves

1 cornichon, finely minced

Salt and pepper


Pat the beef dry on a paper towel.  Season the beef with the caraway seeds, salt, and pepper.  In a braising pan, heat the oil over medium heat.  Sear the beef on both sides, then set aside on a plate.  Add the onion and garlic to the pan, lowering the heat if necessary, and sweat until translucent.  Add the herbs and the wine.  Raise the heat, and reduce the wine by half.  Add the broth and the beef back into the pan.  Bring to a boil, then cover and lower the heat.  Simmer for three hours.

Just before serving, mix all the slaw ingredients together.  Take the beef out of the pot, and discard the bones.  This is optional, but I like to blend the braising liquid in the blender to make a nice gravy.  Then, spoon the gravy into the bottom of two bowls.  Divide the meat between them, and finally, top with the slaw.  Serve with grilled bread and extra cornichons.


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Categories: Easy, Eat, Main Courses, Meat, Recipes

Ritzy Black and White Truffle Popcorn

RECIPE: Ritzy Black and White Truffle Popcorn

Truffle PopcornYes, Super Bowl Sunday is arrived! I’ll admit, I will watch any sport before I will watch football. BUT, I still join in the game day enthusiasm for two reasons: (1) it seems to be Mr. English’s favorite thing about America, and (2) I love anything that gives me license to snack unlimitedly.

I very often make my Avocado and Chèvre Dip, and serve it with chips and crudités. But for tomorrow night, it’s just us, and I’m thinking pizza delivery (I Love NY), a green salad, and my freshly invented Ritzy Black and White Truffle Popcorn.

My mom and I used to have this old (think ’80s off-white with brown bands) electric popcorn air-popper, and I loved it. Whenever we would sit around and watch Nick at Nite marathons, we would pop two Amy’s mac and cheeses in the oven, and air pop a pile of popcorn kernels that we would toss in too much butter and a few pinches of salt. Does anyone remember those deep-dyed rainbow kernels from the ’80s? Those were interdit unless it was a very special occasion, but I thought they were super cool.

Truffle PopcornI like the endless munching that popcorn provides, and while rainbow kernels are kind of interdit for all of us now, copious amounts of truffle butter and truffle-infused Pecorino cheese most certainly are not. The first thing I registered for when we got married was an air-popper. I take it down, and wait until the avalanche of fluffy white kernels erupts from the center of the machine in the largest pot I can find. Then I toss with melted truffle butter, grated truffled cheese, salt, and because I can’t stop and I had some lying around, truffle oil. Holy moly! It’s to die for.

I can’t say I know who’s playing, but I know what I’ll be eating when I find out!

Truffle Pecorino

Ritzy Black and White Truffle Popcorn
makes 16 - 20 cups


1 cup popcorn kernels, popped (yields 16 – 20 cups)

6 tablespoons black or white truffle butter, melted

1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt

1 overflowing cup finely grated truffle Pecorino

1 teaspoon black or white truffle oil (optional)


Pop the popcorn the way you usually do (I use an air popper, but some prefer the stovetop method). Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the truffle butter until it is just melted. Take off the heat, and stir in the salt. Pour the butter and salt mixture, the grated cheese, and the truffle oil over the popcorn and toss until the mixture is evenly distributed. Devour!

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Appetizers & Hors D’Oeuvres, Easy, Eat, For a Crowd, Recipes, Vegetarian

Crispiest Salmon with Green Tahini and Crunchy Chickpeas

RECIPE: Crispiest Salmon with Green Tahini and Crunchy Chickpeas

Crispiest Salmon with Green Tahini and Crunchy ChickpeasOK – it is week two of what I am calling the “Maman promise” – no meat, no milk, no cheese – cheese, how I miss you!  BUTTER!  I will admit that at around 4 o’clock this afternoon at the office, I was ready to eat any buttery piece of something I could get my hands on, but lucky the place was barren, and so far, I remain unbroken.

I am fascinated by New Year’s resolutions – and I do not consider the Maman promise to be a resolution.  For one thing, it’s only for a month.  Also, I am sticking with it – something that never happens when I resolve to sit up straight or dress up for work or generally just do everything perfectly for a year.  That last one is my most frequent resolution – it lasts exactly as long as it takes to think about it, and I only think about it because my list of resolutions is usually so long, that I just do a blanket contract.  My friend from London called me and said that she saw my last post where I promised to drop meat and dairy and said I sounded a little preachy – a little mini-Gwyneth.  I can’t help it!  I just love self-improvement and fresh starts and I’m always trying to be better.  I love January.  Will you still be my friend?

I admit that I am proud I am showing a modicum of perseverance.  And really it’s not so bad, and I am feeling good.  Here’s what I had for dinner last night, with leftovers for lunch.  Deeply nutty, pungent tahini whipped together with that vibrant punch of parsley, cilantro, and lemon.  Salmon, simply seared until the top was golden and crunchy.  And chickpeas, roasted to crunchy nuggets.  I threw some mache on the side, dressed up with lemon vinaigrette.  I am starting to wonder if maybe deprivation isn’t so hard if we just recast it as indulgence – easier said at 9 AM than at 4 PM.

Bon app, and bonne chance!

Crispiest Salmon with Green Tahini and Crunchy Chickpeas
serves 4


1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and dried on paper towels
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
½ big bunch parsley
½ big bunch cilantro
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
½ cup tahini
4 5- to 6-ounce salmon fillets


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment, and on it, toss the chickpeas, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and salt and pepper. Bake until crisp – about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the tahini by blitzing the parsley, cilantro, lemon, tahini, and ¼ cup water in the blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

To make the salmon, season with salt and pepper. Add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to a nonstick skillet, and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes on the first side and 5 on the second for perfectly opaque flesh. If you like rarer fish, which most do, just flip it over for a minute or two.

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Easy, Eat, Fish, Main Courses, Recipes