I've had a lot of fun this winter buying new (to me!) foods at the Saturday afternoon market and trying them out. I've become a huge fan of endive, fennel, leeks, parsnips, turnips and beets...all of which you can buy in the States, but somehow look much more enticing in the open air at my neighbor, Jackie's produce stand. It looks as if the food discoveries will continue through the summer. These are girolles, a type of chanterelle mushroom. The market stands were full of them this past Saturday. I brought a box home, sauteed them with butter and olive oil, then reduced the liquid to almost nothing before adding a splash of white wine and letting it all reduce down again. They were yummy!
These are broad beans. Looking for all the world like the biggest, toughest green beans on steroids you can imagine, they almost didn't make it into my shopping panier. Although they are a bit of work, they are very worth the effort. First, you pod them. The bean inside looks like a large pregnant lima bean, but there the resemblance ends! You either steam or boil the beans for a few minutes, then you slip off the light green hull revealing a brilliant green bean inside. The beans will then divide in half. The taste is nutty and fresh.I tossed mine with some chunks of firm goat cheese, a few slices of jarred roasted red peppers, a couple of shavings of shallots and dressed the lot with oil from the pepper jar and balsamic vinegar. A spoonful on a bed of lettuce greens made a delightful salad.
All these new vegetables have been an unexpected pleasure here in France. I can hardly wait to make more market discoveries this summer!