Sunday, September 13, 2009

To market, to market, to buy a fat pig

A fat pig is one of the few things we didn't buy today. We tried to restrain ourselves from buying anything we didn't actually need, but it wasn't easy. Here are just a few of the temptations in our path:
Sweet dusty-skinned irresistible plums,
Apricots that look better than they smell,
Gorgeous rich figs, just waiting to have some prosciutto from the Italian food stand wrapped around them.

How many kinds of potatoes are there, anyway?

The vendors, many of them calling in a mix of Arabic and French, all seem to have pretty vegetables, but do they taste as good as they look?

I think this is the best of the bread stands, and it certainly has the largest selection.

Half a dozen of the best tasting eggs I've ever had for about $2.20.

No reason to cook if you don't want to; there's a huge choice of prepared foods from rotisserie chickens dripping their juices onto the potatoes roasting below them, to piles of choucroute garnie, to huge pans full of saute de porc, to prepared salads, all ready to be taken home for Sunday lunch.

If you insist on cooking yourself, how about some tiny quail? At $5 each, they're not too pricey.

In the mood for seafood? I've never seen so many kinds of shellfish, many of which I'd be hard-pressed to identify in the absence of signs.

I don't know if it's a political statement, but while many of the vendors are obviously Muslim, these fishmongers make a point of being Jewish. An Israeli flag?!

And for a snack, line up behind these boys, who aren't taking their eyes off the nice man who makes fresh churros.

We came home with two shopping bags full, but by this evening actually cooking wasn't as appealing. Something very simple was the most we could manage.

I had bought some lovely salmon, some chives and parsley, some carrots and potatoes. The other day we had finally decided to try Picard, the extraordinary frozen food store that French women swear by, and we had some of their sauce beurre blanc citron in the freezer.

Slice the carrots and potatoes into the same small saucepan with a little salt and cover with water, set to boil. Melt a combination of oil and butter in a saute pan until it sizzles, and put the salmon in to brown. Microwave the sauce. Chop the chives and parsley and sprinkle them in with the cooked vegetables and a bit of butter. Spoon the melted sauce over the nicely sauteed fish. Slice the fresh baguette. Dinner. It all took about 7 minutes.

It felt good to do, in that we resisted the temptation to pull out some cheese and bread instead of having a real meal. I can see it's a habit I will have to develop, and that other habit, the one that says, "Oh, let's just go out" will have to be broken. Not the worst thing to happen.

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