To Market, To Market…

25 02 2008

To buy a fat pig.

Home again, home again,

With a rack of his ribs.  (Or something like that.)

Seafood at the market

So we went to the marché again this weekend.  Sunday really seems to be the best day for it, and the earlier you go, the better the pickins.  One of the things I love most about the market is how you can find something new almost every time you go.  For example, I hadn’t seen a boulangerie counter before:

Bread at the market 

This one had some fabulous artisan breads, priced by the kilo.  We bought some pain au levain and went across the way to a cheesemonger’s booth.  We chose a hunk of gouda and a wedge of saint-nectaire to go with our bread.

Moving on to the produce – this is where the marché really shines.  The stuff is top quality and dirt cheap.  We saw these lettuces and had to have one.

De la salade

 We also picked up some Brussels sprouts, leeks, clementines, and strawberries. (I know, I know, strawberries in February?  All I can say is I could smell them from 3 feet away and that tends to be a good sign.)  Having done our homework, we have determined that eggs cost about half as much at the market as they do in the store, which isn’t so much to say that eggs are cheap at the market as that they are ridiculously expensive at the store.  No matter where you get them, though, they are fresher than any I’ve seen in any store in the States, which is nice.

And then we came across this:

Olives at the market

I was pleasantly surprised to see the olive display – another first.  After tasting a few we took home half a kilo of the ones on the right.  At this point, I was beginning to wonder what exactly we would be doing with all of this food we had just bought.  Salad with Brussels sprouts?  And olives?  What about the clementines?  And the eggs?  Leek omelettes?  We need some meat.  So we headed back through the crowd towards the butcher.  It was getting to be about the time when the vendors start packing up to leave, so there was a huge line for the rotisserie chickens (which, by the way, smelled fantastic).  We got in line and when we got to the front, noticed something that looked like a pork tenderloin sitting alone among the chicken scraps.  I asked the butcher what it was.  “Travers du porc,” came the reply.  Ok, can I have half of it?  He flipped it over to reveal that it was, in fact, a rack of pork ribs, much to Nick’s and my delight.

Well, we brought it all home and had a well-earned snack of bread and cheese.  We took a few nibbles of the ribs, just to make sure they would be ok for dinner.  Now, this may horrify any barbeque aficionados out there, but these ribs didn’t have a hint of smoke.  They were simply salted, slow roasted, chicken-fat basted (does that make them Kosher?) ribs.  And boy, were they good.  Quite a departure from what we were used to back home, though.

Dinner was a simple affair.  We were tired from watching Six Nations rugby on Saturday, but luckily the rotisserie had done most of the work for us.  Nick diced up some potatoes we found in the cupboard, tossed them with salt, pepper and olive oil, and roasted them.

Roast potato prep

When they were almost done, he put the ribs on top to warm through while I got the salad ready.  Wash and tear the lettuce, drizzle with a simple vinaigrette, and top with olives.  Voilà!  Dinner is served:

Mmmmm… ribs

Dessert was, in a very Alice Waters moment, perfectly sweet clementines.

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