The Market Report: November 18, 2012

November 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

Berck Ville, France

Last weekend, we drove to France. From London. Literally.

The secret is the Channel train, which leaves from Folkestone four times each hour. We drove directly onto the train, which swiftly took us to Calais, France in just 30 minutes. With minor alterations to the car – namely adding a breathalyser kit per EU law – we were on the road to fruits de mer and Calvados.

We missed the Saturday morning market in Montreuil, famous for the setting of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, but woke early for the Sunday market at nearby Berck.

Beautiful church in the town of Montreuil, where we spent the night — right across from the Victor Hugo bar!

Here is a market where the locals shop. Baskets piled high with potatoes, children clamouring for sweets, an elderly woman paying for her Camembert with food stamps – there was no pretence, just an appreciation for the local fare as sustenance as much as it was also the makings of a delicious week.

Turnips glittering in the morning sun.

Odd-shaped Jerusalem artichokes, also called sunchokes — one of my favorite things to eat after tasting them in a salad at St John Bread & Wine in Spitalfields, London.

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Black Radishes: there’s a first time for everything.

The secret to French cuisine: shallots

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Coquilles St Jacques — scallops, with their shell!

A few recipes:

Roasted sunchokes with hazelnut gremolata: Good sunchoke recipes are few and far between, but Food52 saves the day with this incredible preparation for the tuber.

Scallops with herb broth, braised radishes, & bacon: We enjoyed a similar dish the evening before our market excursion — fresh scallops barely need more than a sear in brown butter.

Potato leek soup with buttermilk: A British classic, potato leek soup highlights the oft-overlooked member of the Allium family. Put this relative of the onion to work!

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