Well, what do you know? It’s been exactly one year since I posted on this here blog. I’m still in Paris, still getting my panier every week, and still love to cook. But I’m afraid the format here had gotten a bit stale. I mean, there are only so many photos one can take of lettuce, leeks, potatoes, apples, carrots, and eggs. (Just out of curiosity, I looked through the tags and those are by far the most often written about here, with 48, 35, 61, 55, 40, and 80 posts, respectively.) And only so many things to write about said ingredients, week after week.
So I’m shifting gears a little bit. We’ll skip the bajillion poorly-lit pictures of potatoes, etc. and focus on the more esoteric and interesting seasonal vegetables that come my way, either via the panier, the market, or La Ruche Qui Dit Oui. What’s that last one, you ask? It’s an organization that works to link local producers with consumers. There are ruches, or hives (as in beehives), scattered throughout France. You sign up online for the one nearest you, and when they’re going to have a sale (about every two weeks or so) you get an email. Then you go to the website, choose your products, and pay. The day before pickup, they email you again with the list of things you’ve bought, and you go and pick them up. It’s a really cool idea, and I’ve gotten some great deals on flour, honey, and even a Christmas tree! The cheeses I’ve tried from them were both stellar, and I love knowing that none of it has had to travel very far to get to my table. At the last sale, I picked up a small bag of chervil root – they’re the smaller, darker ones in the above photo – which I’m excited to try.
The bigger, parsnip-looking things next to the chervil root are parsley root. They are one of my favorite oddball winter vegetables, because they are so unexpected. Who would have thought that parsley had such a big root? Or that it was so tasty, like an herby, vegetal parsnip? I think the two roots will make a fine combination, peeled, sautéed, and dressed in a fennel-herb dressing that I got from Frank Camorra’s book Movida. His recipe for zanahorias aliñadas has long fascinated me, and I finally made it a couple of weeks ago, substituting sautéed carrots and parsnips for the boiled carrots he calls for. But oh, that dressing is a winner: a tablespoon of toasted fennel seeds, a teaspoon of dried oregano, a small handful of chopped fresh mint and parsley, a minced clove of garlic, the juice of half a lemon, two tablespoons of sherry vinegar, three or four of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix it all together and pour it over the vegetables in the hot pan when they’re done cooking, and serve hot or at room temperature. I’m hard pressed to think of a root vegetable this wouldn’t be great with. And I expect to use this dressing often, all winter long.
Originally published on Seasonal Market Menus.