Aller au marché

Author: fraise

Sunday 10 August 2008, in La France, Nice

From the market today

As mentioned yesterday, most everything is closed on Sundays in France. Open-air markets, however, are open! Nice’s best-known market is Cours Saleya, while the other major market is le marché de la Libération, on Malausséna and with an indoors part in the Docks de la Riviera. Libération is my favorite for fruit, vegetables, beef, poultry and fish.

A new opportunity for fruit and vegetables in Sophia Antipolis is called fruits et légumes du producteur, where a local producer will offer what’s in season (naturally) to various offices. Here in France many companies have un comité d’entreprise, CE, workers’ council, that in addition to helping employees, offers such things as activities and discounts, and can organize for the fruits and vegetables. At the office where I work currently, for instance, each Thursday orders are delivered and a new list is made available from which to order. The CE centralizes the orders, which are given to the producer each Tuesday afternoon for the Thursday delivery. It’s a great way to encourage local business, the fruit and vegetables taste wonderful, and due to the organization, it’s cheap!

Pictured above, the potatoes and tomatoes are from the local producer. Everything else is from Libération. With them I made a vegetable mix that I put in the freezer and use all week, sautéeing them in olive oil to go along with freshly-cooked jasmine rice every evening for dinner. Simple and tasty! The utterly delicious tomatoes (not all are shown in the photo) became a pasta sauce that I put on a five-day batch of pasta (gluten-free, since I’m gluten intolerant): voilà, lunches for the week. Granted, there’s not a lot of variation in what I eat on weekdays, but this is how you compromise with long working hours and a difficult food intolerance.

My pasta sauce is super-basic; what makes it wonderful are excellent tomatoes, good olive oil and tasty garlic. I use a purple garlic that has such a smooth taste that I’ve been known to eat cloves plain… shhh, don’t tell anyone.
– 1kg (2lbs) tomatoes, diced (raw and with their peels!)
– 1 yellow or white onion, chopped
– 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
– 4-6 tbsp olive oil
– Grey sea salt (natural and unrefined — I was blown away by how much better it tastes than refined white sea salt)
– Your choice of herbs to taste (I use herbes de Provence and fresh basil leaves from my garden)

In a pot big enough to hold the tomatoes, caramelize the onions in the olive oil by cooking and stirring occasionally on medium heat for 5-10 minutes (they should not burn, but soften and give off a sweet scent). Add garlic and stir, cooking for another few minutes. Add the tomatoes and bring to a slow boil, stirring gently. Salt to taste (I use 1tsp grey sea salt), add herbs to taste, except if using basil — do not add basil while boiling. Let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. (I cook the pasta during this time.) Remove from heat — if using fresh basil, add now.

8 responses to “Aller au marché”

  1. Bouks Says:

    I am going to have to try that delicious-sounding recipe. The fresh produce markets were what I liked best about France. Back here in Phoenix, there are some co-ops that deliver weekly boxes of vegetables to your door, but there are two things that prevent me from doing this: 1) I don’t have the cash to drop on the year’s subscription required to participate, and 2) my picky family members won’t eat many of the vegetables included in the assortment.

    So, you just chop up the various vegetables and toss them in the freezer in a bag, and they keep well? I am not well-versed in making produce keep a long time, so I should start trying to do things like this.

  2. fraise Says:

    Yearly subscription?! Ouch! It’s disappointing when something otherwise interesting is done that way… There are assortment boxes available here too, it depends on the producer. I’m glad ours gives us the choice.

    The prepared veggies keep great in the freezer. It’s not something I read or saw anywhere — one day, sick and tired of buying the pre-made frozen vegetable assortments that all taste the same, I thought “if they can do it, maybe I can too.” And to my surprise, even aubergines, peppers and mushrooms freeze great in a regular home freezer. I like using green beans and/or peas when I can, too.

    However: whole vegetables don’t freeze well. I tried freezing half a pepper last week, thinking I’d defrost it later and chop it up, but once it had defrosted, it was rather soggy… So it’s best to slice and dice before freezing! Then they keep their crispiness just fine.

    Potatoes do great as well — for ones that are close to sprouting and won’t keep very long, I’ll slice up a few into rondels and freeze them.

  3. Bouks Says:

    Yeah, Phoenix has its unique and fascinating side…and then it has some lame points. One is produce co-ops…another is public transportation. (Don’t get me started on that subject! Grrr.)

    Thank you for making me a better vegetable handler!

  4. NewWrldYankee Says:

    I just found your blog, and I’m loving reading so far! I have to say I love open air and farmer’s markets for getting veg and what not for cooking. In m small city in Hungary, everything is closed on sunday too, except for my favorite non stop veg stand. I am definitely going to try out this recipe and let you know how it turns out!. Looking forward to reading more.

  5. fraise Says:

    Hungary, neat! I really need to go further east in Europe someday (I’ve been *far* east, to China, but apart from the Russian border with Finland, the furthest east I’ve been has been Venice, Italy…)

  6. summer Says:

    I am a vegetarian in real life,and my favorite dishes are tomato salad and all sorts of deserts.The sauce is definitely the sparkle of western cuisine,thanks for ur recipe

  7. plitt Says:

    Heaven for vegeratian!
    Vegetable mix from the freezer is a really good idea!
    Never tried
    I always thought my freezer is for frozen meat only :)

  8. veggie garden Says:

    I love veggies, and this recipe sounds like a really delicious one! And freezing veggies is a tricky subject.

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