Marché du Mois: Marché Bio Brancusi

Tasting encouraged at a stand at Marché Bio Brancusi When I finally made it to Marché Bio Brancusi last week it felt like a pretty momentous occasion, not only because I was awake and in a distant arrondissement on a Saturday morning, but also because the visit marked a Marché Bio hat trick.

A little bit of background: Paris is hosts to three all-organic markets, the well known and much visited Marché Bio des Batignolles and Marché Bio Raspail and the often overlooked Marché Bio Brancusi.

fruits

In 2010, when I first started this blog, Batignolles and Raspail were among the first markets I visited. I spoke to many vendors at these markets about the third organic market, Marché Brancusi, and found that the vendors were split into people who either once had stands at this market and had since decided to stop going or those that didn't feel like it was a big enough market to be worth their time.

The disinterest of my trusted organic vendors mixed with my increasing interest in finding local producers over organic stands at the markets oriented my explorations away from completing the bio market trifecta and towards exploring more standard neighborhood markets.

Fruits and Vegetables sourced from French farmers at Marché Bio Brancusi

But one recent Saturday morning I decided to make my way to the 14th arrondissement and get a feel for this little market. Settled into the unassuming Place Constantin Brancusi the eponymous market is indeed small, but that is part of its charm. As opposed to the crowds and tight spaces of the Batignolles and Raspail markets, which are also both held on the weekend, Marché Brancusi is uncrowded and laid back, making for an easy and stress-free shopping experience.

While there are no independent farmers at the market, one fruit and vegetable stand boasts produce sourced from French producers and other similar stands seem to privilege local and biodynamic products. These French-grown légumes are mixed in with imported, out-of-season selections as well as dried fruits and other foreign finds.

French-origin produce is favored at Marché Bio Brancusi

Other alimentary needs are covered with a selection of stands including a fishmonger, butcher, and baker. Whereas Marché Bio des Batignolles and Marché Bio Raspail have at least two of each of these speciality stands, Marché Brancusi just covers its bases, which seems just fine for the regular shoppers who return to the market each week.

If you have the chance to visit Marché Brancusi I recommend doing so. The market is a great compromise between the large-scale, crowded organic markets and the sprawling weekday markets where you are lucky to find one farmer amongst the imported fruits and vegetables- with the addition of some local farmers, this would be a great model for markets across Paris and beyond.

seasonal veg

Marché Bio Brancusi

place Constantin Brancusi 75014

M°Gaîté (line 13)

Open Saturday 9h-15h

Marché du Mois: Marché Jourdan

Organic produce at Mathieu Corvaisier's stand at Marché Jourdan Marché Jourdan, which opened in early October, is Paris' newest open-air food market. Spreading along the boulevard Jourdan, the market brings local and organic produce to the outskirts of the 14th arrondissement.

While the city's website promises a variety of poissonniers and fromagers in addition to local and organic produce, when I visited the market on a Wednesday I found the stands to be rather scarce though I imagine that, as is the case with many markets that are open both during the week and on the weekend, the market perks up significantly on Saturdays.

Locally grown chou rave

Having said that, Marché Jourdan comes through on its promise of fresh, local produce with additional organic options.

Johan and Lucie bring seasonal produce grown on their family farm in L'Essone department of the Ile-de-France. Scattered amongst their home-grown fruits and vegetables you will also find more foreign fare from afar, such as lemons and avocados. But the stars of their stand remain the gorgeous heirloom carrots and root veggies such as cabbage and celery root and a wide selection of potato varieties.

Production Familiale at Johan and Lucie's stand at MArché Jourdan

If you're looking to buy out-of-season but certified organic, visit Mathieu Corvaisier's organic stand on the corner of boulevard Jourdan and rue Monticelli.  Here you will find a seasonally inspired selection that also offers access to tomatoes in November and pretty much anything else you might need if you're craving a ratatouille en hiver.

metro

Marché Jourdan

boulevard Jourdan 75014

M° Porte d'Orléans (line ')

Open Wednesday and Saturday 7h-14h30

In Season: Endives

Endives at Marché Mouton-Duvernet Despite the change of seasons, early winter sees markets still stocked with autumnal favorites such as squash, cabbage, and mushrooms.  As we sink deeper into January and embrace the coming of the season's vegetables, I think endives, with their ability to be both bitter and sweet,  are a suitable way to welcome a new year and all that comes with it. These vegetables may have an underwhelming exterior, but their pale yellow and green tightly closed leaves pack in a plethora of potential tastes.

Eaten young and raw endives are delicately bitter and have an arguably acquired taste. Wait until endives are riper and sporting green leaves if you want an even more amer flavor when eaten uncooked.

Braise endives with butter and honey or sugar and you will discover a delightful sweeter side of this cold weather légume grown in Northern France. Served raw or cooked, endives can be prepared for the duration of the winter months in a variety of ways.

I spotted a selection of endives at Marché Mouton-Duvernet this week, while shopping at Maraîcher Eric Credaro's stand. Eric sells a mixture of produce from his garden along with produce from friends with organic farms.

Endives are a versatile ingredient for winter meals

What: Endives

When: January 9, 2013

Where: Marché Mouton-Duvernet, 75014

How: Endives are incredibly versatile. A traditional French recipe is to prepare the endives in a gratin, first wrapping each endive in a piece of ham, then arranging the endives in a dish and covering them with a bechamel sauce and grated gruyère and baking until golden.

If you like the raw, bitter taste of endives, you can cut them into coins and serve them with walnutsroquefort, and homemade vinaigrette in a tossed salad.

A hearty vegetarian option is to prepare the endives in a risotto with mushrooms and any other seasonal vegetables you care to add (i.e. grated carrots, citrus zest, leeks)

Endive Risotto served with roasted endive leaves and shaved parmesan

Endive Risotto

Ingredients:

2 cups arborio rice

4 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp butter

1/4 dry white wine

1 medium onion, diced

4 small endives

6-8 mushrooms (crimini or whatever medium sized variety you prefer)

1/2 grated parmesan cheese

Salt and Pepper to taste

Slowly add vegetable broth as rice cooks to make a creamy winter risotto

Steps:

1) Set oven to broil and heat to 375° F  ( about 200° C)

2) Prepare vegetable broth. Wash endives and remove ends, cut in half and then chop- set aside tips of the endives to roast and add as a garnish later.

3) Heat one tablespoon of butter in a pan, once hot add chopped endives and cook until lightly browned, but not too tender. Remove from heat and set aside in a bowl. Do the same with the mushrooms, cooking in butter until they begin to release liquid, set aside in a different bowl for use later.

4) Sauté diced onions in olive oil until until clear, add arborio rice and stir until coated with oil. Add white wine and stir until absorbed.

5) Add broth 1/4 cup at a time, constantly stirring until the broth is absorbed by the rice. After adding half the broth, add endives and whatever juices are in the bowl. Continue adding broth. Once all the broth has been added and the rice is cooked, add mushrooms and stir to combine.

6) Add parmesan and stir until it is mixed in. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and let sit.

7) Arrange endive leaf tips on a baking sheet. Brush evenly with olive oil and salt lightly. Put in heated oven and bake 5-8 minutes, until crisp and golden. Remove from oven and let cool.

8) Serve risotto topped with grated parmesan and endive chips.