Marché du Mois: Marché Berthier

 Shoppers at Marché Berthier, 75017

Shoppers at Marché Berthier, 75017

In the years since I launched Paris Paysanne, I've visited over 50 of Paris' 80 + open air food markets. My visits have brought me to new neighborhoods and lead to great discoveries, especially when I find what I'm always on the lookout for: farm fresh locally grown produce

I've covered a lot of city ground while adding to my growing map of farmers at Paris markets and now, in order to continue my quest, I'm often brought to the outskirts of town and areas that very few people visit

 Tasting fresh herbs at the market

Tasting fresh herbs at the market

This was the case for this month's marché, which is located on the extremity of the 17th arrondissement. The trip to the market was lengthy, and included a lovely bike ride and a few less lovely wrong turns, but I finally made it before the market closed. 

While this part of town is largely unfamiliar to me, I felt right at home when we got to the market and heard the ubiquitous shouts of market vendors and the customary crush of Parisian crowds

Luckily I wasn't alone in weaving my way under the awnings of cramped market aisles packed with shopping caddies and two-way traffic. My gracious volunteer photographer and vegetable scout was the amazing human being and awesome musician Ben Nerot. I was in good company. 

Wandering the market looking for inspiration for that night's dinner, we chatted with the many friendly vendors while looking at fresh fish, homemade breads, and a wide range of fruits and vegetables. Herbs overflow at Marché Berthier, where one vendor let me sniff and taste his assortment of fresh herbs including absinthe, dill, chives, basil, and a large selection of mint varieties. 

Périgny-sur-Yerres based farmers Maison Lenoble have a stand at Marché Berthier (as well as Marché Point du Jour (75016) and Marché Convention (75015). Here you will find smiling faces and seasonal produce, with this time of year bringing the end of winter squash and a few spring surprises, such as cucumbers and young greens

 Beets at Maison Lenoble's stand, Marché Berthier 75017

Beets at Maison Lenoble's stand, Marché Berthier 75017

Marché Berthier also has an organic stand, where you will find mostly imported products- almonds from California, for example- and a knowledgeable vendor who will pick out the ripest avocados and offer you a deal on blueberries if he's feeling generous. 

It's been awhile since I've discovered a new market, frequenting my neighborhood marchés such as Marché Ornano and Marché Bio des Batignolles rather than venturing far from home. Today proved that Paris markets are so much more than a source of food- they're a great excuse for a bike ride on a sunny day, they're a way to see the city in an unexpected way, and they're a reminder that all around the world we're pretty much the same- eager explorers who are wondering what's for dinner

Marché Berthier

Boulevard de Reims, 75017 m°Pereire-Levallois (line 3)

Open: Wednesday and Saturday 7-14h30

In Season: Concombres

Cucumbers at Marché Biologique des Batignolles May is less than a week away and signs of spring are just barely making an appearance amongst the locally-grown produce at Paris markets. Tired of tubers and cabbage and the remnants of this long, long, winter I'm eager to introduce new ingredients into my home cooking rotation.

Signs of spring colors include rosy rhubarb, bright red radishes, spring onions, and ail frais, or fresh garlic. While I'm still waiting for some favorites- like asparagus and strawberries- to be brought to market by local farmers, I was thrilled to spot the first cucumbers of the season this weekend at the Marché Biologique des Batignolles.

The first of the season, cucumbers at the Val du Coûtant stand at Marché Biologique des Batignolles

What: Concombres (Cucumbers)

When: April 27, 2013

Where: Marché Biologique des Batignolles, Au Val du Coûtant stand

How: 

The sight of cucumbers reminded me of a simple Moosewood recipe for cucumber salad with an apple cider vinegar based dressing that I used to whip up for picnics in the days when Paris seemed to provide appropriate weather for outdoor eating.

Tossed with the radishes and fresh garlic I picked up earlier in the week at Marché Bastille, this simple cucumber salad is a refreshing side dish to go with any spring meal.

Spring ingredients for a simple salad

 Simple Spring Cucumber & Radish Salad 

Ingredients: 

2 Cucumbers (I used the Noa, or short variety), sliced into about 1/4 pieces

1 dozen or so radishes, thinly sliced

For the dressing:

2 1/2 tbsps olive oil

2 tbsps apple cider vinegar

1/4 tsp mustard

1 sprig of fresh garlic* sprig, chopped (include some of the greens, as you would with a spring onion)

*Please note that fresh garlic does not refer to a clove of garlic but rather the variety that resembles spring onions in all but taste and the lack of a bulb.

1) In a bowl, add the apple cider vinegar to your olive oil. Whisk in mustard followed by the chopped fresh garlic. Add a dash of sugar and mix well. Adjust seasoning to your taste by adding more mustard or sugar.

2) Add cucumber and radish slices. Toss until covered with dressing.

3) If you have the time, let this salad marinade for a bit so that the cucumbers soak up some of the dressing. Tossing and storing the salad in a mason jar and then leaving it in your fridge for a few hours is a good way to do this.

Perfect for a picnic: Simple Spring Cucumber and Radish salad

 

In Season: Choux Chinois

When the weather starts to turn cold, I love to warm things up with a homemade batch of kimchi. I used to get all my ingredients at one of Paris' many Chinese food stores, like Tang Frères or Paris Store. But then I noticed that certain ingredients can be found in a variety of other locations- like my local coop or market. Chou Chinois is one of those ingredients that originates from abroad but is locally grown on many French farms. This cabbage variety is great fermented, raw, or cooked- and it's in season right now. Chou Chinois

 

What: Chou Chinois (Chinese Cabbage)

Where: Marché Biologique des Batignolles, 75017

When: October 27, 2012

Who: Au Val du Coûtant, local producers from Chailly en Brie

How: Chinese cabbage can be eaten raw in a salad, of fermented along with green onions, ginger, and spices to make kimchi. The vendor at Marché Batignolles suggested a method of cooking the cabbage that retains its taste and vitamins.

The French call this way of preparing cabbage "à l'etouffée". Add your cabbage to a pot of salted, boiling water and let cook for 20 minutes. Drain and rinse the cabbage and let  cool.

In a large pot add chopped carrots, onions, and ham (if you're making this dish vegetarian, omit the ham and add a little butter), dried thyme, and a bay leaf. Flavor with salt and pepper. Add the cabbage and a cover with hot water. Let cook on low heat for 2 hours. 

Cabbage is a great ingredient for a hearty Winter meal and is a good source of Vitamins C and A- so enjoy it while it's in season!

Chou Chinois 2