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