The calendar tells us that spring is here but the sky is sending us mixed messages. While rays of sun occasionally reach the streets, the Paris air has a glacial sting to it and winter wardrobes are far from being stored away.
Despite the fact that Paris is disappointingly living up to Joni Mitchell's accusation of being "old and cold", youth and colors are slowly beginning to appear in the markets- with baby greens, young violet-tinted turnips, and spring onions being brought to the city from nearby farms.
I stopped by Marché Ornano last week to see what local producer Jean-Michel Delahaye had in stock. Hoping for some signs of the change in season I kept my eye out for new arrivals at his market stand.
Young greens and dandelion leaves were snuggled up against winter vegetables and bunches of oignons blancs- an onion which has a bulb that is smaller than that of an onion but larger than that of a scallion (there seems to be some confusion about the difference between spring onions, scallions, and green onions- this article was helpful in determining which terms were correct).
Spring onions are known for their mild taste and their accompanying green stalk which can be prepared along with the onions in a variety of dishes.
What: Oignons Blancs (Spring Onions)
When: March 29th, 2013
Where: Marché Ornano, 75018- chez Jean-Michel Delahaye (grown 34km/21miles from Paris)
How: I enlisted my husband to help make a simple Tarte aux Oignons Blancs for our lunch, which is a recipe perfectly suited to his dogma that no recipe should have more than a handful of ingredients and mine that good locally-grown vegetables should be allowed to shine.
Tarte aux Oignons Blancs
Simple tarte crust- you can use my recipe here
One bunch (3-4 bulbs) of spring onions
2 tbsps butter
1/2 c crème fraîche
salt & pepper
1/4 grated emmental cheese
1. Preheat oven to 200°C/350°F
2. Coat a shallow pie/tarte tin with 1 tbsp butter before spreading out the crust.
3. Heat 1 tbsp butter on medium high heat. While waiting for the butter to heat up, remove the outer layer and roots then wash and chop your spring onions using the entire bulb and about an inch or so of the green stalk.
4. Sautée onions in butter for about 5 mins. or until wilted and slightly browned.
5. In a bowl stir together eggs, crème fraîche and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir in sautéed onions.
6. Transfer the egg and onion mixture to your pit tin and spread evenly on the bottom. Sprinkle cheese on top and move to the top rack of oven.
7. Bake for 35-40 mins. Serve hot.