Marché du Mois: Marché Ordener

My parents were in town this week so as any daughter or son knows, the occasion presented a great opportunity to make reservations at some of the restaurants that I wouldn't usually take myself to (thanks Mom and Dad!). After a few days of culinary delights which included a seemingly endless course tasting menu at La Table d'Eugène and all the modern conveniences (and fun wine list) of Coretta, I felt like I had caught up with fine dining food trends and was happy to get back to the more modest markets of the city.

I love eating out, but there are only so many emulsions and exotic Asian radish varieties that I can take before I want to be back in my kitchen with pumpkins and fennel and other exciting whole foods of the season.

A trip to Marché Ordener was exactly what I needed. Home to two local farmers, Guy Barrais and Patrick Messant (who you can also find at Marché Place des Fêtes), this friendly neighborhood market takes up the even-numbered side of rue Ordener on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Because the French generally know what's up, the two farmers' market stands are among the busiest at the marché, with lines made up of customers of discriminating taste and reassuring affability. While waiting to buy beets and shell beans at the Messant's markets stand, a friendly Monsieur decided to school me on the proper way to eat choux rave, or kohlrabi.

"Eat it like an apple!" he announced, paying €1.45 for the produce and then making a pocket knife magically appear from his...pocket. The demonstration continued with a brazen incision into the kohlrabi's thick skin as he peeled away the rough outer layer. "Here, try it", he encouraged, offering me a slice. Surprisingly sweet, with hints of green melon, choux rave turned out to be a delightful crudité that I'm surprised to not see more often in salads or next to an emulsion of something at the city's finest tables.

Engaged Instagram followers weighed in with preparation suggestions for this unexpected star of the season. Apparently the Germans are way into this root veg and the French go as far as to get it into a gratin. Any other suggestions for kohlrabi would be highly appreciated, as I think I'll be seeing a lot of it from now on.

I ended my market visit with a last stop for pears at the Barrais' stand and an after-thought artichoke because while I can't whip up most of the things served to me and Mom and Dad, I can handle a homemade mayonnaise and love nothing more than the gratifying reward of an artichoke heart.

Marché Ordener

rue Ordener m° Jules Joffrin (line 12)

open: Wednesday and Saturday 8-13h