This morning, after several cups of strong coffee, half an orange, a piece of a baguette, and some Bonne Maman jam, I took my shopping bag and set out for an initial foray into the Saturday market. My first purchase was 100 grams of raw hazelnuts -- an odd choice, you might think, but an essential ingredient in hazelnut encrusted rabbit. [I had already ascertained that the apartment's kitchen still contained some curry powder and oriental five spices powder, which must be mixed with the finely chopped hazelnuts before the rabbit pieces are dredged in a beaten egg and coated with the mixture.] Then off the to butcher's stand, where I asked for a demi-lapin, coupe, sans tete. [I pay for the head, needless to say, or more precisely for half of the head, after he has split a skinned rabbit up the middle lengthwise, but I don't cook the head, and think it better not to pretend that I do.] As I was about to leave, I spotted a mound of plump quail. Susie is very partial to quail, so I bought two for another dinner. On to the fishmonger. His display was unusually elaborate and tempting, but I have just arrived, and I am not quite ready to be adventuresome with unfamiliar crustaceans, so I just bought a lovely dorade royale, which I asked for "en fillet sans peau." I have cooked dorade royale many times, in our little microwave/convection oven. With pepper and salt and some bits of butter, it makes a very simple but delicious main course, and frees up the two burners on our plaque induction stove top for other things.
Well, so much for main courses. Now, it was time for veggies and fruit and such. I already had some shallots, purchased yesterday as soon as we arrived, so I picked out some mushrooms, some onions, and a garlic bulb. Yesterday, I stopped at Than Binh's vegetable market on the corner and bought a piece of gingerroot so fresh that when I snapped it off a larger piece, the smell of ginger wafted into even my rather challenged olfactory nerve endings. The ginger here bears no relation to the dried out excuse that Whole Foods tries to pass off as the genuine article. [Never mind that the President of Whole Foods has pooh-poohed the efforts at health care reform, sparking a boycott across Yuppie America.] Then a big bunch of fresh carrots -- carmelized carrots, pan-fried in butter with some brown sugar, is a delicious vegetable course, and I figured it would complement the dorade royale nicely. A lot of baby potatoes, always a nice starch. And then real French green beans, slender and fresh, ready to be parboiled in the water that the potatoes come out of [with only two burners, I am always calculating ways to save space on the stove.] Finally, a big bunch of flowers for Susie, who was sleeping in, flattened by the travel, despite the Business Class upgrade.
There is an open air market in Place Maubert every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, but the Saturday market is far and away the best. The market regularly features stands devoted to clothing and quasi-African art and such, all of which entrances Susie, but I stick to the food.
Yesterday, I bought some Beaume de Venise for me and a nice bottle of Sancerre blanc for Susie, so we have wine, at least for the moment. Later today, I shall walk up rue Monge half a block to Kayser's, the best bakery in Paris, for some more brioches a l'orange [Susie has already finished the two I bought yesterday] and another baguette. This evening, we shall have a simple meal at home, probably the dorade royale.
We have arrived in Paris.