Saturday, 21 February 2015

Jour du Marche

Friday is market day here in Cassis and the centre of the little port comes alive with the colours, sights and smells of a French market. It is my weekly treat to wander around the stalls, looking for the most attractive fruit and veg to buy.

Since coming to France, we have eaten less and less meat- partly because it is so expensive but also because the vegetables are so much more enticing.

So far, on the blog I have regaled you with endives cooked in sauce

Baked Endives with Ham
spinach stuffed into pancakes
Spinach Stuffed Pancakes
 heritage carrots and turnips roasted in the oven
Roasted market veg
and radishes chopped into salads.
Noodle salad with radishes
This week, I am using rainbow chard three ways, stuffing courgettes and making a leek tart.

An enticing haul of veg from the market

Rainbow chard has so many uses- the stems and the leaves can be used in completely different dishes.
The leaves can be used like spinach- as a plain side dish, or steamed and stuffed to make a substantial main.
Trim the stalks from 12 stems of chard ( and keep them for one of the other dishes to follow). Wash the leaves thoroughly and place in a steamer.
Steam over hot water for 5 minutes or so until tender, then lay out on a tea towel to blot the moisture.
In a bowl, mix 400g of sausagemeat with plenty of salt and pepper, a crushed clove of garlic and 2 tablespoons of fresh breadcrumbs. Divide this into 12 and roll into meatballs using wet hands.
Place a meatball on each chard leaf and roll up.
Lay them back in the steamer and cook for a further 15 minutes.
Place the cooked parcels in a gratin dish, add fresh tomato sauce, a little grated cheese and some more breadcrumbs and flash under the grill.
Stuffed Chard Leaves

With the stalks, if you steam them until tender, you can then add them to a cheese sauce and bake in the oven as a gratin.
Chard gratin

They are also a delicious and colourful addition to a stir fry-  I used them with peppers, spring onions and the leftover radishes (which make a really good substitute for water chestnuts incidentally.)

I was entranced by these cute little round courgettes too in the market:
Courgette Bonhommes

I hollowed out their little bodies, steamed the outsides and lids until tender, stuffed them with a mixture of onion, garlic, bacon lardons and gruyere cheese (fried up with the courgette flesh itself) and baked them in a hot oven (200 degrees) until golden on top (and then put their jaunty little hats on to serve).

Finally, along with all the root veg, spinach and chard on the stalls - leeks are in abundance so, as well as pots of soup
Vegetable veloute
 I made a leek tart.

Bake a pastry case blind, and meanwhile soften 2 well washed and chopped leeks  in some olive oil.
Mix up 4 eggs with enough milk to make 500 ml and season the custard well. Add the softened leeks and pour into the pastry shell. Top with grated emmental cheese and bake in a moderate oven 190 degrees until risen and golden.

Leek Tart

Next week, I plan to investigate the fish stall and bring you some seafood recipes. Until then, have a good week and remember to eat up all your veg.

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