Monday, July 9, 2007
Sunday at the farm
If there were a prize for the most exuberant farmer at the Cours Saleya market, Pierre would be a shoo-in.
To celebrate summer's bounty, he held an open house on Sunday with games for the children, a potent tropical punch made with real vanilla bean (it's a good thing someone else was supervising the kids), African drummers and plenty of nibbles that showcased his organic vegetables and fruit.
Some of these came from the restaurant Aphrodite, whose summer menu is largely inspired by Pierre's unusual produce. When complimented on his creations, chef David Faure modestly said, "I didn't do anything. It's all about the ingredients."
Still, someone had to think of dipping fragrant little mara des bois strawberries in caramel, giving them a paper-thin, crackly coating, and cutting tomatoes, long green salad peppers and spring onions into tiny dice to serve as an appetizer on a Chinese spoon (très Alain Ducasse).
I also discovered a new way of using tomatoes thanks to a friend of Pierre's whose specialty is ayurvedic cooking. She diced them small and tossed them with yogurt and Indian spices - mustard seeds, cumin, cilantro (fresh coriander) and curry leaves - to make a refreshing raita-style salad. I would have prepared and photographed the recipe, but some people think I have red and white on the brain lately.
Can you guess what vegetable Pierre is holding in this picture? Hint: it's not a tomato.