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.


Lucy said...


No idea what he's holding...

That tomato raita salad sounds great!

Wendy said...

A baby pumpkin or squash is my guess.
Sounds like a wonderful day. :)

Roisin said...

Sounds like a great day! I'm interested in whether many Nicois are drawn to the whole philosophy of local eating - do you see anything like the 100 mile diet concept taking off in Nice, or more generally in France? Or do you think that is that only an issue in places like Canada, where so much of our food has been non-local for so long?

Rosa said...

Lucy, the tomato salad was great at a time of year when vine-ripened tomatoes are so abundant that we have to think of new ways to use them!

Wendy, I'm very impressed with your powers of deduction. Indeed, it was a small yellow squash, like a miniature pumpkin. Look for it in a recipe soon!

That's an interesting question, Roisin. French people are just starting to give up disposable plastic for reusable bags, so that's the stage we're at here. I doubt that the 100 mile concept will ever take off in the same way because the French don't tend to get "political" about food. People who love food naturally go for the local, seasonal produce, which thankfully is still readily available (at the markets, not necessarily the supermarkets). I think that here food will always be more about taste and enjoyment than anything else, and I can't imagine a French person depriving him/herself for the 100 mile principle!