Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Le Marché d'Aligre

Come go with me to the Marché d'Aligre in Paris.  It's very nice on Sunday mornings. It's in the 12th arrondissement, as you can see on the sign.  We'll take the métro to the Gare de Lyon and walk from there.   Just follow me.  But watch out for the green guy and cross the street when he beckons.  Parisian drivers are a bit reckless, you know.
You can find most anything here, but we'll just look at the food and flowers, if you don't mind.
Want to make ratatouille later on today?
You'll need--
les aubergines
les courgettes
et les tomates.
Maybe other vegetables or légumes are what you are looking for?
Some fruit, peut-être?
The strawberries or fraises from Spain are beautiful.  But please do not touch.  Wouldn't want to get your hand slapped, would you?
Take a peek inside our bag... We'll eat these later.  They may not last that long, though.
Or maybe pomegranates?
De la Californie?
They are a long way from home.  Even farther away than we are.
Maybe flowers, too, like this man?  Perhaps he is buying them for his sweetie?  Or taking them to his mom when he goes to see her for lunch?
I tend to be nosy, so I enjoy checking out other people's shopping bags...
And also their carts -- if I lived in France I would own one of these trucs for all my market purchases--
If we peer through the windows of this shop long enough,
maybe the very nice shopkeeper will invite us inside.
And let us take pictures of all his stuff.  We know we really shouldn't buy anything because we can't really take much back home with us.  But he sells some really cool stuff.
My high school French teacher was from Soissons, but I don't understand the connection with the beans-

This shop is the oldest one on the street, according to M. Shopkeeper.
Okay, so I found one thing to take home.  It doesn't weigh much and I really, really want it.

Okay, it's time for lunch.  All this looking at food has made me very hungry.
Au revoir for now, Marché d'Aligre.   See you in July when I return to Paris with my friends.  À bientôt!

I did bring home that bag of risotto.  I waited to make it until Mme P and Mme Boop (aka MLQ and la Princesse) came to visit me here in Durham.
It was délicieux.

And just remembering where I bought it and the lovely morning spent at the marché made it even more special. Add friends to share it with and life is good, n'est-ce pas?

I found a recipe that is a close approximation of the contents of the bag.  I love risotto and love to make it.  It takes a special kind of patience.  I often buy a rotisserie chicken from Harris Teeter and save the bones and leftover stuff after we've picked off most of the meat.  Throw it all in a pot, add some water and a couple of bay leaves, simmer for a couple of hours, and voilà, really good chicken broth for risotto-making.

Mushroom and Sun-Dried Tomato Risotto
4-6 servings
from www.food.com

6 c. chicken or vegetable broth
1 c. dried shiitake mushrooms
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 c. finely chopped shallots
3 c. thinly sliced cremini mushrooms
1/4 c. chopped sun-dried tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. minced fresh thyme
2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 c. Arborio rice
Black truffle oil, optional
Grated Parmesan cheese, optional

  1. Bring broth to a simmer in a medium-sized pot.
  2. Add dried shiitake mushrooms and simmer for about 2 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mushrooms to a plate.
  4. When cool enough to handle, coarsely chop them.
  5. Cover the broth and keep warm over very low heat.
  6. In a medium-sized saucepan over moderate heat, sauté the shallots for about 5 minutes; add the cremini mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes, and cook until mushrooms are tender and most of the moisture has been released, about 7 minutes.
  7. Add the garlic, shiitakes, herbs, spices, and salt; sauté another 3 minutes.
  8. Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon for about 2 minutes.
  9. Add 1 cup of broth, stirring often, simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 6 minutes.
  10. Continue to cook and stir, adding more broth by cupfuls, until the rice is tender and creamy and all of the broth is absorbed. (If the rice is not tender yet but you are out of broth, keep adding hot water in the same manner as the broth until the rice is tender and creamy.)  This should take 20-30 minutes.
  11. Spoon onto plates and sprinkle some truffle oil and/or Parmesan over each serving, if desired.
Bon appétit, Marché d'Aligre and risotto shared with good friends!

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