November 03, 2007

Camp Cassoulet- live from Gascony- David Lebovitz

Lucy, Loic, Loulou, Tricia, David L, Romain

So….here we are in Gascony. After a 10+ hour drive (which via Michelin said shoulda been 6.5….) we woke up wa-a-a-a-ayy too early & headed to the market in Nerac. Holy duck fat! What a market.

If you’re squeamish, going to a country market isn’t always recommended. One vendor had, amongst boxes of squash, tomatoes and carrots, a flat of what looked like four dead, feathery pigeons. After he showed me how he cracked their necks, which is exactly what you want to see at 10am, I learned they were doves.

Unfortunately we’re making cassoulet today, so we passed.

We tasted a terrific pain de epices with terrine on it, that was a combination I never would have dreamed of. And I think I'm going to dream of it for a couple of nights now!

Unlike Paris, it’s perfectly acceptable to touch whatever you’re buying: pears, lettuce, onions, and parsnips. And they also give you tastes. Imagine that. We bought a terrific sheeps-milk cheese and a slab of Roquefort. But of course, my favorite was the prunes, or as they call ‘em in France: pruneaux. (‘Prunes’ are what they call fresh plums.) The pruneaux d’Agen are the best anywhere and being in the epicenter of prunedom, it wasn’t hard to lug home a few kilos of the just-dried fruits.

Heavily-weighed down, we headed back to Kate’s kitchen and by the blazing fire we ate rillettes, some sort of tongue charcuterie thingy (which is like chewing your own tongue, not my favorite flavor) and marvelous oysters opened by Loïc, Lucy’s husband.

While everyone was peeling and cooking various beans, from dried favas to fresh haricots Tarbais, I made a pear sorbet mixture by carefully peeling the very ripe Comice pears and cooking them just until tender. A bit of sugar was whizzed in, a bit of white wine made it’s way as well, and off it went to the freezer for dessert tonight: it’ll be served frozen, with a drizzle of Calvados and chocolate biscotti.

posted by David Lebovitz


Joanna said...

Even crosser than I couldn't come now I know you're having David's pear sorbet for pudding ;)

The market sounds great - much friendlier than shopping in Paris. Love the idea of the terrine with pain d'epices ... a little like foie gras on that slightly sweet bread it's often served with, non?

Have a great evening,

Cookie baker Lynn said...

So much fun! I can tell you are all having a wonderful time.