November 13, 2007

what's going around... fried food.



Wonderfully Old

'The new moon cradled in the arms of the old'. That's what I say when that very New contemporary France nestles in the very old ways of la France Profonde.

"Great minds think alike... "
- that's what I say when someone scoops me on a good recipe or a new "in" place to visit.

"If you can't beat 'em...join 'em"
- if everyone else is talking about socca (not soccer!), or caramels and you have something new to add, then why not?

"What goes around...comes around"-
usually said in a disparaging tone of voice when someone has made a false move and will regret the ensuing repercussions.

Not this time! I am jumping on the bandwagon, getting on board and hoping that I can add fuel to the fire of a New old trend. Two words my friends. Fried. Food.

Maybe it started with that Dim Sum Sunday. I must confess, the steamed buns, and dumplings a la vapeur were still around for leftovers yesterday; the fried nems, beignets de choufleur and crispy samosas disappeared too fast! So when friend food writer Ed Schneider sent me a link to an article by Mark Bittman about Fried Pizza, the fried food juices started flowing. And I thought of you.

At the end of October I made a road trip up a little river (Lot) and into the Aveyron for a 3-star pilgrimage to meet and eat the Michel Bras legacy. Staying the extra day to interview the Messieurs Bras (clearly, son Sebastian is the Dauphin here-- hurray for the French sense of continuity!) was a bonus and as luck would have it was Saturday- Laguiole's market day. I love markets.
Everyone that we asked in town had told us the market was at the le parking next to the big Aubrac bull sculpture, an homage to the local breed of all things tasty- cheese, aligot, beurre. "Just look for the bull." And each person added, "mais ce n'est pas comme avant..." meaning that nothing is as it used to be.

I guess they were right. With just 4 simple stalls, this tiny off-season market pales to the number of knife shops in town (at least 2 dozen!) with one very important exception. Here, at this tiny market in the middle of nowhere was someone... cooking. Here, someone was selling something hot and... fried! Here, Mme. Sylvie was offering to cook something just for me (if the market was miniscule, so were the clients!)-- the traditional farcoux- swiss chard and parsley fritters.

For those of you whining about the dwindling dollar power...there are plenty of good things in France for just ONE EURO including these delicious homemade farcoux. Crispy on the outside, soft in the inside, hot, green and oniony, these fat beignets du blettes were just the thing needed to stave off hunger pangs before meeting the ever-so-charming and generous Michel and Sebastian Bras. (more on that... later.)

I found a recipe en francais on the very complete site; and tomorrow I'll pop into my own local market and get some chard and parsley to translate the recipe... anon. Now, if I could just duplicate the taste of the hot green fritter in my galley. Anyone else for fried food? 'I'd do offer' a better way to eat your vegetables!

View of Laguiole, the old moon, framed for you by
the very new moon M.Bras.


elarael said...

Yay! Looking forward to hearing about M.Bras.

And I love being rewarded when I venture into a new market as it seemed you were with the fritters. I finally checked out the 'non-organic' Asian farmers market in my area, and - I should have known - was blown away to find a huge supply of a hard to find local wild fern shoot. Usually they go straight to the hotel restaurants because they are all foraged, but there they were, fresh and beautiful as could be.

Betty C. said...

Nice post on Laguiole -- we're only 40 minutes away, but I don't think I've gone up there since I started my blogs! I love the last photo...

Rosa said...

Beignets de blettes? I love the sound of that! I had a great time at Michel Bras last year. His son is adding an interesting modern twist to the food, isn't he?

Just wanted to let you know I have tagged you on my blog!