Sunday, April 22, 2012

White Asparagus, Strawberries & La Fete de l'Asperge

In Season Spring Foods...enjoying farm fresh!

If you haven't figured it out yet - I love good food!  I also love to cook!  It's always been a passion for me - trying out new recipes, buying new cookbooks, arriving at a new favorite dish.  However - 3 kids and working full time, I didn't always have the energy to plan and cook new things.  It gets easy to fall into routines and quick meals.  My husband and I would purposely entertain back in Saratoga often to try out new recipes and to just enjoy making a nice meal and sharing it with friends.   I have to say, since moving to France it's been nice to enjoy fresh fruits, vegetables and farm meats.  As the climate is milder here, the fresh local fruit and vegetable season is longer.  The French also love their food!  It's been a good match for me so far.

I have to say it's so far it's nice to see "What's in season"...This winter was Oyster season.  We enjoyed Fresh Oysters during the holidays.  Nothing like a fresh raw oyster with lemon juice sucked right out of the shell!  It was so interesting to see that for the holidays - all the markets, supermarkets and stands had oysters.  It's a very traditional holiday appetizer or "entree" as they say in France.

So now it's Spring, the lilacs are blooming, the tulips are out - Spring has sprung.  It's also the season now for local favorites of white asparagus and strawberries.  They have been all over the markets for the past couple of weeks.  I have to say white asparagus is delicious!  Especially served with a sauce of creme fraiche mixed with salt, pepper, fresh chives and a touch of vinegar.

I just find it so nice to have so many "in season" local foods.  It's nice to truly change the menu around what is "in season" and it all tastes so fresh!  Now coming from Saratoga Springs, we had  an awesome farmer's market.  But due to the climate, "in season" really doesn't start until May & June.   Here it's just longer.

To further highlight the love of seasonal food here - Next weekend there is The Asparagus Festival of Blayais (or La Fete de l'Asperge).  This festival will have over 50 gourmet exhibitors carefully selected for their products:  asparagus, cured meats, cheeses, strawberries, chocolates, jams, honeys and of course local wines.  There is also a cooking contest open to all.  The aim of this festival is to promote the local asparagus Blayais and to highlight the skills of the participants.  This sounds too good to pass up!  I'm just so amazed that they have an asparagus festival!

So, in honor of the weekly farmer's market in Pessac we cooked white asparagus, sliced tomatoes with a vinaigrette, and farm chicken with oven roasted potatoes.  We ended our meal with awesome strawberries!  Here's to fresh delicious food!

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