Buy the sea, buy the sea, buy the beautiful sea…

First of all — yes, thank you, I do know that the actual song is “by the sea.” With today’s title I’m just making the point again that in the Greater Daglan Area, one does not need to live by duck alone. The seas and rivers offer up a lot of great products for your table. So, “buy the sea.”

For instance, Tuesday is the day for the weekly market in neighbouring Cénac, which is just 10 kilometres away and thus is technically in the MDA, or Metropolitan Daglan Area. It’s quite a good market, especially as the weather warms up and more vendors arrive. My wife Jan is at the Cénac market almost every week for something or other, whether it’s duck carcasses for making soup, or vegetables, or fruits, or seafood, or all of the above.

This past Tuesday, she came home with a kilo of mussels for our dinner. We take a fairly traditional approach with our mussels — sauté a chopped onion in butter, add both white wine and a good glug of Pernod, and steam the mussels until they open. Delicious! Here was a serving as they looked on Tuesday night, sprinkled with chopped parsley:

A bowlful of mussels, sprinkled with chopped parsley.

A bowlful of mussels, sprinkled with chopped parsley.

As for the following day, Wednesday is when our fish and seafood vendor, Jean Philippe, drives into Daglan in his white van, loaded with fresh fish. (For more details, including a look at his van, see “Door-to-door seafood,” posted on Radio Free Daglan on May 16, 2012.)

Lately, my favourite fish from Jean Philippe has become rascasse. Now I had always thought that rascasse was “a bony rockfish,” as one source put it, because I knew that red rascasse was a traditional ingredient in bouillabaisse. But the rascasse filets we buy are bone-free, reasonably large (one per person is fine), and absolutely delicious. Typically, Jan just coats them lightly in gluten-free cracker crumbs and then sautés them in butter.

But yesterday, there was no rascasse available, and so Jan bought a large piece of fresh cod, dos de cabillaud. This is the same cut of cod that we bought on Sunday in the St. Cyprien market (see “From the Sunday market to the plate,” posted April 21) but what the heck.

In any case, Jan breaded and then sautéed the cod, and served it with a clever sorrel sauce we’ve discovered. (The sauce comes frozen, in single-serving containers, so it just needs to be heated a bit and poured over the fish.) Here’s my lunch yesterday, including the cod and sorrel sauce, some potato salad, and a couple of spears of white asparagus (bought in St. Cyprien), napped with the Hollandaise sauce that Jan made a few days ago:

The cod is topped with a sorrel sauce.

The cod is topped with a sorrel sauce.

In the spirit of complete honesty, I admit that we’ve now used up the Hollandaise sauce, as Jan created a couple of delicious breakfasts involving croissants, thinly sliced bacon, a poached egg, and the you-know-what sauce. This is what it looked like:

Now here's a light breakfast!

Now here’s a light breakfast!

Life is not all about sauces or seafood, of course. It also includes steak and charcoal grills. As you’ll see tomorrow.


This entry was posted in French food, Life in southwest France, Markets in France and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Buy the sea, buy the sea, buy the beautiful sea…

  1. lepeyruzel says:

    Your are making me hungry just reading and looking at the pictures too of course!!!

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