Good chefs love to work with fresh ingredients — like the green and white asparagus stalks that begin showing up here in France each spring. So it’s not surprising that we were served asparagus dishes as our entrées at two different restaurants on two successive days this past week.
On Wednesday, my wife Jan and I, with our friend Joanne, ate lunch at one of our favourite restaurants — the quite wonderful La Table du Marché in Bergerac, where an asparagus dish was the starter on the daily menu.
(I’ve written about the restaurant many times, so I won’t elaborate here. If you want any more information, just type “La Table du Marché” into the Search box at the top right of this blog, and you’ll be served all my previous reviews.)
Then on Thursday, the three of us lunched at Restaurant Eléonore in the Hôtel Edward 1 in Monpazier, and again began our meal with another asparagus dish. (It was a first time for us in the restaurant, and I’ll provide a full review in my next blog posting.)
Now for the food. First, here’s the entrée as served at La Table du Marché — green asparagus stalks surrounded by a sauce made of faiselle (a fresh, soft cheese) that had been blended with pistachio paste, and then garnished with grated rind of preserved lemons and curls of braised onion:
At Restaurant Eléonore in Monpazier, the approach was a bit lighter. The plate included both white and green asparagus, garnished with several small mounds of soft white cheese and a number of young beet leaves. Then there was the purple oval that looked like, perhaps, a grape. Nope — it was a hard-boiled quail’s egg that had been marinated in balsamic vinegar, and proved to be absolutely delicious. How clever!
As you might expect, the three of us enjoyed both asparagus dishes. But if I had to pick my favourite, the creation at Restaurant Eléonore would win by a nose. Or a quail’s egg.