My butcher usually keeps two special cuts aside when he gets a new carcass — the poire and the merlan — and I have the right of first refusal. I hardy ever refuse.
These are very fine cuts, one is oblong and looks like a fish (merlan being a whiting) and the poire looks like a big pear. They come from near the topside, in English butchery terms. For French butchers, they are near the tranche. It is lean and delicate meat and not so well known because there is just about a pound of it on an entire cow.
This weekend was the “Foire aux harengs et à la coquille de St Jacques” in the coastal town of Dieppe but we could not go to the Normandy port.
To mark this weekend of herring and scallops and encourage the hard-working small-boat fishermen there, I made a dish with scallops from my local fishmonger.
The butcher had a nice halved rabbit and the neighbours had brought us tomatoes from their harvest, so the combination seemed logic.
A simple version of a classic French dish with pigeon and peas.
A great and easy recipe for a succulent guinea fowl cooked in a bag with garlic and tomatoes.
The other day I had ordered a leg of milk-fed young lamb at the butcher’s for Easter, but he provided an older and heavier animal and I ended up with 2,5 kilos of meat.We decided to invite four people over for an impromptu Easter Sunday lunch.
Red Mullet, rouget-barbet in French, is a rock fish of which some amateurs even eat the entrails.
It has a thick layer of scales that normally need to be cleaned but with this recipe you can leave them on.
A red cabbage stew with spices and apple, as in the Dutch tradition. Very good in winter.
On the farmer’s market here in Mirepoix, I found fresh kale just had to take it home. Kale, chou frisé, is called boerenkool and the Dutch eat it as a healthy and cheap vegetable in winter.
Crawfish are a rare delicacy in France, especially as they are far less abundant than several decades ago when the red legs and white legs still populated many streams and lakes. But they are for sale, or can be caught, here in the season in the Pyrenees.