Every neighborhood in Paris has its own open-air “marché volant” which literally means “flying market” because it seems to pop up magically a couple of times a week around 8:00 in the morning and then disappear again without a trace a little past noon. It is here under canvas tarps and among wooden stalls that you’ll discover the choicest fruits and vegetables, the freshest fish, poultry, and flowers, as well as delicious, locally grown or made, organic eggs, milk, cheeses, and breads that you’re unlikely to come across anywhere else in the world. Most of the produce is less expensive than what you’ll find in a typical Paris supermarket — and it’s displayed with an imagination and flare that is uniquely French.
On a recent trip we strolled along the two-block traffic-free Rue Cler market in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower … visited the larger and tonier Marché Raspail in the heart of St. Germain which has a special all-organic market on Sundays … and explored the newly refurbished food courts at Bon Marché — a culinary extravaganza which, though not outside, takes up an entire city block on the first floor of Paris’ most famous department store. Here, the displays are worthy of Broadway stage sets, including this full-size antique truck loaded with fruits de saison.
Fleshy and fragrant cepes were also in season and we ran into them at markets and on menus everywhere we turned. Probably the most mouth-watering meal of the trip was also the simplest: a persillade of fresh mushrooms, including cepes and girolles (also known as chanterelles). Persillade, from persil the French word for parsley, is a chopped mixture of equal parts garlic and parsley which is added to the pan at the end of a sauté, such as in the classic French bistro dish Pommes persillade. Here’s a quick and easy version for mushrooms:
Wild Mushroom PersilladeIngredients 1 lb. mushrooms (wild, if possible), torn into 1/2 inch pieces 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons butter 1 large pinch chili flakes 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup minced parsley 2 garlic cloves, finely minced 2 teaspoons capers, chopped Directions Preheat sauté pan on medium heat Add oil and butter to sauté pan once it has been heated. When the butter starts to brown, add chili flakes and cook for 30 seconds Immediately add the mushrooms so that the chili flakes don’t burn Cook the mushrooms until they are well-browned and soft Add salt, parsley, garlic, and capers. Cook for 2 more minutes so that the garlic is not raw Serve mushroom persillade on its own with fresh bread to mop up the sauce — or on top of meat, poultry, or pasta