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Posts Tagged ‘realmont’

From his stall at Tuesday’s market in Castres, Monsieur Gayraud–the fishmonger–was extolling the virtues of the maigre–a fish called “thin” if you like.

Comme un bar [sea bass] et moins cher [cheaper].”

I bought one large enough to serve two and asked him to leave the scales on but gut it for me.

I had it in mind to cook it as per the recipe for Simple Sea Bass in Delicious Dishes–in the oven at a very high temperature seasoned on a bed of thyme for about 25 minutes.

I looked up the oddly named maigre in Alan Davidson’s Mediterranean Seafood and Jenny Baker’s Simply Fish

and discovered that its name is not the only odd thing about Monsieur Maigre.

It’s also known as a croaker–because of the noise it makes when looking for food–and it eats a lot apparently, presumably to try to put on weight and change its name.

This is almost more than I need to know about a fish I’m about to cook!

In the oven went M. Maigre/Croaker/Bocca d’Oro (It)/Saiagiz (Turk)/Corvina (Sp)/Mayatico (Gr)… and 20 odd minutes later emerged ready to eat, after its protective scaly skin was peeled carefully back  and the two fillets shared between us.

At the Wednesday market in Realmont, I spied the first asparagus of the season!

I bought enough for the two of us and realized when I got home it would look good on the plate beside the fish; so I put the thin spears, sprinkled with olive oil, on a shallow tray and into the oven, 15 minutes after the fish and they were ready more or less at the same moment–looking crispy and glistening.

A simple dressing of one tablespoon of lemon juice to three of olive oil and seasoning was all we needed for the fish and the asparagus.

What’s in a name? That which we call a maigre

By any other name would taste as sweet.

And call it what you will–it was delicious!

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On our way back from the book signing we spend Saturday night in Totnes–old hippy haunt and medieval town on the the river Dart in Devon.

After visiting the Sunday market–(every third Sunday in the month)

we have lunch at a bistro with our friends Maj-Britt and Lars.

“What’s in the Tomato soup–it’s delicious?–would you ask the chef.”

“Roasted tomatoes, red pepper, onion, and garlic–he says.”

So this morning–a little bleary eyed (we returned yesterday)–I head for Realmont market and a stall of home grown tomatoes and peppers.

The market in this medieval town is every Wednesday; retired farmers talk about the weather and old times–and there’s even a hippy or two!

Hearing Grace Slick and the Jefferson Airplane‘s Somebody to love–blasting out over the normally detested civic sound system, transports me back and puts a spring in my step.

Then back home to have a go at the soup.

Oven set to 230C/450F

Cover a shallow oven tray with foil and brush it with olive oil.

800 grms/1lb 12ozs tomatoes–cut up in large chunks

250/ grms/8oz red peppers–deseeded and chopped in large chunks

1 medium onion–peeled and chopped in large chunks

3 garlic cloves–peeled and chopped

300ml vegetable stock–I use half a stock cube in hot water

  • gather these in a bowl and pour over a tablespoon of olive oil.
  • season with salt and pepper and mix well.
  • tip this mix into the oven tray and spread it evenly.
  • put it into the hot oven for 30 minutes.
  • it comes out nicely singed.
  • let it cool a little then tip it all in a food processor and whizz to a roughish finish.
  • (I don’t mind the bits of tomato and pepper skin but there’s the option of lifting these off after the cooling period).
  • after tasting it I add a couple of teaspoons of cider vinegar–it seems to need something.
  • pour the soup into a saucepan and add the stock.
  • stir it well and heat through.
  • check the seasoning.
  • we have a small glass of it for lunch
–with a little fresh basil sprinkled on top and swirl of olive oil–could be creme fraiche though!

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