Spring is in the air at Realmont market this morning. People are very chatty; the terrace of the cafe is packed–seven round one of the small tables, relishing the sunshine.
Winter is still on the stalls though–no change yet from the root vegetables, cabbages, broccoli, sprouts, and cauliflowers that have dominated for months. A few stalls are selling plants for early bedding. Frost still threatens, limiting the choices.
At a pork butcher’s stall I have yet to shop at–mainly because there’s always a long queue–I spot a different looking sausage. It’s marked : Saucisse fraiche Basque.
I ask the stallholder what’s in it: “Piment d’Espelette et poivre”, she says.
The chili pepper of Espelette is a speciality of the Basque country that borders Spain and the Atlantic coast four hours to the west of us. It is harvested in late summer and appears on the stalls here in September. As chilis go it is not very hot–but it’s colourful.
“I’ll take some–thank you” and she cuts off about a pound from a nestling wheel of fresh sausage. I also buy a kilo of pork shoulder.
I already have four or five fennel bulbs in my basket and dinner slowly dawns on me!
The sweetness of the slowly braised fennel will, I hope, contrast well with the lightly spiced sausage.
This a new dish–so we”ll see.
Braised Fennel with Spicy Sausage.
to be continued later today…..