Monday, September 19, 2005

tomato salad


At seven o'clock there is an empty fridge and even the shops in southern France are closed.

"Pasta al pesto it is" one is wont to say, and it is of course a great thing, especially with a bonne bouteille, and it makes a perfect TV dinner.

However, the commune de Bedoin have come up with an alternative. Between 5 and 8 every evening, in a sun drenched plot at the foot of the Mont Ventoux, they hold their 'marché artisanal'. This consists of about four stalls grouped together mostly selling the same thing:

Three or four varieties of monster tomato - lopped and weighted over to one side by bulbous growths; bulging with great scarlet cleavages and green bum-cracks; yellow skin tattooed with black scars. The best.

Aubergines - small, tight and very erect.

A dry goats cheese, a wetter one soaked in beaumes de venise, mini ones bottled in oil, one free range hand plucked fowl, honey made from the garrigues which probably has enough propolis in it to cure a nation of snotty noses, hairy courgettes and some grubby pert lettuce.

We have various options: salade de chevre chaud with miel de garrigues dribbling all over it, roast fowl, ratatouille and tomato salad...

As we leave with three tomatoes (one red, one green striped and one white) and a bottle of petits chevres we watch the stall-holders clump together, the sunset and a day's work dropping behind them, and get out the large quiche and bonnes bouteilles which they will share for supper. Later, over pasta al pesto and an exquisite tomato salad I remember that of course pesto is not a convenience food to be consumed in front of episodes of the o.c, but rather a perfect artisanal dish.

"The fridge is empty, mama!"
"Well, we have basil in the garden, some pine nuts in the cupboard and I think there is some parmesan still in the fridge. I'll see what I can knock up."



Anonymous roger said...

Nice post! You should start a comment game: what was the first time they thought a great dish?

Spanish peasant to friend: "I'll dig up some of those dirty, starchy things, peel 'em, boil 'em and mix it with some of that stuff from what the hens laid, after I crack them."

Explain foie gras, the nice way.

10:59 PM  
Anonymous becca said...

a perfect meal after a perfect walk could stay late summer all year and I could live on tomatoes and basil (and in Pittsburgh ... fresh mozzarella ... though in France chevres sounds a lot better).

2:44 AM  
Blogger Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Bum cracks! Hahahahaha! I won't be able to look at big knobbly tomatoes without giggling ever again!

2:23 PM  
Blogger ruth said...

great idea Roger so feel free anyone else. i won't do foie gras cos my mum reads this!

7:27 PM  

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