Monday, 16 April 2012

Spring Comes to Liguria

Zucchini Blossoms.  I'm told they make fabulous tempura!
What with travelling, French train strikes, goofing around with friends, and other diversions, this Saturday was the first time I've been able to visit my favourite market in Ventimiglia since the beginning of April. 

Together with two of my most dedicated foodie friends we stuffed our wheeled carts with  insanely fresh artichokes, tomatoes, Parmesan, hazelnuts, and other spring goodies until the wheels were about to collapse.  Then we went for a lovely lunch in a restaurant I've been wanting to try and we talked about food.  A fabulous day by all accounts!

The spring season in Liguria is advancing fabulously as you can see from these photos. We're seeing asparagus everywhere, peas, fava beans, and the fabulous Merinda tomatoes from Sicily have made their début.   According to some vendors, very soon we shall have morels!

Spring turnips with skin like silk

Epine artichokes that are fabulous raw
Merinda tomatoes.  'Tis the season to make sauce


Anonymous said...

Jealous! Although last night I had a brick-oven-baked pizza with local wild ramps. OK, so Ohio's not Liguria but some at least are trying.

Heather Robinson said...

Ooh! I know that feeling of wheeling the cart home and thinking "please don't break, please don't break". :) There is so much here that is inspiring. Now I can't wait to see if there are zucchini blossoms at tomorrow's market. We stuff them with ricotta, crab meat and mint but they would be just as yummy without the crab. The vendors here think that is odd as they ONLY fry them! PS. the prices seem crazily reasonable to me.

Gustia said...

You're back! Yes, the prices are pretty good in the Ventimiglia market - a lot cheaper than in Monaco! I try to get there at least once a week. This time I year I'd love to go every day and just stand there, all googly eyed.

Gustia said...

A brick oven pizza with ramps? Now I'm jealous!

Hannah said...

Wow, what produce! It may be amazingly hot over here, but the vegetables and farmer's markets have yet to catch up. Oh, what I would do for fresh fava beans or zucchini blossoms... Sounds like a dream!

One of Ottawa's Real Foodies said...

The marketplace is paradise. Look at all the beautiful choices. The spring turnips caught my eye. I had some Japanese turnips last summer (assuming that is that same) from my CSA farmer, Roots and Shoots Farm, and I decided to turn them into latkes. Worked swimmingly. Curious to know if you have ever cooked with them.

Gustia said...

I love Robin and Jess! Their carrots make the most sublime juice... The turnips in the photo are a bit milder than the Japanese turnips somewhat sweeter with no peppery finish. I've made a Turnip Tatin with small French ones (now appearing in the French markets) and also my version of Carrots Vichy except with turnips. You've just inspired me to post some turnip recipes!