From Too Many Chefs -

October 6, 2005
The Organic Market

acorn squash.jpgLast Saturday, the boy and I finally solved the Mystery of the Disappearing Organic Market. We were helped by the fact that Clotilde wrote me and suggested we meet at the nearest metro stop, Rome. I can handle finding a metro stop, armed with a good map.

It's fun to explore a new market under any circumstances, but it's especially fun with a good friend to point out the best stands and explain which way the queues run. Clotilde is always charming but I was still getting over the cold and felt that my poor company wasn't much of an exchange for her kindness. I'll have to make it up to her with witty repartee next time around!

There were so many great foods there: breads, honey, the usual fruits and vegetables. But in addition, I made a wonderful discovery: the organic market has even more variety than all the regular markets I've known in Paris. Rolled together.

I bought fairly decent corn on the cob, in the husk. Clotilde bought a "Peruvian cucumber". (She wrote about it today!) We both bought beautiful tiny red espelette peppers. But the best part, for me, was the sight of a card labelled "Acorn Squash". For as long as I've been pressing sweet corn seed packets on friends with gardens, I've also been passing out seeds for acorn squash. I have never once in 13 years in Paris seen acorn squash. All I've ever seen at the markets is the occasional cut up piece of pumpkin and tiny inedible decorative squashes. I'm in heaven. Acorns are my absolute favorite squash. Woo-hoo!

I love everything about them. Cute shape, don't you think? Nice, meaty interior, a little stringy but in a good way. A nutty flavour, less bland than your average pumpkin. Yummy.

And, as I discovered a couple of days ago, the seeds are wonderful. I baked the first one for an hour in a hot oven. My half had butter and brown sugar (indulgence!) and the boy's just butter. We both loved them.

So now that I've had my fix, I'm wondering what to do with the second one. Ideas, anyone??

Posted by Meg in Sussex at October 6, 2005 4:29 PM | TrackBack

Hi Meg, well I'm happy you found your squash! but at the same time I'm disheartened that it took you 13 years to find it.. I was just lamenting last night to a fellow food blogger how I haven't seen a single butternut or acorn squash yet in Paris, although I was still holding out hope.. so much so that I was planning on making a recipe calling for squash this weekend.. perhaps I'll have to put that recipe aside for now, or get myself over to that organic market. If I can find it that is :)

Posted by michele on October 7, 2005 at 8:00 AM

Try stuffing the next squash with couscous or some other grain. Here's an example (although probably not practical for you: I'm not sure you can find quinoa or maple syrup or dried cherries!):

Or ... just bake the squash plain again! Why try to improve on perfection? I like mine with butter and salt.

Posted by monica on October 7, 2005 at 8:49 AM

Michèle, the market is just outside the Rome metro stop, in the center of the Boulevard des Batignolles. This is where my confusion came from, as I ended up at the marché couvert des batignolles at 96 bis rue Lemercier in the 17th. When I read your comment, I thought it was stupid of me not to have included the address in the post. But when I went to look for it, I realized it really is a "phantom" market as it isn't in the list here:

As for the squash question, the stand that had the acorn ones also had butternut squash and spaghetti squash! The stand is at the far end of the market as you walk away from the metro entrance, on the left side. Maybe I'll see you there one of these days!

Posted by Meg in Paris on October 7, 2005 at 8:50 AM

Monica, I think the health food stores carry quinoa and I actually brought back a few packs of sweetened dried berries from my last trip to the US. I'll certainly post if I get round to trying it - thanks!

Posted by Meg in Paris on October 8, 2005 at 2:55 AM

Hi Meg, thanks so much for the information, I will definitely check it out!

Posted by michele on October 8, 2005 at 11:42 AM

Curried squash soup. Yum. Best with butternut, however -- my favorite winter squash.

Posted by Wendy on October 11, 2005 at 5:08 PM