Today I went to the farmers’ market with Babou. She wanted to introduce me to her spice seller. What a revelation! I’ve noticed his tables before but because he has placed bottles of wine at the front table, I assumed the side tables contained more wine. Not at all.
After trawling the supermarkets and health food store, I’ve pretty much given up on finding exotic spices here in Sens and, on trips to Paris, I load up with the things I need. Also a quick look into M. Parret’s barren spice cupboard confirmed my opinion that the French, while excited about fresh herbs and some spices, preferred the tastes of France. Fallacy. I was just shopping and eating with the wrong people :)
M. Henno has a shop, Ma Petite Epicerie Fine in Presnoy, about an hour away from Sens. He comes to the Sens market every Saturday. This is a very friendly, knowledgeable man, happy in his chosen profession and willing to share his recipes. He also told me about a spice shop in Paris, Izrael. Best of all, if you are looking for a particular spice that he doesn’t have, he’ll try to find it for you! I love him already :)
I was so annoyed with the available light when I took the picture of the tomatoes. These are local French tomatoes and they were red, red, red; you would think GM but they weren’t. I was unable to capture the color with my camera. This heavily photoshopped picture was the closest I could come. I hate heavy photoshopping!
But anyway, I like romano beans a lot and when I saw Georgia About’s recipe for Green Lobio with Tomatoes, I knew that I’d be doing that soon. Attention! My recipe is inspired by the authentic Georgian recipe, so be sure to check out the site to see how they actually make it. It’s spicy :)
Georgian Inspired Romano Beans
1 1/2 lbs romano beans, washed, ends trimmed and each cut into about 4 pieces
1/3 cup lardons or chopped bacon
2 tbsp butter
1 onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
2 large Roma tomatoes, cut into large dice
1 tsp blue fenugreek
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 -1 tsp piment d’espelette
1 capsule saffron
1 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tbsp water
Scotch bonnet, seeded and sliced (optional)
Steam the beans, drain, rinse and set aside.
Brown the lardons or chopped bacon. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Add and melt the butter in the skillet, then saute the onion and pepper until soft. Add the tomatoes, fenugreek, coriander, piment d’espelette, saffron and salt, then cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add the beans and bacon, then continue to cook, stirring for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, grind the garlic and walnuts together, forming a paste. Add the paste and water to the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes more.
Sprinkle with parsley and scotch bonnet(if desired), then serve.