Paris Markets and Wild Mushroom Persillade

IMG_1270Every neighborhood in Paris has its own open-air “marché volant” which literally means “flying market” because it seems to pop up magically a couple of times a week around 8:00 in the morning and then disappear again without a trace a little past noon. It is here under canvas tarps and among wooden stalls that you’ll discover the choicest fruits and vegetables, the freshest fish, poultry, and flowers, as well as delicious, locally grown or made, IMG_1267organic eggs, milk, cheeses, and breads that you’re unlikely to come across anywhere else in the world. Most of the produce is less expensive than what you’ll find in a typical Paris supermarket — and it’s displayed with an imagination and flare that is uniquely French.

Fishmonger at the Marche Raspail

Fishmonger at the Marche Raspail

On a recent trip we strolled along the two-block traffic-free Rue Cler market in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower … visited the larger and tonier Marché Raspail in the heart of St. Germain which has a special all-organic market on Sundays … and explored the newly refurbished food courts at Bon Marché  — a culinary extravaganza which, though not outside, takes up an IMG_1192entire city block on the first floor of Paris’ most famous department store. Here, the displays are worthy of Broadway stage sets, including this full-size antique truck loaded with fruits de saison.

Fleshy and fragrant cepes were also in season and we ran into them at markets and on menus everywhere we turned. IMG_1268Probably the most mouth-watering meal of the trip was also the simplest: a persillade of fresh mushrooms, including cepes and girolles (also known as chanterelles). Persillade, from persil the French word for parsley, is a chopped mixture of equal parts garlic and parsley which is added to the pan at the end of a sauté, such as in the classic French bistro dish Pommes persillade.  Here’s a quick and easy version for mushrooms:

Wild Mushroom Persillade

1 lb. mushrooms (wild, if possible), torn into 1/2 inch pieces 
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 large pinch chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup minced parsley
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 teaspoons capers, chopped
Preheat sauté pan on medium heat
Add oil and butter to sauté pan once it has been heated. When the butter starts to brown, add chili flakes and cook for 30 seconds
Immediately add the mushrooms so that the chili flakes don’t burn
Cook the mushrooms until they are well-browned and soft
Add salt, parsley, garlic, and capers. Cook for 2 more minutes so that the garlic is not raw
Serve mushroom persillade on its own with fresh bread to mop up the sauce  — or on top of meat, poultry, or pasta
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17 Responses to Paris Markets and Wild Mushroom Persillade

  1. Leslie Gold says:

    Oh, mon dieu! It all sounds so delicious!

  2. Am definitely going to try this recipe!

  3. Anders Gyllenhaal says:

    Oh, my. What a scrumptious report. The photos put us right there in the middle of it all.

  4. Lorraine Tinger says:

    Yum! Can’t wait to try it! Bon appetite!

    • Liza says:

      Thanks, Lorraine. I actually made a persillade last night with shitake and oyster mushrooms — not quite as wonderful as the cepes and chanterelles, but still pretty wonderful.

  5. Lucian Rosenthal says:

    Yum I am going to get my Mom to make this for me tonight!

  6. Gordon Fisher says:

    One other useful way this is wonderful is to toast two slices of thin-sliced Pepperidge Farm bread, spread the mushroom persillade on one slice, then press the second slice on top. Slice the sandwich either once or twice diagonally, wrap in wax paper and take along with you for lunch on a car trip. All sorts of accompaniments work well — cornichons, tomato wedges, olives, cucumber spears, a blue cheese. We always pack wonderful food for our car trips to our farm and to New York — one of the many reasons we love to drive!

    P.S. I am Susan Fisher’s brother and we met in Edna St. Vincent Millay’s library last July. How many people can say that?

    • Liza says:

      What a wonderful suggestion! I like your list of accompaniments as well as the specificity of ‘Pepperidge Farm Bread” which my mother always loved. I took care of her during her final days, and “Very Thin White Pepperidge Farm” bread was always at the top of her shopping list. I remember our meeting well, Gordon, packed into the Millay’s musty library on that bright summer day.

  7. Annette Shear says:

    I had sent this blog to my two “foodie” Francophile friends..of course, they were wishing they were there! re-reading it today, I am sending it again so they can
    enjoy the recipes and comments of your friends.

    Thank you


  8. Margaret Sheffield says:

    I just noticed this, Liza. Your photographs and the recipe are incredibly visual,
    inviting and vivid. I am going to try to cook this! Margaret Sheffield

  9. Carole Hansen says:

    Mushrooms seem to be one of those foods that people love, or don’t like at all. I fall in the first group, and this recipe must be tried!

    • Liza says:

      I love mushrooms, too. They should be in food group of their own, as far a I’m concerned. One of the best things I ever tasted was a portobello mushroom, grilled over a wood fire, served with fresh blue cheese and balsamic glaze.

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