La belle France !
I’ve been back for a month now and I’m finally sitting down to post some pictures and a new recipe directly inspired by this recent trip.
A journey in France under a soothing and warm fall sun.
Where red and green intertwine and the light coming from the sky is pale and white.
A color combination to remember in the kitchen when preparing a special seafood dish to impart this experience.
The greatest of adventures in Paris is to discover new things, new places and new sceneries.
My latest kick? Walk through as many cours intérieures as possible.
Ever wanted to see those lovely small inside courtyards behind those big Parisian locked doors?
And despite the digicodes – those entry control systems with numeric pads outside every main doors in Paris – one might be sneaky enough to press the entry/exit button during the day when most systems are not turned on yet.
Between rue de Charonne and rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine.
Or as you stroll rue Pigalle and around rue des Martyrs.
I discovered gems.
Even behind 17 rue Bleue where the Cantine de la maison de la culture arménienne – a small restaurant at the Armenian Cultural Center – hides at the back of the courtyard.
And if you surprisingly run into la gardienne, just say Bonjour Madame !
So many treasures to uncover.
And in these enclosed courtyards, protected from the outside world and noises, it’s the discreet and muffled sound of Parisian life that is distinctly heard through the few open windows.
A certain mood floating around as I stand in the center, looking up and around.
Demure. Calm. Unassuming. Yet full of life.
The pastoral French countryside.
A bucolic side trip where the same colorful reds and greens kept revealing themselves in a scenic patchwork.
A wealth of trees and grass.
Farmers’ markets filled with distorted red orangish gourds and bright squash varieties.
The whispers of the market – a light hubbub of friends and neighbors babbling under a pale and transparent morning light.
This new recipe was not only inspired by the color scheme following me throughout the trip but also by L’Agrume, a restaurant in the 5th arrondissement of Paris.
A bowl full of white pale clams.
Sprinkled with green onions.
A touch of red chorizo.
And a simple after taste of lemon.
It made for a perfect dish to enjoy throughout November.
Clams, Chorizo and Green Onions with Creamy Lemon Broth
3.5 cups (80 cl) of water
1 cube of vegetable bouillon (I use vegan vegetable bouillon cubes with sea salt)
the zest and juice of one organic lemon
2 Tbsp of chopped thyme
1 Tbsp of fennel seeds
2 green onions thinly sliced (green and white parts) + 2 more for sprinkling
sea salt and pepper
2 lbs (1 kg) of littleneck clams
1 Tbsp (15 g) of butter
2 heaping Tbsp of crème fraîche
about 3 oz (75 g) of chorizo – thinly sliced
slices of bread
In a big heavy pot, combine the water, bouillon cube, lemon zest and juice, thyme, fennel seeds, green onions, salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil.
Place the clams directly in the boiling water, reduce the heat, and cook until the clams open.
In the meantime, remove the casing around the chorizo and slice it thinly.
When the clams open, remove them from the pot and place them in a separate bowl covered with foil or a towel to keep warm.
Drop the butter and crème fraîche in the clam broth and stir until melted and well-combined.
Add the chorizo slices to the pot, stir and remove them as soon as they start to release a brightly red tint.
Serve the clams in bowls, top with the warm chorizo slices and scoop out the creamy lemon broth with a spoon. Drizzle all over the bowl and clams.
Sprinkle the last green onion slices on top with an extra dash of freshly ground pepper and some more thyme if needed.
Do not forget the slices of bread to soak up the broth.