In New York in early May, I found myself on a Thursday evening with cancelled plans. Thank goodness for Dorie Greenspan. She immediately invited me to her sit-down interview with Patricia Wells that evening at the Alliance Francaise. Patricia was in town promoting her new book, Vegetable Harvest. Dorie and Patricia are such good friends that you did feel like you were in their living room having a chat by the fireplace. Many of Patricia's former students were there, nodding knowingly as she talked about the markets of Paris and Provence.
Q: What are your favorite market in Paris?
A: "Boulevard Raspail market. It is the only all-organic farmers market in Paris. Create relationships, forge friendships with the farmers, learn about where they come from, how they grow their produce, ask about their children. This is what makes the markets so special."
Q: Do you have any advice for people who shop at Safeway (or other huge supermarket) and don't have a farmers market across the street?
A: Speaking to her New York audience, she recommended going the few extra blocks or subway stops to get to a market or a store that carries the freshest product, organic if possible. The quality and flavor and contribution to sustainability makes it worth it.
Q: What are your favorite recipes in the book?
A: "Zucchini carpaccio with pistachio oil (pg 214), asparagus braised with fresh rosemary and bay leaves (pg 160), potato salad with spring onions, capers and mint (pg 227), chick pea and basil puree (pg 16), artichoke and white bean dip (pg 19)." Patricia serves these all the time at home and are always a hit with her guests. I can't imagine anything she cooks not being a hit, bit I digress...