Sunday, October 17, 2010

back from Paris

There are a million wonderful reasons to visit Paris. For me it begins here:
The first cup of coffee!
The museums, gardens, sculptures...
everywhere you look!
The cafes with cute names,
the details,
the markets,
One memorable afternoon along the banks of the charming canal St. Martin...
we had a wonderful lunch at the chic and trendy Hotel du Nord. I almost did not order this dish because it was described as a stir-fry with Pastis. How very strange?!  Pastis is an anise flavored liquor. I wasn't getting the concept, but made a leap of faith anyway. Oh la la! So so so good. There was fennel in the vegetable mix and the Pastis echoed that flavor. I then reflected that five spice seasoning, which is a stir-fry staple, has fennel seed in it so everything was starting to make sense.

Our trip was amazing and I still am on a cloud of aesthetic overload. The city is insanely beautiful in countless ways and I really think I should become a Paris blogger now. Well, in the meantime, I attempted to recreate the delicious stir-fry I enjoyed so much. I went out and bought a bottle of Pastis when I got home (I couldn't find it at the duty free).

I happened to have all the vegetables I needed from the local NY farmers market and I am happy to report that my version is close to a perfect match.
Can you see that little dish of sel de mer (sea salt) on the bottom right? This was my big shopping splurge in Paris. I got a bargain large bag of grey sel de mer for under three euros! 

Stir- fry Vegetables with Pastis
The version of this dish in Paris had asparagus in it as well, but I wanted to keep the ingredients seasonal for my version, pictured here.  I loved the radishes in the original dish, an inspired choice that I would never have thought to add to a stir-fry.
3 Tbs. Olive Oil
10 radishes cut into thin strips with a mandoline or knife
1 fennel bulb, cut into thin strips with a mandoline or knife
6 carrots, peeled and shaved into thin strips with a mandoline or vegetable peeler
1 teas. salt
3 Tbs. Pastis or Pernod

Heat oil in wok. Add the radishes and cook till barely tender for about two minutes, stirring constantly, add a pinch of salt as they cook. Remove from wok and add the fennel and another pinch of salt. Cook for two minutes and remove from wok. Add the carrots and another pinch of salt and stir fry for two minutes. Add the other vegetables back into the wok and then add the Pastis or Pernod. Let the vegetables simmer in the liquor for another minute until the liquid is absorbed. Garnish with a sprinkle of sel de mer and serve immediately.

Amanda- we drank some wonderful Côtes de Provence Rosés while in France, all fantastic and all very inexpensive! Do you think that is a good choice with this dish?

I'm glad you had a terrific time! The pictures are beautiful and I would love to hear more about some of the fabulous meals I am sure you enjoyed! This stir fry looks marvelous - I never would've thought about the Pernod or Pastis as an ingredient for this kind of dish.

You mentiond enjoying the Cotes de Provence Roses - I think you hit the nail on the head. There is nothing I can think of that would make a better complement. A fruit-forward Rose with a hint of spice and plenty of fruit would be simply ideal for these vegetables. The spice notes in the wine would just marry perfectly to the licorice flavor of the Pernod. (as I am sure you already know since you had the pleasure of savoring this combination on your trip).

Roses from the Cotes de Provence are typically a blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah. For those of you unfamiliar with Cinsault, it is a red grape (sweet and juicy) which grows on the hillsides of France.  The grapes are used for blending, and give great aromatics to the wine. (It is one of the 13 varietals allowed to be used for Chateauneuf-du-Pape, one of France's superstars).  When used in Provence Roses, it lends beautiful structure and softness to the wines, making them elegant and "feminine". The Syrah gives the wine it's spice.

The great thing about Roses from Provence is not only the quality, but the price. It is very easy to find wonderful examples in the under $15 price range. Domaine de Pourcieux makes a very fine Rose possessing beautiful ripe fruit flavors. I imagine it would show perfectly next to Deb's recipe. For $11.99, this is a true bargain. Deb - I suggest you locate a bottle and cook up your stir-fry, pull out some photos and reminisce about your trip! Though, it would probably be near impossible to re-create the original experience!

1 comment:

  1. Your photos are gorgeous, and as radishes and Pastis are among my favorite things in the world, I'm going to give that salad a shot. Pastis is my favorite aperitif, so there's nearly always a bottle hanging around. =) Sounds like a wonderful trip.


Thank you for your comment. Spammers have forced me to now review every comment before publishing. So please bear with me as I read through your comment. Thank you for visiting the blog!