Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Spring Day at the Winery

The weather couldn't be more gorgeous. Warm, t-shirt weather. Glorious sunshine that isn't yet so powerful and intense that I'm hiding out under a parasol (but I did get out my straw hat and shades). A slight breeze is blowing, but just enough. The few days of intense Mistral winds are past history. It is a moment to revel, to luxuriate, to go ahhhhh, t'is true, perhaps this is why I live in Provence?

Time to work in the garden and plant the carrots and peas and potatoes. Time to turn over the earth and prepare to seed the alfalfa on the slope that formerly held an apricot orchard. And, time to harvest wild leeks. Yes, they grow in abundance here in the sandy clay soil. I was able to pull up an armful with my handy fork (JP only has manly sized gardening tools, and truly, I didn't need a huge hoe for this job), within a small circumference of about 2 meters. Fragrant, flavorful, completely organic... what could be better?

I brought them into the house after my brief period of foraging (rarely, is foraging this productive in such a short span of time! When out mushroom hunting, it can take a whole afternoon to find enough cèpes or grisés for a good side dish!), and set about cleaning them. Basically I rinsed well and removed the very outer leaves. The rest was all edible. I minced the tiny bulbs to add to our lunch stir fry with some broccoli and cabbage, and a sizable drizzle each of olive oil, lemon juice and tamari.

The stalks I cut into two inch lengths and blanched for a few minutes till tender -- but still very much bright green --and drained them in a colander (though I should have kept the cooking water for soup! Drats, it went down the drain. Next time). I then made a very simple vinaigrette with JP's olive oil, a touch of cider vinegar, a smudge of dijon mustard and a sprinkle of fleur de sel. While the leeks were still quite warm I poured the vinaigrette over them and turned them well. Then they sat quietly on the table, gently cooling down and sitting in their juices till lunch, a couple of hours later.

Having prepared quite a lot, I put aside the extra blanched leeks for an omelet or quiche tomorrow... so many possibilities.

Yes, it is spring, with its bounty and with its moments of amusement. As I looked out from the terrace, JP was sowing seeds in the garden to the west, while to the east, my over-active fully male dog (the vet persuaded me not to have him fixed... but I'm definitely thinking of going back on this decision) was sowing his seed in quite another recipient.

Yup, the sap is definitely starting to flow.

No comments: