In the next episode of what is apparently becoming a mini-series about my Paris cooking class, we began the day with a tour of the President Wilson Market, located in the 16th arrondissement, where we were treated to beautiful sights and wondrous smells, along with the biggest morels I have ever seen.

We used some of these mushrooms in a recipe for a class lunch, stuffed with duxelles.  Mushrooms filled with a mushroom paste might seem like fungus overkill, but it was delicious, bien sûr/of course.

We can’t show a Paris market without a picture of the flowers, now can we?  So, on to lunch.  Reserving a table at l’Astrance is difficult enough considering the restaurant seats only 24, so imagine the challenge of reserving for 8, a third of the seating.  Luckily, Patricia Wells has made many important friends around Paris.

This stunning asparagus dish featured coulis de mandarine/Mandarin sauce, raviole de cédrat/ravioli citron, and amandes caramélisées/caramelized almonds.

A maquereau mariné au miso/miso-marinated mackerel topped with graines de sarrasin/buckwheat seeds and a coulis anchois fumé à lángelique/smoked anchovy sauce.

Pigeon, three ways, topped with an intriguing condiment curry noir/black curry made up of 12 different spices and joined by an aubergine au miso/eggplant with miso, which resembled layers of phyllo with the miso tucked inside.  Relax, it’s not the NYC kind of pigeon.

The dessert parade began with a sorbet ananas et coriandre/pineapple and coriander sorbet on top of  gateau citron/lemon cake.  Very refreshing.

This next dish was another taste of spring with a croustillant mangue/crispy mango surrounding a cappuccino noix de coco/coconut cappuccino and topped with a gingembre et pampelmousse/gingered grapefruit. Oh my.

You would think that all of these desserts would overload our palates as well as our stomachs, but they were so refreshing that we still managed room for more. This is a sablé breton/sandy Breton (literally), a French butter cookie with origins in Normandy.  The sablé is topped with citrus sorbet and meringue aux fruits de la passion/passionfruit meringue.  Beautiful and delicious.

While the lighting makes for a tricky view, the eggshells are filled with lait de poule au jasmine/jasmin eggnog.  What was so fascinating about this dish, aside from the perfectly trimmed eggshells, was that its appearance was so wonderfully misleading.  The madeleines de miel au chataignier/chestnut honey madeleines were quite tasty,too.  We also had fresh fruit to balance out all of this decadence.   It was one of the most memorable meals I’ve ever had, made all the better by sharing it with new friends, and the fact that we were in Paris might have had a little something to do with it.

Good thing we had to walk home…


3 thoughts on “Market day & lunch at l’Astrance

  1. Brian

    Reading this entry makes me feel like I am there all over again. That lunch at L’Astrance was magic. I tried to make the eggplant with miso we tasted and it was a total flop – some things you just can’t recreate!!


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