Thursday, October 8, 2015

My Paris Market Cookbook – a book review

My Paris Market Cookbook: A Culinary Tour of French Flavors and Seasonal Recipes, written by fellow blogger Emily Dilling, is a delightful armchair trip to Paris and Emily’s favorite markets. Emily is originally from California, but has called Paris home for the last ten years. She is passionate about food and the people who grow and make it. She runs Paris Paysanne, a blog dedicated to discovering Paris markets and terroir.

The book centers around the various Parisian markets and Emily is an expert there. She knows where the best food markets are, including their addresses. She introduces you to her favorite vendors, local farmers and independent producers in the various arrondissements of Paris. There are also great tips on which vendors have the “best” of what the season has to offer (hint, there’re the ones with the longest lines). I know for a fact from shopping in Provence recently that it is important to get to know the various vendors in the markets. Building a repore with them assures that you’ll get the best of the season. Personally I can’t imagine finding any of these markets on my own, especially in a city the size of Paris.

With Emily’s help you’ll discover other shops you might otherwise miss. She knows where to find a great selection of made-in-France cotton tea towels (you surely don’t want to bring back anything made in China) and pretty French linen napkins and place mats that make great gifts for your friends or for yourself for that matter that are typically found in every kitchen in France.

There’s a new movement in Paris underway to provide Parisians with locally roasted ethically sourced coffee that is available in various coffee shops around the city, some even offering classes on how to make a truly great cup of coffee. One such cafe is Coutume Café in the 7th arrondisssement. I for one would never be able to find it without Emily’s guide.

Whenever we travel to Provence, I always take along a local guide book and it’s not always Rick Steves or Lonely Planet. I can find the Old Port in Marseille or The Palace of the Popes in Avignon on my own. Rather, I take a copy of Patricia Wells’ Provence Cookbook with me. I know that Patricia Wells has the knowledge that only a local possess to guide me to her favorite shops, restaurants, and markets to insure that I find the best that Provence has to offer.

Now I know who to turn to in Paris - Emily Dillings. When I stroll the streets in the City of Lights in search of best-of-the-best local markets and shops, I will have a copy of My Paris Market Cookbook tucked inside my Longchamps tote bag.

The recipes in the book are divided by seasons, which makes perfect sense because in France you’ll only find the foods that are in season sold in the markets. French markets would no more have Cavaillon melons for sale in the winter than they would have butternut squash in the summer. Emily’s recipes are the kind of simple and delightfully delicious seasonal favorites that appeal to me most about French food.

I’ve included three of my favorites, excerpted with permission from My Paris Market Cookbook: A Culinary Tour of French Flavors and Seasonal Recipes by Emily Dilling and photos by Nicholas Ball. Copyright 2015, Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.

We made this dish last week and served it for dinner with a juicy porterhouse steak and tart tossed green salad. Highly recommended.

From My Paris Market Cookbook: A Culinary Tour of French Flavors and Seasonal Recipes by Emily Dilling – serves 4
Courtesy of Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.

The French rarely go overboard with their garlic, but these mushrooms are the exception. This simple side dish is easy to make and flavorful, with a healthy dose of garlic and parsley. Be sure to let your mushrooms cook slowly on low heat, releasing their juices and bringing out their full flavor.

2 pounds (1 kilo) mushrooms (chanterelles, shiitake, or even button mushrooms will work)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper

Under a thin stream of cold water, lightly wash mushrooms and remove their feet. Use a clean dish towel to dry the mushrooms, then cut them into uniform slices, about ¼ inch thick. Heat the olive oil on medium heat and sauté the onion and shallot until transparent, about 3–5 minutes. In the meantime, stir together garlic and parsley in a small bowl. Add mushrooms to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have given their juice and then the juice has been cooked off, 3–5 minutes. Add parsley and garlic and cook another 2–3 minutes, before the parsley begins to wilt. Remove from heat, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

These baked eggs make a simple entrée for lunch or dinner as well as a delightful egg addition to brunch. Chopped chives add a dash of color to this almost effortless French classic, which is easy to serve in individual ramekins. Emily says this has become a breakfast staple her home, where she uses fresh eggs from the Marché Biologique des Batignolles, page 119, to whip up a breakfast dish that is sure to please and start the day off right.

From My Paris Market Cookbook: A Culinary Tour of French Flavors and Seasonal Recipes by Emily Dilling – serves 4
Courtesy of Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.

For each 3-inch (7½ cm) ramekin:
Butter to coat the inside of the ramekin
1 tablespoon crème fraîche
1 large egg
Generous pinch of grated Gruyère
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped fresh chives to garnish

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter the inside of each ramekin. Add crème fraîche, then crack one egg into each ramekin, without breaking the yolk. Top with grated Gruyère and a dash of salt and pepper. Place on middle rack in oven (if making several, place on a baking sheet). Bake for 6–8 minutes, until cheese is melted and eggs are set but not cooked through. The yolk should look glassy and remain still when ramekin is lightly shaken. Sprinkle with chopped chives and serve in ramekin with toasted baguette.

I am very anxious to try Emily’s recipe for socca as soon as I can get my hands on a bag of chickpea flour. We were first introduced to socca a number of years ago when we were visiting friends who had a home just north of the French Riviera area. The second day we were there they took us to the big market in nearby Antibes. We had barely had a chance to look around the stalls when our friend Tony excused himself and returned from a street vendor with a couple of what looked like a wafer thin pancake wrapped in white paper. He thrust them in our hands and said, “Try these. They’re a regional specialty.” It was a bit soft and crunchy at the same time. Ever since that day, I’ve been crazy about socca.  

In Paris, socca can be hard to find; that’s why Emily says there’s always a line at Alain’s stand at Marché des Enfants Rouges, page 10, where the friendly vendor prepares hot-off-the-griddle socca for eager eaters. It is often eaten tapas-style, with deep-fried zucchini flowers and fish. Serve your socca fresh out of the oven, broken into jagged sections that guests can eat with their hands. Fresh ground black pepper is key to this recipe; socca should never be served without being given a few turns of the pepper mill first.

From My Paris Market Cookbook: A Culinary Tour of French Flavors and Seasonal Recipes by Emily Dilling – makes 2 to 3 batches 
Courtesy of Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.

1 cup (150 grams) chickpea flour
1 cup (240 mL) water
2 large pinches of fine sea salt
2½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper
Coarse sea salt (optional)

Whisk together chickpea flour, water, salt, and olive oil in a large bowl. Cover bowl with a dish towel and let sit for at least one hour. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Once oven is preheated, lightly brush a baking sheet with olive oil. Pour batter into the baking sheet, creating a thin, even layer. Bake for 10–15 minutes or until golden and crispy around the edges. Remove from baking sheet by scraping and breaking socca into jagged pieces with a spatula. Repeat until all the remaining batter is used, combining scraped socca onto one large plate. Top with fresh ground black pepper and coarse sea salt, if using. Serve immediately.

For better viewing, click photos to enlarge.

Disclosure: I was given a copy of My Paris Market Cookbook to review. The opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone. The recipes are excerpted with permission from My Paris Market Cookbook: A Culinary Tour of French Flavors and Seasonal Recipes by Emily Dilling and photos are by Nicholas Ball. Copyright 2015, Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. Thank you Skyhorse Publishing for the opportunity to read and enjoy this great cookbook. You were a pleasure to work with.  

This will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm and Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday.
Have a great weekend everyone.


  1. This books sounds interesting. I adore socca, garlicky mushroom sauté and baked eggs.



  2. The Paris markets are amazing and I know that I too would love to have this book tucked under my arm as I stroll the city streets. Great review Sam. Funny, I just posted a book review also.

  3. Sounds like a cookbook that will have you reliving your visits Sam-enjoy:@)

  4. It sounds like a wonderful book. If I get the chance to go back to Paris, I will bring this along with me!

  5. This is a book that I now need to add to my collection. I wonder if there is a Kindle version ? I'll look into it, but at home it is lovely to turn the pages and immerse yourself in the written word…and dream.

  6. It does sound like a wonderful book. . . . I'm so delighted that cookbooks are still popular. For a while, I was afraid the internet was taking over (even for a cookbook junkie like myself!) Thanks for sharing a new one, Sam!

  7. I love a pretty face and that book has it..nice to hear the conntents are as lovely!
    We had your mushroom dish as a side yesterday..we love them.I add thyme..from the garden at the moment..your eggs en cute:)Is that a little yogurt jar?
    I wish our yogurts came in glass pots:)

  8. This would be a good winter "getaway" for me. I have just the chair and teacup but not the book. What a lovely way to spend with armchair travel.


  9. Sam, We love to explore large, expansive and imaginative markets...indoors or outdoors. When we plan a trip I research attractions, scenic routes, markets and shops and dining opportunities. I check out guidebooks, reference books and the Internet to put together a rough trip plan with a selection of things to experience and places to dine along the way. Beautiful recipes in your posting. I'm a pain though when it comes to fine dining with too many dislikes. It drives Laurie crazy! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  10. It makes me want to hop on a plane to Paris - nevermind the armchair!!! lovely book:)

  11. What a perfect person to review this book, Sam! I love the three recipes you picked to show us and I'm really excited to try socca also. I'll be putting chickpea flour of my shopping list. I would mind a piece of socca topped with those mushrooms!

  12. Sam, Emily could not have found a better person than you to review her cookbook. I must make the socca. I have seen them before, but did not know what they were called.

    Great post.

  13. This looks like an amazing cookbook, and the chickpea pancakes sound delicious!! Happy Thursday, Sam!

  14. This seems like it will be a wonderful guide if we make it over to Paris for a visit! Thanks for the recipes. Those baked eggs look delicious!

  15. I've heard so many good things about this cookbook, Sam. I will have to add it to my collection. Fresh food markets in France and Italy are dream destinations for me. I bought chickpea flour recently and will try the pancake recipe

  16. LOVE LOVE socca! This cookbook sounds really interesting, Sam.

  17. This sounds like a must have cookbook/guide book.....I love cookbooks that are so much more than recipes. It gives one the "feel" of the various areas.

  18. The book sounds wonderful -- and the recipes look delicious. Putting chickpea flour on my shopping list...

  19. Sounds like a wonderful book. I love the Parisian markets and how great to have a book to guide you!

  20. It sounds like a great cookbook, Sam! Like the tea towel comment, so true! I'm drooling over the mushrooms and eggs. Both delicious, marvelous! Take care

  21. They all sound delicious and thanks for the info. I will look in in he blog, one somehow I appear to have missed!! Nothing worse than taking a gift to someone from a country you have been to only to discover it was made in China!! Hope you are well Diane

  22. Looks like a marvelous cookbook, Sam. When my daughter lived in Paris, I spent many hours wandering through various markets. Shopping there is so much different than here. Meat in one store, veggies in another, bread in yet another. Loved every minute of it.
    The recipes look the egg idea, so easy and yet so French.

  23. You were the perfect person to review this cookbook having recently returned from France. My husband and I always visit the markets when we travel in Europe. They not only let you see what is seasonally fresh but you also get to see what they are called so that when you look at a menu, it is easier to order food.

  24. I love cookbooks divided by seasons - yes - it does make sense. And I am loving these recipes. Simple, delicious and fresh. I need to make those eggs while I still have my chives!


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