Mr Piggy goes to market looking for spring vegetables

turnipsIt’s springtime 2014 in the market, and time to look out for the ingredients that go to make up la jardinière, a mixture of fresh and tasty new veg to be served with roast meat. You can expect to pay €4.90 a kilo for the first of the new peas. A bunch of new carrots shouldn’t cost your more than €1.80, and don’t forget the sweet small turnips – navets (right) – at €1.50 the bouquet. You’ll have to wait a little longer for the first of the grelots, tiny new onions that take their name from the small bells on a horse’s bridle. The white ones are usually best, and can cost up to €6 per kilo.

Mrs Piggy thinks that buying a whole salade which then has to be washed and drained is a waste of good troughing time, so I always spend a euro or two assembling a bespoke bag of delicious, grit-free leaves from Dominique’s stall at the Marché Forville. Try the mesclun (from the niçois word mesclumo – a mixture), which has a slightly bitter taste and in its purest state should contain wild and cultivated chicory, lamb’s lettuce and dandelion, though it can contain rocket, groundsel, chervil, salsify and oak leaf lettuce.