Talk To The Fishmonger

Paris

One of the bonuses of shopping at the farmers market is talking to the fishmonger. I like the manly fishmongers at the Bastille market on Boulevard Richard Lenoir, but they are usually too busy flirting to be of much culinary guidance. I really prefer getting advice from the team of lady fishmongers on the place Baudoyer, like the one who gave us that tip about storing fish...

Whenever I'm unsure of how to prep something, they give me a demonstration. But mostly I like talking to them when I'm out of ideas. This pretty piece of perch was the cheapest fish on sale today at the market. Last time I tried to pan-roast a piece of perch, it seemed to fall to pieces before it was cooked. I asked for advice. One of the lady fishmongers told me not to cook it on the stovetop, then she threw in a recipe for good measure: Layer slightly cooled, blanched, sliced potatoes with sautéed leeks; lay the perch on top, smear with a mixture of crème fraîche and Dijon mustard and bake. I'm looking forward to trying it later -- sounds like the perfect cozy dish for a rainy night.

- Kristin Hohenadel blogging from Paris. She can be reached at kristin @ apartmenttherapy . com

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