Today's recipe is: Spicy Sausage on French Bread
Everybody loves French markets and we are no exception to this rule. In fact, I am no longer merely an enjoyer, I am a believer of this tradition. This belief may involve ruining my liver and lead to early alcoholism and an early death, but if this is the price to be paid to preserve the French traditional way of life, then I shall have to sacrifice myself.
But I am getting ahead of myself as always. Last year we made the (dubious) decision to get a special breed of sheep. This had seemed like a good idea at the time (after 17 drinks I almost bought the Boston Bridge, but it had already been sold to the 18 drinks person next to me). PS: We now have the sheep and I LOVE them, but that’s another story.
The first step in sheep keeping is fencing. And not just any fencing. Major fencing. Expensive fencing. Sturdy fencing. Our neighbor asked if we would be importing some of the elephants I have in my back yard in Africa. Oh come on guys, let me have a little fun. So I told a small porky and our whole village thinks I have a pet lion in South Africa – believe me, my cat Buddha can be pretty ferocious if you don’t feed him.
So this major, sturdy, expensive fencing had to be purchased and we received an excellent tip from the pourer of said 17 drinks, that there was a man at the market who could relieve us of huge sums of cash (in a really nice way) for said product.
After lots of calls and a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, it was agreed that we would collect 300 fence posts at the market on Monday morning at 7.30am. Never mind the cost shock, seven thirty a.m.!! This would involve getting up at 6am. For those of you unfamiliar with the clock, this is VERY early. With us needing to bring 2 cars and 2 trailers, and this being the biggest market in our department/state, we needed to get the cars in and out before the masses arrived. 7.30am. Seven thirty a.m.
We arranged with a friend and his trailer that they to get to the market at 8.30am so that after loading out trailer, we would load his. We were there by exactly 7.30am – my husband is after all, German – and had our car and trailer loaded by 8am, so we had half an hour to enjoy the French tradition (of early rising).
Did you know that French markets are packed at 7.30am?! Not a foreigner in sight, just a sea of berets disappearing into the horizon. You see, for most foreigners living in the French countryside, the day doesn’t have two 6am’s. Quite right, I hear you echo. One meets at (a very civilized) 11am in the local café, drinks Café Crème and enjoys the pastries you brought along (read about this later in the Coffee Shops story)
So it’s 8am and we are waiting and Monsieur “I’m-an-early-bird” pulled out a gas ring and frying pan and out of nowhere someone appeared with slices of pork belly and sausage. Monsieur “I’m-liking-you-more-and-more” insisted we join them for breakfast and in the interest of international friendship, we agreed.
As he started cooking someone else brought over some baguette, and yet another person brought over some red wine. Yes, you read right. Red wine. No, not water (it might have been water at some point, but it was now miraculously red wine), red wine. In case you for some or other (strange) reason have only started to read this article at this point, I feel I must point out that it is 8am. In the morning. Okay, so by this time it is 8.15am and we are a group of about 10 French vendors and 2 very French feeling foreigners.
We said “No, merci” to the red wine first time it was offered, but after some fantastic salty pork belly on white baguette we were really thirsty and there was not a drop of miracle-less water in sight. So “Oui (wee), merci” was our next French answer to the plastic cup of red wine. And then sausage on baguette at 8.45am and glass number 2. Now this is a truly balanced breakfast if you ask me: (refined) carbs, (processed) protein and (fermented) fruit. What more can one ask for?!
(Strangely enough) I am not used to drinking before 5pm and was quite tipsy by 9am. “Well on my way” might be the more appropriate English phrase. My French language skills are poor to say the very least, but by 9am I was fluid, I mean fluent. We were on “tu” and exchanging Christmas card addresses before our mate arrived to load the rest of the poles. He was quite surprised to find us in bear hugs with the locals.
After loading our mate’s car, and promising the stall owners that we would return every Monday for breakfast, we staggered to the car and swerved our way home. We both fell back into bed to sleep off the effects of our French market experience.
Moral of the story: I have often pondered the logic behind being breathalized in France at 10am (happens a lot), but this I no longer ponder. It’s the market breakfasters they are after. So if you are going to breakfast at the market, take a vegetarian teetotaler with you to drive you home!
Slice a French baguette in half, put a slice of fried or grilled pork belly or sausage on it and eat it with gusto. The pork belly slices can be bought smoked here in France and taste delicious cooked on bread.
or try this quick recipe:
SPICY SAUSAGE ON FRENCH BREAD
4 big sausages, about 450g / 1pound
2 French baguettes, cut into 2 pieces each and cut in half
2 tbsp honey
1 chilli chopped (deseed if desired) or a pinch of red pepper flakes
1. Grill or fry the sausages, turning occasionally, until cooked through, about 20 minutes depending on the size of the sausages. Mix the honey and chilli together and drizzle over the sausages when they are nearly cooked and grill/fry for a minute or two more. Put into the sliced baguette and eat. You can add lettuce and tomato if desired.