Last week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Corn Soup, was a sharp reminder that corn is not a native european crop. While all the other FFwD crew talked of overflowing bins full of fresh local corn, I was happy to be able to find four lonely ears at my local market. However, before anyone feels sorry for me, I think that it’s important to note that the Germans take their seasonal fruits & veggies very seriously, and while there are items from home which I sometimes miss, I am certainly not starving for tasty local specialities, a few of which were completely new to me when I moved here.
Late summer brings several different specialities to the local market stands here in Germany, among the most beloved of which are a seemingly endless variety of plums in myriad sizes and colors. My husband is always most excited about the Zwetschen, or Damson Plums in english. He buys these almond-shaped purple plums by the kilo and happily munches them at all hours of the day. For me, however, the best plums are the Mirabelles & the Reine Claudes. Mirabelles are these bite sized little yellow babies, no larger than cherry tomatoes, which are most commonly made into jam, but are also eaten fresh this time of year. And the sweetest most luscious of them all, the Reine Claudes are my absolute favorites. But it wasn’t until the lady at my local produce market sent me home with a free bag that I finally tried them because these golf ball sized plums are an odd green color which makes them look perpetually under-ripe. Now I buy them all the time so I would say that her free promotional bag has more than paid off. Isn’t that how drug dealers get their customers hooked?
Another of my favorite late summer fruits are fresh figs. There are a few different varieties, but my personal favorites are the delicate green figs which are imported from Italy. I have no idea why I never ate these when I lived in the US. Were they not available? Whatever the reason, I just love these sweet little fruits and never seem to be able to keep them in the house long enough to try them in any of the dozen or so recipes I have collected.
And finally on the savory side, and currently appearing on seasonal menus all over Frankfurt, are the Pfifferling mushrooms, or chanterelles in english. These trumpet-shaped little yellow mushrooms are served over everything from pasta to steak. The mushrooms you see here are destined to be sautéed with a little garlic and whatever fresh herbs I can can find in the fridge and then served on goat cheese smeared toast. In fact, I’m getting hungry just thinking about it, I’d better go start on dinner…