En saison: What to put on your plate in February
Because the French never eat strawberries in winter and even different types of goat’s cheese have seasonality...
Lemon, kiwi, mandarin and clementine, orange, apple, pear, pomelo.
Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, celery, squash, pumpkin, Jerusalem artichoke, leek, turnip, salsify, onion, potato.
Focus on: Jerusalem artichoke
Helianthus tuberosus is an herbaceous perennial plant bearing no relation to Jerusalem and not even an artichoke (it cooks like a potato), is able to withstand any climate and it was a popular vegetable during the war – when it was often served simply with butter, no oil, or sauce. After the war, it was sidelined somewhat, and was seen as a “forgotten vegetable”. When cooked it has a slight taste of artichoke and hazelnut when it is raw.
Seasonal recipe: Raw Jerusalem artichoke salad with hazelnuts
Ingredients: 400g Jerusalem artichokes, 60g hazelnuts, olive oil, lemon juice, parsley.
Method: Peel the Jerusalem artichokes, then rinse them. Cut them into thin strips. In a bowl, toss the slices of Jerusalem artichokes in the lemon juice, and four tablespoons of olive oil. Marinate for about 10 minutes. Crush the hazelnuts. Add them to the salad, salt, pepper and serve immediately.
Fish, shellfish and crustaceans
Fish have a season depending on births and reproductions, or fishing cycles. Eating in season also means respecting the biodiversity of species and preserving nature.
Sea bass, horse mackerel, sea bream, haddock, herring, hake, pollock, mackerel, whiting, scallops, oysters.
Focus on mackerel: An often overlooked or even unsung fish, mackerel is nevertheless abundant in France and cheap. Classified as a blue fish, like the sardine, mackerel has long been considered a ‘sailor’s fish’ – one for a quick and easy meal. But it is also a favourite of tourists who go to the various mackerel festivals on the Normandy and Brittany coasts (the fish played an important part in Dieppe’s culinary reputation). When not cooked fresh, mackerel is canned, often with mustard or lemon.
Seasonal cheese: Brocciu
Brocciu is a Corsican cheese made from fresh whey from sheep and/or goat’s milk. When heated, milk and salt are added and after skimming, the product is placed in truncated conical moulds for draining.
It is the main ingredient in fiadone, the most popular and best-known cake in Corsica.
Fresh brocciu has the particularity of not keeping well when bought fresh: it lasts for a maximum of five days.
Did you know? Brocciu comes from the Corsican dialect: brousser means “to beat”.