En saison: What to put on your plate in January
Because the French never eat strawberries in winter and even different types of goat’s cheese have seasonality...
Lemon, clementine, kiwi, mandarin, pear, apple, orange.
Focus on: Menton lemons
Although Menton has always asserted itself as ‘lemon country’, its production was eradicated after the Second World War. Today, the industry is being rebuilt thanks to about fifteen producers who work on the territory of Menton, Roquebrune, Sainte-Agnès and Castellar. In the 1990s, 5,000 trees were planted and the town of Menton worked to encourage young farmers to set up shop. Since 2004, the Association pour la Promotion du Citron de Menton has supported this revival of citrus farming and has launched an application for the registration of a protected geographical indicator.
Menton lemons deserve such attention: this unique fruit boasts a delicate flavour, abundant juice, and a thick rind rich in essential oil. The city of Menton dedicates a party to them in February, with floats and music. The 85th edition of the festival has a Bollywood theme and kicks off on February 17, with organisers expecting some 145 tonnes of the fruit to be used.
Beetroot, garlic, carrot, celery, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, endive, turnip, onion, parsnip, leek, potato, pumpkin, squash, Jerusalem artichoke.
Focus on: Cardoon
From the same family as artichoke, cardoon (or thistle artichoke) was very popular in the Middle Ages, but it has gradually disappeared from French tables – except for the Lyon, Savoyard and Mediterranean regions, which use it in traditional dishes. Some advice: only the heart of the cardoon is used, as the leaves often have thorns.
When buying, check that the plant’s ribs are firm and creamy white. Be careful, just like artichoke, cardoon is very sensitive to frost. In the kitchen: cardoons can be served just like artichokes (in vinaigrette), hot or cold, fried or au gratin!
Fish, shellfish and crustaceans
Conger, scallops, haddock, grey sea bream, herring, oysters, whiting, pollock, Norway lobster, octopus, sole, skate.
Focus on: Skate
The skate, a flat fish shaped like a rhombus, is a winter fish par excellence. It is found in most cold or temperate seas and it is usually sold in the form of a ‘wing’. When purchased, the skate must be covered with mucus (a sign of freshness) and have a slight ammonia odour. Before cooking, brush it with vinegar water to remove the mucus.