La Fraise de Plougastel
What I look forward to more than anything when I go to my house in Tréguier is cooking dinner for lots of friends. The market is always my inspiration. It reflects the best of the region and the season and each vendor will gladly help pick the ripest offering. I like to have a cup of coffee in a little café and then take my time strolling through the stalls looking for the best crêpe cart. On tip toe, I can watch a woman gently ladle out the crepe batter onto a hot round griddle. She then swirls it around with her wrist using a little wooden paddle. She will fill it with whatever you want, my choice being sugar and butter. Next she folds it up and wraps it in a paper cone. I stroll thru the market with butter dripping down my elbows. Yeah! I am back in Brittany!
This trip, along with the usual cheeses, artichokes, melons and flowers, I noticed an abundance of strawberries from Plougastel, a Brittany village on a peninsula about 50 miles to the west of us, in Finestère, or the “end of the earth”. A friendly vendor offered me a sampling: beautiful, small, stem-on berries that released an intense aroma from their little box, smelling like a giant cauldron of simmering berry jam! I happily bought enough for dessert, breakfast and snacks, along with a bunch of tender, skinny rhubarb stalks.
On the way home, I stopped to visit some friends who suggested a plunge in the sea! The tide was high, a good time for swimming, so we suited up and walked down the rocky shore where we jumped into the brisk, salty water. Giant clouds, jagged rocks and the rugged sea made for an intense and rejuvenating (to say the least) swim. I sat with my friends while we dried off in the sunshine chatting, a magical moment! Driving home, I planned the dinner menu from the market purchases: artichokes with a lemon butter dipping sauce, leg of lamb with a mint glaze, salad with ripe cheeses, and my proud dessert, a rhubarb and Plougastel strawberry cobbler with Grand Marnier whipped cream!
What I was reading on my last trip:
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris.
If you’re like me, stumbling over my high school French, you’ll never stop laughing.
Mix rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg in heavy saucepan. Let stand 20-30 minutes
Bring to a boil, stir frequently
Reduce heat and simmer until juices are thick, about 3-5 minutes
Pour filling into buttered casserole dish, about the size of an 8 in. pie shell.
Combine oats, flour, sugar and cinnamon. Add butter and cut in until crumbly. Cover top of fruit
Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes, until bubbly