One thing I love about Paris, is going to the market. Luckily, this city still has a very strong market culture, and every neighborhood or town just outside of the city borders has it’s own. Usually a few times a week, and frequently visited by the whole neighbourhood.
Where we live, there’s a market three times a week, conveniently located very near our apartment in a huge covered hall, designed especially for this market. On market days, you can see all kinds of people walking there, often trailing along a grocery trolley bag on wheels. I still carry all my groceries in big shopping bags, as in the Netherlands these bags on wheels are solely used by senior citizens and I can’t buy one without feeling at least 80 years old.
I especially love the nearby sunday market, it’s not in our own neighbourhood, but about a ten minute walk away. MrintheKitchen and the minichef have been visiting the markets in our vicinity for many years, which results in them personally knowing most of the vendors. Nothing feels more small-town-in-a-big-town, than having the cheese vendor calling the minichef by her name and asking her how she’s doing, before offering her a slice of cheese.
Another reason I absolutely adore French markets, is for their variety of produce. They’re proud of their local ingredients and sell everything, literally the entire animal. In the Netherlands you can buy your pork chops, or your pork filet (though finding a simple pork belly can already be challenging), but it’s no comparison to the vaste range of pork meats they sell over here.
I always walk by the triperie, where they sell offal, but also noses, ears and tails. Yikes! I highly applaud the idea of eating nose to tail, but seeing a staple of big pigs ears just isn’t that appealing to me. Though I once had some pigs ears in Asia, and they were really good (especially before I knew they were ears, after I spotted the hairs and took a closer look at what I was eating, I somewhat lost my appetite… lol)
Of course, pork belly is fairly mainstream and can be bought at the normal boucherie. This time I marinated it over night in an equal mixture of soy sauce and honey, before I roasted it. This resulted in deliciously tender and tasty meat, with a sweet sticky crispy skin.
- 1 kg (2,25 pounds) of pork belly (with rind) at room temperature
- 3 tbsp of soy sauce
- 3 tbsps of honey
- Boil 750 ml (3 + ¼ cups) of water
- Score the rind with a very sharp knife (this goes best with a serrated knife), really cut into the fat
- Put the meat in a baking tray/roasting pan, fat side up, and pour the boiling water over the meat (this will make the skin/rind really crisp)
- Throw away the water and dry the meat with some kitchen paper
- Mix the soy sauce with the honey and poor it over the meat, turn a few time to make sure every side gets marinated
- Place in the fridge and let marinate for a night
- Take the meat out of the fridge before cooking so it can get to room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 220 C (428 F)
- Place the meat fatty side up in the dry baking tray and roast for 45 minutes
- After 45 minutes, turn down the heat to 150 C (302 F) and roast for another 45 minutes