I was feeling very American yesterday.
So yes, that is a burger in that lovely picture up there. I was going to make zucchini fries with the jar of duck fat from the grocery store (in France you can walk into the grocery store and buy ready-to-use jars of duck fat!), but ran out of time. But man, that was one tasty burger.
There were figs on it.
The figs are there due to the insistence of my host mom’s friend, who explained that the Romans used to put cooked figs with steak “comme l’habitude,: and put a halved fig into the frying pan next to my burger.
It was quite nice.
They have figs everywhere here, too! And my host mother always has them in the kitchen, because you never know when you might need one. Although we’ve never eaten a lot of figs at home, I’m really starting to enjoy them.
Today I was feeling rather European.
There is a huge market every Sunday along the river, with vendors selling everything from cheese, fresh meat, prepared food, and produce to pastries and the most enormous loaves of bread you have ever seen. We bought a large number of some huge, soft, purple figs, and some Jambon de Bayonne to go with. After thinking about it, we decided to buy Jambon de Bayonne from a couple of different places to see which place had the best ham, so that we’ll know where to go next time.
We also got talked into buying jam. At least it wasn’t something boring, like raspberry jam. It was jam made from mirabelles (yellow plums) and questches (gooseberries).
After buying some bread and cheese for everyone else, we were off with our very European lunch.
All of the ham was delicious. That said, I am a complete ham when it comes to ham. I love it, without any exceptions. It was good by itself, but downright delicious when spread with a bit of the jam and wrapped around a bit of fig.
I could get used to this.
As long as there is an occasional burger involved.
Burger a la Francaise – for one
¼ lb ground beef, seasoned (I like salt, pepper, fennel seed, cumin and onion powder)
2 pieces speck (prosciutto or coppa would work as well)
¼ cup cornichons
1-2 cups washed lettuce
Fry the speck in a nonstick pan until it’s nice and crispy. You might want to do four pieces, since you’ll probably eat two while waiting for the burger to cook. While the speck is cooking, slice up the tomato, avocado, and cut the cornichons and the fig in half.
Put your burger in the pan (using the speck drippings as grease), turn down the heat to medium-low, and cook until crusty on the bottom. Then flip, add the fig pieces, cut side down, and cook until done. Serve on top of the lettuce with the other vegetables, figs and speck. For dressing, I mixed together some Dijon mustard (1 TBSP), apple cider vinegar(1TBSP), olive oil (2 tsp), and a splash of water (1-2 TBSP).
Note: Despite being an enormous ketchup aficionado, this burger really does not need ketchup. Before eating, I prepared myself to get over the lack of ketchup, but instead was pleased that everything was actually quite yummy without. Although things would not have been worse had there been ketchup involved…