meta name="p:domain_verify" content="8b08da541f8a920e6 Marie Z Johnston: Marche d'Aligre and a Mango Salsa recipe

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Marche d'Aligre and a Mango Salsa recipe

There are some markets that call to your spirit like a wild jungle beat - Marche d'Aligre is one such place. Situated in the lively 12th arrondisement, it is one of the oldest markets in Paris.  My love affair with this market and it's neighborhood began last summer.  It's high time I shared it with you...

Approaching the Marché via the Rue d'Aligre

The Aligrée is a rambling market centered on the Place d'Aligrée and covering several blocks. Anchored by the Marché Beauvau (a large stone building dating back to 1779) the stalls stretch out on the Rue d'Aligré in several directions.

Lining the street, on either side of the stalls, are small shops offering middle eastern groceries, halal meats and hand made pasteries

The scent of this rotisserie chicken was out of this world

Produce sold on the streets, and the many stalls, varies from the typically French to the exotic, from Asian to North African with Organics tossed in for good measure. Tuesday through Sunday crowds of shoppers are thick and the vendors call out, enticing passers by with samples of the best they have to offer that day.
Notice the prices...
Prices here have no relationship to those at my regular neighborhood marchés (Grenelle and St. Charles) so I like load up on the 'exotic' and abundant variety (as in PILES of cilantro, mint, Serrano peppers, limes, fresh litchi, cardoons, asparagus and purple artichokes) of inexpensive seasonal produce.

The avocados and mangoes calling out
This market even has something special for non cooks. Just beyond the produce on the little square is a flea market, albeit small, it is true to the term. There are stands full of junk piled high with treasures and great finds if you're willing to get your hands a little dirty sifting through the boxes of odds and ends.

He's looking for a pair of gloves
Looking for large linen napkins, silver soup spoons or kitchy postcards?  Need a fur coat / sweater / hat / pair of shoes?  Among the racks and mounds of both the 'new' and vintage, you are sure to find something to take home.

A hipsters dream come true - vintage 1970, like new
The streets immediately surrounding the Marché have some of my favorite places we seem to allways need to visit:  Le Square Trousseau - a neighborhood bistro with a simple menu,  friendly service and a killer bowl of chocolate mousse that (they say) serves four.

Le Blé Sucré (where we go for dessert if we haven't succumbed to the bowl of chocolate mousse at LST) which in addition to 'the best Madelaines in Paris' also offers excellent breads, and in my daughter's opinion, the best lemon tarte 'on the planet'.

Made fresh daily, when they're gone - they're gone!
Le Barron Rouge features quaffable regional wines sold by the glass and the liter (for consuming there or to take away) for a few euros, regional charcuterie to go with the wines, and, in the 'R' months, really good oysters (on Sundays only - several hundrend dozen a day I've been told) 

2 dz freshly shucked oysters and a 1/2 bottle of Tourraine set us back 20E
A great meal can also be found at La Gazzetta. They are closed on Sundays, so keep that in mind if you're hankering for some of Chef Petter Nilsson's inventive fare.

Light as air boudin with pistachios, fresh tarragon and toasted 'crumbs' for extra crunch
Because 'exotic' ingredients are readily available in large quantity, at a good price and a quality level not usually found at other markets, it's easy to shop at Aligre with an Asian or tropical recipe in mind. 

The makings of something delicious
This recipe is an adaptation of a wonderful 'dip' my friend Randy Diaz brought to a pot luck last year. I have been unable to do without it since:

Mango and Avocado Salsa with cilantro & mint

Fresh Mango and Avocado Salsa 


3 ripe Mangoes
1 ripe Avocado
1/2 Cucumber - seeded
1 medium red onion (about 3/4 cup)
1 bunch Mint - washed, dried and stemmed
1 bunch Cilantro - washed, dried and stemmed
Juice from 1 lime and 1 lemon
1/2 cup Sriracha hot sauce **
1/4 cup light fish sauce ***

Peel the mangoes, avacado and cucumber (tho the cucumber skin can be nice sometimes)
Chop and put in a bowl
Finely chop the red onion, mint and cilantro
Add to mango mix
Add Siracha, fish sauce, lemon and lime juice

Toss well, adjust seasoning to taste, (If you like heat, add either more Sriracha or a finely difed Serano chile) reduce the Sriracha for a milder salsa.

Serve this dip with Krupuc (oddly enough these 'shrimp chips' are readily available at all Monoprix - and their tiny offspring, Monop - for less than 1 Euro a bag) or slightly warmed and liberally spooned over grilled salmon, halibut or chicken breast.
Try it.  You'll like it!

A Bientot,
Marie Z

NOTE:  If you will be visiting Paris and are curious but not quite ready to jump into the Aligrée mix on your own, let me be your guide.    Just ask:

**  Sriracha is a Thai sauce commonly used as a condiment on Pho or as a dipping sauce.  Being from Los Angeles, I am particularly fond of Rooster brand Sriracha, though I am told it is very different from the original style.
***  Fish Sauce comes in both light and dark, the flavors are far more intense with the dark version.  These can both be found at the Chinese grocery store just beyond the flea market on Place d'Aligre.


jens at cincinnati wine said...

Wish I was there right now. Nice article combining all the elements of the market, the local bistros and a recipe.

bl8ant's blog said...

I really love your recipes too Zabie ♡

thank you!