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Languedoc Notebook - March

“Occupes toi de tes oignons “ 

This is a saying form the south of France meaning" mind your own business". It translates as “look after your onions" and in the village of Lézignan-la-Cebe, near Pezenas they are certainly doing this. 

Onions are the most used vegetable worldwide with more than 4 million tonnes produced on average every year. India is the biggest producer with France not even making it in the first twenty, so what is so special about this onion from Languedoc-Roussillon?

 Well to start, they have been producing onions there since the 17th century and have created an onion that is now an AOC and in my opinion it is 'the caviar of the onion world'. You will find it in the local markets from spring to the end of the summer. It does not keep very long due to its water content and does not travel very well so if you happen to be travelling in this part of the world bring back a few kilos!

You will quickly recognise it; with a white skin, and flat shape, it varies in size and can reach 2kg. Best of all though is its unique sweetness; you can bite into it just as you would an apple.  I am looking forward to going home in the summer as one of my favourite dishes is the onion, potato and egg salad my mum prepares with a light olive oil dressing; one of life's simple pleasures.It also can be cooked of course and it takes the famous Pissaladiere to a higher level. Alternatively, roast it and serve warm with some goats' cheese and you will have a very tasty starter.

Next month I will give you a recipe for it with another product of the Languedoc terroir, the well kept secret of the Chickpea from Carlencas..... "À bientôt"

 Jean- Michel Gauffre runs La Garrigue at 3 Jeffrey Street



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