Sardine & the purple Orach

Hi! Did you miss me?

The book? No… not finished but I’m almost there… I can see the finish line.
I know, I’ve said “almost” before. But let me tell you, a finish line, is a tricky thing.
I’ll explain: a couple of years back, I was in Brazil in a great yoga/kayak/hiking retreat called the Island Experience and while sea-kayaking with my group, I could see the shore approaching and I kept thinking, “ok, keep going”, “almost there Catherine”, “10 more minutes” but 10 minutes later the shore looked exactly the same and that last stretch took over 1 hour.

For the past month, the book has felt the same. I know I am almost there but “there”, is not as close as I though. So now I try to accept it, I work hard every day hoping the last “hour” is almost over.

I was working on a fish recipe and my sister sent us to her favorite fish store.
“La Gamba”, is a historic spanish owned fish store that has been around 40 years.
I now see (taste) why. I ordered my fish for the book (which was amazing) and then saw these little sardines and my mouth started watering.
Shiny, silver, bright-eyed, beautiful little fish. (Sorry to my Buddhist friends).

Then I went for my usual Wednesday organic market and the wonderful woman from  “l’Archenterre” asked: “vous aimez l’arroche pourpre”? Huh? “mmmh, oui… of course, I’ll take a bunch! “Cook it like spinach” she said “and remove the woody stems”. Of course!

I got home, took photos to share with you and cooked it (blanched it then sautéed it with olive oil and garlic) as a side dish to both the sardines and the fish in my book. By the time I got on the computer to tell you all about it… I forgot the name.

Now what?

Not sure if it existed in the US I started searching in french for things like “purple color leaf cooks like spinach” and there it was: “Arroche Pourpre”

Do not confuse it with swiss chard. Not the same. In english I found it under “Purple Orach” or “Mountain Spinach” see the reference on this site:

The Sardines, I simply grilled for 2 minutes in my “panini grill” and drizzled with lemon juice, olive oil and chopped parsley. M-E-L-T in your mouth delicious. And while one of my cousins is thinking “yuk! hairy fish”, I  promise you, when you can get your hands on sardines that have just been fished, it is a serious treat not to be missed.

Oh and the Purple Orach is yes similar to spinach but oh, so much better! Ask about it and try to find it. It is sweeter yet tangy, delicate but full of flavor.

To end this perfect meal and every meal for as long as they are in season, I ate an entire pint (500grams) of these beauties… I wish this picture was the kind you could “scratch and sniff” or taste off the screen, so I could share with you how amazing they smell and how sweet they are.
Come and visit us and I’ll treat you to a pint of your own.

Hope to hear from you soon and I will be back to share some more.
Kisses, Catherine@SainteCatherine

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Paola says:

    And when you thought it was still a long way off, there you were… Can’t wait to try your recipes!

    1. And I can’t wait to be back with you guys. After my book is done, I could use the Island Experience…
      Hoping for next year.

  2. Elisabeth says:

    Ach, hairy fish, but I’ll take the purple orach any day. Great post. p.s. I am not the cousin she is referring to, but I am of the same blood… and thought!

  3. Vicky Elabd says:

    This looks great, and I have not ever really liked sardines! I’m sure I’d love hours, though…and the strawberries!! They are in season here in Davutlar, Turkey, along with watermelon and huge, juicy peaches! Xoxoxoxo…hope the finish line is getting closer for real!

    1. Merci my Vagabond friend

  4. chri says:

    pour de si belles fraises…sans faute j’arrive demain 🙂

  5. elouy says:

    Congrats on your new cook book chapeau and continued success bravo Catherine!!!

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