Foraging for Herbs in Drome Region

One of my favourite moments from last summer in Grignan was between a busy lunch service and dinner at Cafe Lulu. Chef Romain, Sam and I left the town and drove out to the forest, in the foothills surrounding a neighbouring town. It was a beautiful day, the sun was aridly hot and seemed to be sucking up the moisture from the paths as we walked along. We spent the next couple of hours with our eyes fixed on the ground, searching for wild herbs.

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This is the first thyme plant that I found – too dry from the sun to be used but with some delicate edible flowers for garnish. We stumbled across a few more bushes of wild thyme, and one of wild bay leaves – walking along the edges of the forest greedily, ready with garden shears.

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Later in the day Romain took us to another town where he thought there were herbs. That bush in the back is ALL wild rosemary – which explains the smile.

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Rosemary in the afternoon sunlight, waiting to be turned into something delicious.

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One of my last main courses for Cafe Lulu. I roasted fillets of cod with olive oil, lemon and the bay, thyme, and rosemary which we had foraged from those local forests.

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The potatoes in the south of France are intensely flavourful with earth and sweetness. I simmered new potatoes with handfuls of foraged rosemary and sea salt and served them as-is, with the roasted cod on top. Then, I sautéed asparagus in brown butter and topped the dish with chive hollandaise and a sprinkle of espelette pepper. I love that it was deceivingly simple, but really celebrated the flavours of the individual ingredients and that it was scented with the memory of that foraging trip.

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