ichel Albin bills himself as a "createur de la veritable Roustide Provençal":

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His stand, located in the center of the marché, is usually lined with customers 3 - 4 deep, waiting to buy his specialty --"roustide provençal". In English, we call them "pizza baguettes" because they're made from thin baguettes, which are sliced into 12" sections lengthwise and then crosswise into 2 halves. Each tranche is topped with typical provençal ingredients, liberally doused with a light French olive oil, sprinkled with herbes de Provence and baked just long enough to bring the ingredients together. Mr. Albin assembles the "roustide" in his shop in Flayosc near Draguignan and brings them to the marché fully cooked.

He typically has about a dozen varieties for sale, labeled by their main ingredient:

Bacon (lardon)
Peppers (poivrons)
Eggplant (aubergine)
Anchovy and onion (anchois et onions)
Seafood (fruits de mer)
Tuna and pickles (thon et cornichon)
Ham and mushroom (jambon et champignon)
Chard and pine nuts (blette et pignon)
Mushroom (champignon)
Blue cheese (roquefort)
Goat cheese (chêvre).

aubergi.jpg (20480 bytes)
athome.jpg (19419 bytes) You can buy the pieces heated in a small oven at the marché to eat on the spot as a quick shopping snack or you can buy them cold to be reheated at home. We cut them into 1" size pieces to eat as hors d'oeuvres with a chilled glass of champagne.

We've tried making "roustide provençal" at home in San Francisco. We can't duplicate the texture of Mr. Albin's original and we can't convince him to give us the recipe! He'll only divulge that he uses a "special sauce" that keeps the baguette moist and tender. We'll keep trying...

Mr. Albin makes other famous provençal specialties, including small stuffed provençal vegetables (tomatoes, zucchini, onions and mushroom caps) that sell like hot cakes! We use them as a simple summer supper after a day at the beach.

He also makes typical provençal sweets, including the famous Tarte Tropézienne, invented by the Polish baker Alexandre Micka who settled in St.-Tropez after World War II. It's a simple brioche cake cut in half and filled with a vanilla-flavored buttery crème patisserie. Today, fresh raspberries, strawberries or fraises des bois are added between the layers for a luxurious treat. (We plan to post a recipe based on Monsieur Micka's original very soon. Check here again in a few weeks.)

Made in San Francisco based on Mr. Micka's recipe


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