I was nattering with the mongers and wasn’t thinking much about the quantity of fish being drawn from the low tub nestled in the ice. I ended up with a pound of fish, a little more than I would normally buy, but the flounder was so terrific that both of us were very happy the number was a little generous.
The vegetable was equally delicious, an especially sweet and tender batch of young collards from some of my favorite farmers.
- six flounder fillets (exactly one pound) from P.E. & D.D. Seafood, seasoned with salt and pepper on both sides, coated lightly with well-seasoned flour (I used North Country Farms Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour), then submerged in a shallow bowl containing a mixture of one egg from Millport Dairy, a little whole milk, and a pinch of salt, allowed to stay submerged until the vegetable had been cooked and the remaining ingredients for the fish prepared, then removed from the bowl, placed inside a heavy enameled cast iron pan with 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil, on top of some chopped fresh oregano from Stokes Farm, a small amount of crushed, dark, dried heatless Habanada pepper acquired fresh from Norwich Meadows Farm, and some chopped scallions (with their green sections), fried over a brisk flame until golden, barely two minutes for each side, removed and arranged on the plates, 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of organic lemon juice added to the pan, along with a little salt and pepper, cooked over low heat for less than a minute, stirring, before being poured over the fillets, and a small amount of ‘Bull’s Blood micro beet’ from Windfall Farms scattered over the top
- three quarters of a pound of loose young collard greens from Race Farm, stemmed, cut in a very rough chiffonade, then braised in a heavy pot in which crushed garlic from S. & S.O. Produce Farms had been allowed to sweat with some olive oil, the dish finished with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil
- the wine was a California (Napa Valley) white, Matt Iaconis Chardonnay Napa Valley 2015, from Naked Wines
- the music was the album, ‘An Enchanted Being – Music Of Ileana Pérez Velazquez‘, the choice being a response to our having just finished watching Steven Soderbergh’s ‘The Argentine’, the very topical first half (the second being, ‘Guerrilla’), of the political epic duology, ‘Che’, and it had moved us profoundly; we did not want to leave yet
I’ve been working with the same very simple recipe for years, but this was probably the richest, and even the most colorful version yet.
I have no idea why. The only real changes last night were, one, that the meat came from a Pennsylvania Deutsch [sic] farm I’ve come to respect hugely for all of its produce, but which I’ve never seen offer this fresh pork chops. They were delicious. The second novelty, an a happy circumstance, may have been my ability to use, as the other major ingredient to the recipe, a very sweet local lemon grown by David Tifford of Fantastic Gardens of Long Island.
There was also the fact that I included one of the last fresh habanada peppers of the summer, and it clearly made a taste (and visual) impact, but this wasn’t the first time I had included one in this recipe.
The potatoes were no less delicious, and I imagine that was at least partly because of the appearance of more of that heatless, bright floral pepper, but in a very different guise.
- two fresh 11-ounce pork chops from Millport Dairy Farm, thoroughly dried, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, seared quickly on both sides inside a very hot, heavy enameled cast-iron pan, one small, fresh floral-scented heatless orange habanada pepper from Norwich Meadows Farm, chopped, scattered on the top surfaces before half of a sweet local lemon from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island was squeezed over them, after which the lemon was left on the surface of the pan between the chops, which was then placed in a 425º oven for about 14 minutes (flipped halfway through, the pepper pieces repositioned on the surfaces, the lemon squeezed over the top once again and once again replaced in the pan), the finished chops removed from the oven and arranged on 2 plates, some ‘Bull’s Blood micro beet’ from Windfall Farms arranged at one end, some of the pan juices (a far more generous amount had accumulated than ever before, largely, I imagine, because of the juiciness of the lemon) poured over the top of the chops, the remainder poured into a sauce boat for use at the table
- I added a small amount of my homemade quince chutney to the plates after the photograph above was taken; it was as wonderful as it had been in several recent meals, but it’s sweetness really wasn’t really necessary for this one
- wonderful nutty fingerling potatoes from a friend’s garden, ‘Lower Hayfields’, in Garrison, New York, halved, tossed with a little olive oil, chopped fresh rosemary and sage, both from Phillips Farm, a small amount of crushed, dark, dried heatless Habanada pepper, acquired fresh from Norwich Meadows Farm, sea salt, and freshly-ground pepper, spread, cut side down, onto a large Pampered Chef unglazed ceramic pan, roasted at about 400-425º [ideally 375º, but the pork required 425º] for maybe 15 minutes, or until the potatoes were both tender and slightly browned
- the wine was a California (Sonoma) white, Scott Peterson Rumpus California Sauvignon Blanc 2015, from Naked Wines
- the music was André Campra’s 1712 opera, ‘Idoménée’, William Christie conducting Les Arts Florissants
I went easy on the trimmings for this latest breakfast/lunch, at least compared to some of my more recent approaches.
- there were 6 eggs plus 4 slices of thick bacon from Millport Dairy Farm; toast from a loaf of French sourdough Levain from Bread Alone; arugula from Lani’s Farm, dressed with a good olive oil, maldon salt, freshly-ground pepper and a few drops of white balsamic vinegar; chopped scallions from Norwich Meadows Farm; a mix of several chopped herbs already on hand; more Maldon salt; more freshly-ground black pepper; a bit of a crushed heatless, orange Habanada pepper from Norwich Meadows Farm which I had dried, dark, and nearly carbonized last month; and, on the side, a small jar of L’eKama, and another containing some very-finely-chopped, very hot, tiny fresh pepper from Eckerton Hill Farm that I had infused in a little olive oil
- the music was a somewhat [jolly?] early (1836) Wagner operetta [sic], ‘Das Liebesverbot’, Robert Heger directing the Austrian Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Austrian Radio Chorus, with Heinz Imdahl, Willy Friedrich, Kurt Equiluz, Anton Dermota, Christiane Sorell, Ludwig Welter, Hilde Zadek, et al., being streamed by Yle Klassinen [from the album notes: “..the premiere was a catastrophe and the second performance was canceled when only three people showed up and some of the cast began punching one other.” (so happy he wasn’t discouraged)]
This dinner was pretty simple, very straightforward, both for the ingredients and, at least for me, their treatment.
The second thing I think worth mentioning is the fact that that this does not look like a December meal: Everything on that table that is fresh (fish, vegetables, herbs, fruit, cheeses [actually, only 3 of the 4], and the bread) came from local farmers trading in the Union Square Greenmarket during the last few days. Only the salt, pepper, olive oil, fennel seeds, dried pepper, and the wine (out of the picture) were not local.
Even the wine we chose might be considered out of such with the season: It was a rosé, one which we have enjoyed a number of times, although normally in warmer months than this one.
- one 12-ounce tuna steak from American Seafood at Chelsea’s ‘Down to Earth Farmers Market’ (one block west of us on 23rd Street), cut into 2 pieces, tops and bottoms rubbed with a mixture of a tablespoon of dry Italian fennel seed and a little crushed dried Itria-Sirissi chilis (peperoncino di Sardegna intero) from Buon Italia, the two having been ground together with mortar and pestle, the surfaces of the tuna additionally seasoned with salt and pepper before they were pan-grilled for only a little more than a minute or so on each side and finished with both a good squeeze of the juice of some tiny local lemons from Fantastic Gardens of New Jersey and a drizzle of olive oil
- ten or 12 cherry tomatoes from Alex’s Tomato Farm, in Carlisle, NY, purchased that day at Chelsea’s ‘Down to Earth Farmers Market’, halved, rolled in a little olive oiol above a low flame, seasoned with salt and pepper, arranged on the plates next to the tuna and sprinkled with leaves removed from a Full Bloom Market Garden basil plant from Whole Foods, torn
- flat green pole beans from Norwich Meadows Farm, blanched, drained and dried, then reheated in a heavy cast iron pan with olive oil in which 3 chopped thin scallions from Norwich Meadows Farm had first been softened over a low flame, then finished with salt, pepper, and chopped winter savory from Stokes Farm
There was a cheese course.
- the cheeses were, from left to right in the picture, ‘Herve Mons’ Ovalie Cendrée (Poitou-Charentes) goat cheese from Whole Foods; Consider Bardwell Farm’s ‘Reconsider’, which is a one-time event: a cow cheese finished in their ‘Manchester’ goat cheese cave; Consider Bardwell Farm’s ‘Dorset’ cow cheese; and a yet-untitled Consider Bardwell blue goat cheese
- thin toasts from a French sourdough Levain from Bread Alone
Most of these things are some of my favorite things. I’m familiar with the fish, the olives, the peppers, the seasonings, the herbs, the lemon, and the micro beets, but before yesterday I had never touched a cardoon stalk. Now I can imagine Cynara cardunculus ending up joining them.
I’ll be looking for this uncommon Mediterranean vegetable on my next visits to the Greenmarket, since I’ve now assembled a small library of recipes I’d like to try out.
For several years I’ve been enjoying local citrus fruit from David Tifford’s greenhouse at Fantastic Gardens of Long Island, but I don’t think I’ve ever published an image of them; this is what the modest display looked like on Friday at the Union Square Greenmarket.
- two 7 1/2-ounce Tautog or Blackfish fillets, prepared mostly as described in this recipe by Melissa Clark, but substituting cayenne pepper and Spanish paprika (dolce) for the Aleppo Syrian red pepper it specified. I also used Gaeta olives rather than the kalamata Clark mentioned, and I added one chopped habanada pepper when I was adding the olives; the fish was from Pura Vida Seafood, the fresh sage was from Phillips Farm, the olives from Buon Italia, the juice from local lemons (2 kinds) from David at Fantastic Gardens of Long Island, the ‘Bull’s Blood micro beet’ from Windfall Farm (this time I placed it at the side of the plate rather than on top of the fish)
- one stalk of cardoons from Norwich Meadows Farm, prepared mostly in the manner described on this site, drained after they had been parboiled, cold water over them, drained again and dried on paper towels, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-crushed black pepper, brushed on both sides with a little olive oil, and arranged on a medium unglazed seasoned ceramic oven pan (Pampered Chef), placed in a 425º oven for about half an hour, sprinkling with 3 chopped small scallions from Norwich Meadows Farm near the end of their cooking, removed when they had begun to caramelize [I had used too much olive oil which inhibited their ability to do so), served with a sprinkling of chopped parsley, also from Norwich Meadows Farm