Mostly back to the Mediterranean, after a short detour in German lands.
- one pound of rinsed and carefully dried squid bodies and tentacles from American Seafood Company in the Union Square Greenmarket, arranged without touching if possible, inside a large rectangular enameled cast iron pan that had been heated on top of the stove until quite hot and its cooking surface brushed with a thin coating of olive oil, once the oil itself was quite hot, the cephalopods immediately sprinkled with a heaping teaspoon of some super-pungent dried Sicilian oregano from Buon Italia, one small crushed dried pepperoncino calabresi secchi from Buon Italia, one large chopped fresh habanada pepper from from Alewife Farm, some sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, followed by a drizzle of a few tablespoons of Whole Foods Market organic lemon, and some olive oil, the pan placed inside a pre-heated 400º oven and roasted for 5 minutes, removed, the squid distributed onto 2 plates and ladled with a bit of the cooking juices that had been transferred to a glass sauce pitcher
- La Ratte potatoes from Berried Treasures Farm, boiled with a generous amount of salt until barely cooked through, drained, halved, dried while inside the large, still-warm vintage Corning Pyrex Flameware glass pot in which they had cooked, a tablespoon or so of olive oil added, seasoned with Maldon salt, freshly-ground black pepper, tossed with chopped dill from Alex’s Tomato Farm in the Saturday 23rd Street farmers market
- four small San Marzano tomatoes from Quarton Farm, each sliced in half and placed face down on a plate which had been spread with sea salt and pepper, the surface dried somewhat with a paper towel and placed in a hot grill pan and turned once, finished on the plates with a bit of olive oil, a few drops of balsamic vinegar, and the very last leaves, torn, of those that had remained on a basil plant from Two Guys from Woodbridge
- the wine was an Italian (Campania) white, Terredora Falanghina 2017, from Garnet Wines
- the music was a genuine oddity, ‘Les Mystères d’Isis’, an 1801 adaptation, for the Paris opera, of Mozart’s ‘Die Zauberflöte’, by Ludwig Wenzel Lachnith, with a new French text by Étienne Morel de Chédeville
Well, actually it was more than just, “-isch”. It was pretty German, but with Mexican and French touches in the wine and the music.
- four links of Schaller & Weber Bauernwurst (a smokey pork and beef sausage, with pepper, garlic and marjoram), heated inside an oval enameled cast iron pan until the skin had blistered, served with a classic German mustard, Löwensenf Medium (and, not in the picture, a luscious German pepper pickle, Hengstenberg 1876 Red Pepper Steak Sauce, both purchased at the same Schaller & Webber store, which has been located for almost 80 years in what was once the Manhattan German community of Yorkville
- ten or 12 ounces of small sweet and delicious Pinto (or Pinto Gold) potatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, boiled with a good amount of salt in the water only until barely cooked through, drained, halved, dried while inside the large, still-warm vintage Corning Pyrex Flameware glass pot in which they had cooked, a tablespoon or so of butter added, seasoned with a bit of Maldon salt and freshly-ground black pepper, sprinkled with toasted home-made breadcrumbs and garnished with micro red mustard from Two Guys from Woodbridge
- one pale yellow Hungarian pepper from Stokes Farm, cut lengthwise into quarters, and 2 aji dulce peppers (not hot) from Eckerton Hill Farm, the seeds and membranes removed from both, sautéed over a high or medium high flame inside a large, heavy, antique high-sided copper pot until slightly caramelized, one medium fresh habanada pepper from Alewife Farm added near the end, seasoned with sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper and tossed with leaves of a basil plant from Two Guys from Woodbridge, torn, and served with a drizzle of olive oil
- the wine was a California (Napa) red, Macario Montoya‘s Sin Fronteras El Mechon California Red Blend 2017, from Naked Wines
- the music too was, in a way, sin fronteras, since it celebrated an event that “..culminates in a grand procession of the Human Race, dancing and singing in praise of Liberty. [without frontiers]”; it was ‘Le Triomphe de la République ou Le Camp de Grand Pré’, by Francois-Joseph Gossec, performed by I Barocchisti, conducted by Diego Fasolis
It was a night off for the cook, or at least a night when he didn’t have to think much, or juggle a lot of ingredients.
- three ounces of excellent Iowa La Quercia ’Speck Americano’ from Whole Foods, drizzled with a very small amount of a good Campania olive oil (Lamparelli O.R.O.)
- accompanied by a bit of red (wild?) cress from Dave Harris at Max Creek Hatchery, and a few stems of parsley from Alex’s Tomato Farm, the greens seasoned with Maldon salt and a freshly-ground strong black pepper, and dressed with the same oil and a few drops of Cesare Giaccone aceto vino bianco, made from a mixture of white wines from Langhe
- slices of She Wolf Bakery miche
The main course was almost as simple.
- two bruised and halved rocambole garlic cloves from Keith’s Farm and 2 small whole peperoncini Calabresi secchi from Buon Italia, heated inside a large vintage high-sided copper pot in olive oil until both garlic and peppers were pungent, a little sea salt and some freshly-ground pepper added, one sliced red heirloom tomato from Stokes Farm slipped into the pot and stirred in the now quite pungent oil before a 12-ounce package of cooked (for exactly 2 minutes) Rana spinaci e ricotta ravioli from Eataly was introduced into the pan, everything carefully mixed then stirred with most of one cup of reserved pasta water until the liquid had emulsified, transferred to shallow bowls and scattered with torn leaves of a basil plant from Two Guys from Woodbridge
- the wine was an Argentinian (Lujan de Cuyo) rosé,
- the music was Handel’s ‘Hercules, a Musical Drama in Three Acts’ composed in 1744, Marc Minkowski directing Les Musiciens du Louvre
I broke some yolks.
Still, although it’s certainly not related, it turned out to be one of the most delicious versions of my regular Sunday bacon and eggs thing. Maybe I just hit the right combinations in my enthusiasm for adding herbs and spices. The tomatoes however were new, maybe even new to the planet, and incredibly good without much help.
I don’t normally like to make much of what something ‘tastes like’, but these tomatoes shocked me: They tasted a little like fresh sweet corn; go figure.
- the ingredients of this breakfast/lunch included thick pastured-pig bacon and eggs from free-range Americauna chickens, both from Millport Dairy Farm; Mountain Magic tomatoes (‘cocktail tomato’ in size, “..a cross between a large-fruited tomato and a very sweet grape tomato…” released in the current decade) from Norwich Meadows Farm, which were topped with torn leaves of a basil plant from Two Guys from Woodbridge; a bit of crushed peperoncino Calabresi secchia from Buon Italia and sliced Japanese scallion from Norwich Meadows Farm that were tossed into the 13″ seasoned cast iron pan after the bacon and before a little butter was added, prior to frying the eggs, which were seasoned and gingered up with some Maldon salt, freshly-ground very strong black pepper (whose origins I can no longer account for), a pinch of Sicilian wild fennel pollen from Buon Italia, and fresh chopped dill from Alex’s Tomato Farm in the Saturday 23rd Street farmers market; some micro kale from two Guys from Woodbridge as a garnish and as a half-hearted attempt to disguise the broken yolks; lightly toasted slices of 2 different breads, a 12 grain from Bread Alone and a miche from She Wolf Bakery
- the music was a Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s 1698 whatchamacallit, titled, ‘Judicium Salomonis’ (The Judgement of Solomon), and otherwise described as ‘Motet pour une longue offrande‘, a gorgeous work in any event, in a gorgeous performance by William Christie and his Les Arts Florissants