There were 8 of them, but combined they weighed only about 13 or 14 ounces, which is even less than I sometimes buy for the two of us. Because they were tiny and thin, they took up a lot of the surface area of even a large pan. I didn’t have room on the stove top for another, so they ended up crowded; this is not ideal on any count, including the processes of turning them over and of removing them from the pan when they were done.
As a result, they ended up looking a bit disheveled on the plate, but they were delicious.
It seems that the cauliflower liked it, since it decided to imitate the appearance of the sole, and it too was delicious.
- eight very small grey sole fillets from P.E. & D.D. Seafood, a total of 13 or 14 ounces, dried thoroughly, salted on both sides and brushed with a little good Italian white wine vinegar, sautéed over a medium-high flame inside an enameled cast iron pan in 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil, turning once, the fillets removed, the pan wiped with a paper towel, 2 tablespoons of Organic Valley ‘Cultured Pasture Butter’, 2 tablespoons of juice from an organic Whole Foods Market lemon, and and a loose handful of pea greens from Windfall Farms, allowed to warm inside of it for a minute or so, either over a low flame or none at all, before the sauce was drizzled onto the sole
- one 15-ounce head of white cauliflower from Alewife Farm, separated into florets and par-boiled in salted water for 2 minutes, drained and set aside while 2 finely-chopped Keith’s Farm rocambole garlic cloves were heated in 2 tablespoons of olive oil inside a large enameled cast iron skillet until pungent and beginning to soften, then 2 salted Sicilian anchovies, rinsed and filleted, added and stirred briefly until ‘melted’, the reserved cauliflower, and the more tender leaves (which had not been blanched) thrown in, along with a decent bit of peperoncino Calabresi secchia from Buon Italia, and sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, everything stirred together and cooked until the cauliflower softened (in this instance, very quickly), served with chopped parsley from Keith’s Farm
- the wine was a California (Sonoma) white, ROX Scott Peterson Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2017, from Naked Wines
Color has returned to the table, especially in this appetizer.
- a couple handfuls of delicious, very juicy ripe shishito peppers (normally sold before they are mature, and still green in color, they move toward orange and then red as they mature) from Berried Treasures Farm, washed, drained, dried, then sautéed over medium high heat in a seasoned 13.5″ cast iron pan for a few minutes, stirring, until they had blistered nicely, then seasoned with Maldon salt
- slices of a farmer-ground half white and half whole wheat She Wolf Bakery miche, to help soothe the impact of the hotter of the peppers
The main course was also simple enough, but also no less exciting for being so, and it was pretty easy to assemble.
- one 11-ounce steak (a cut called ‘culotte’ here, ‘coulotte’ in France, ‘picanha’ in Brazil), from Sun Fed Beef/Maple Avenue Farms in their stall at Saturday’s Chelsea’s Down to Earth Farmers Market, just down the block from us, brought to room temperature, cut into 2 pieces, seasoned on all sides with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, seared for less than a minute on the top, or thick, fat-covered side inside an oval enameled heavy cast iron pan, the 2 long sides cooked for 3 or 4 minutes each, then the ends and the narrow bottom side seared, each very briefly, removed from the pan at the moment they had become perfectly medium-rare, arranged on 2 warm plates, each topped with a pat of defrosted ramp butter made last April using some small, first-of-the-season woodland ramps from Lucky Dog Organic Farm, a bit of juice from an organic lemon from Whole Foods Market, and some Organic Valley ‘Cultured Pasture Butter’, the steaks then allowed to rest for about 4 minutes before being served
- just under a pound of Japanese sweet potatoes, from Lani’s Farm, left unpeeled but washed thoroughly, cut as for short french fries, tossed inside a bowl with olive oil, sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, 3 large unpeeled cloves of rocambole garlic from Keith’s Farm, and a pinch or two of crushed dried habanada pepper, roasted in a 425º oven in a large much-treasured very-well-seasoned Pampered Chef unglazed ceramic oven pan for about 35 minutes, or until crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and a little chewy on the edges, some Maldon salt thrown onto the pan after it was removed from the oven, the frites arranged on the plates with some sunflower greens from Windfall Farms arranged at their side
- the wine was a California (Lodi) red, Karen Birmingham Reserve Zinfandel Lodi 2015, from Naked Wines
[image of boy with horn, uncredited there, is from BBC radio]
Maybe it’s just the season, but without intending it, lately I seem to be coming up with almost monochromatic meals. Sometimes I don’t realize this until I’ve snapped the picture, and then of course it’s too late.
Especially before I added a rasher of bacon, the breakfast/lunch I put on the table today, while not quite limited to a single color, certainly didn’t look as parti-colored as the ones we enjoyed this summer.
Fortunately neither the eggs nor the ‘ham’ were actually green.
- the ingredients of the meal were, eggs from pastured [green] Americauna chickens and thick bacon from pastured pigs, both products of Millport Dairy Farm; local (regional) Organic Valley ‘Cultured Pasture Butter’ from Whole Foods Market; finely-chopped pieces of a green scallion from Stokes Farm, chopped sections form one Berried Treasures green garlic scape, and a fresh green aji rico pepper from Eckerton Hill Farm; Maldon salt; freshly-ground black pepper; a pinch or so of a dry seasoning (not green) called L’ekama from Ron & Leetal Arazi’s New York Shuk; chopped green dill from Stokes Farm; and pieces cut from an organic multigrain baguette from Bread Alone, and not toasted, that, surprisingly, had survived for several days without turning green after its purchase in the Union Square Greenmarket on Friday
- the music was Handel’s ‘Music for Queen Caroline’, William Christie directing the Choir and Orchestra of Les Arts Florissants, after which we listened to the incredibly gorgeous, ethereal, ‘Missa Videte miraculum’ of Nicholas Ludford (c. 1485-c. 1557), a little-known composer of the English renaissance (with works of Tudor polyphony) who grew up during the reign of Henry VII and died on the cusp the Elizabethan age
[the second image, a cartoon used to advertise the Dr. Seuss TV series adaptation, is from Netflix]
I now prefer cooking bass in a pan, using a more minimal approach, to let more of the goodness of the fresh fish shine, and subjecting it to high heat on top of the stove, to produce the crispy skin usually associated with professional chefs, but last night I needed to work quickly and with no stress, so I returned to the oven.
- two striped Bass fillets (about 7 ounces each) from Catherine at the Seatuck Seafood Company’s stand in the Union Square Greenmarket, each scored with several very shallow slashes on the skin side, to prevent curling, placed inside a glazed ceramic oven pan skin side down, scattered with a little chopped thyme from Keith’s Farm and oregano from Stokes Farm, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, a light sprinkling of some homemade dry bread crumbs, and drizzled with a little olive oil, placed in a 425º oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until cooked through, the fillets removed from the pan, arranged on 2 warm plates, a little juice from an organic Whole Foods Market lemon squeezed over the top
- eight small satina potatoes (like carola, with yellow skin and yellow flesh) from Keith’s Farm, scrubbed, boiled unpeeled in heavily-salted water until barely cooked through, drained, halved, dried in the still-warm vintage Corning Pyrex Flameware blue-glass pot in which they had cooked, tossed with a tablespoon or more of rich some rich Organic Valley ‘Cultured Pasture Butter’, sprinkled with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, garnished with micro chervil from Two Guys from Woodbridge
- late-season cavolo nero [what originally appeared to be only a small stash of loose leaves and small bunches, from Tamarack Hollow Farm, but ended up as a generous vegetable side, because I was careful not to let it reduce too much] wilted briefly inside a heavy antique medium size tin-lined copper pot in a tablespoon or so of olive oil after one halved rocambole garlic clove from Keith’s Farm had first been heated there until fragrant and softened, the greens seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper and drizzled with a little more oil
- the wine was a California ( ) white, Jac Cole Unoaked Chardonnay Alexander Valley 2017, from Naked wines
- the music was Haydn’s’ 1779, ‘L’isola Disabitata’, another 18th-century opera with a fantasy island setting (and Haydn once went to the moon with one), Antal Doráti conducting the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra
The meal was much, much more exciting than this image might suggest.
The first time I prepared this little feast the image benefited from a little more color, but this time I arranged the vegetable in separate shallow bowls (in the picture immediately above this paragraph, and at the very top left of the picture above it). I was afraid the purple juices from the braised purple kale would flood the couscous, but in the end, since there was almost no liquid remaining by the time I served the vegetable, I needn’t have worried.
- two small rosemary branches from Alewife Farm that had first been bruised with the flat side of a heavy knife added to 2 tablespoons of Organic Valley ‘Cultured Pasture Butter’ that had been melted inside a vintage medium-size heavy tin-lined copper pot, followed by 2 finely-chopped Rocambole garlic cloves from Keith’s Farm, a pinch or more of dried pepperoncino Calabresi secchi from Buon Italia and half of a fresh habanada pepper from Oak Grove Plantation, then cooked for one minute, stirring, after which one third of a cup of white wine (an inexpensive 2017 Chilean white, Choroy, a blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc from the Maule Valley) was added and the heat increased to medium-high, the liquid simmered until it had reduced by half (2 minutes or so), then three quarters of a cup of hand-rolled Canaan, Palestine, Maftoul “Organic and Fair”, similar to Moroccan couscous, made in women-owned cooperatives in the West Bank, organic and Fair Trade, boiled earlier for 3 minutes in a few quarts of salted water and drained, stirred into the pot with 2 or 3 teaspoons of rinsed and drained salted Sicilian capers and a third of a teaspoon of sea salt, cooked for a minute or so, the rosemary branches removed (I forgot to remove them), a teaspoon of organic lemon juice from Whole Foods Market added, the couscous spread onto 2 plates, each topped with a dozen bay scallops, prepared separately as described below [I found the basic recipe here; it was created by Melissa Clark, but I’ve altered it slightly]
- two dozen bay scallops from Pura Vida Seafood Company, washed and patted dry, rolled in a local whole wheat flour from the Blew family of Oak Grove Mills I regularly obtain in the Union Square Greenmarket, that had been seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, added to a large tin-lined heavy copper skillet in which a tablespoon or so of chopped garlic scapes from Berried Treasures Farm had been briefly sautéed in a tablespoon or more of butter until pungent and slightly softened, the scallops left in the pan for about a minute and a half while being tossed about once or twice, or until they had browned lightly, then placed on top of the 2 plates of cooked maftoul and garnished with chopped lovage from Two Guys from Woodbridge [I should have added more than I did]
- redbor kale (or winterbor kale), finely-curled and a striking dark purple-red in color, from Alewife Farm, wilted with olive oil in which thinly-sliced rocambole garlic from Keith’s Farm had been allowed to heat until pungent, seasoned with sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and a drizzle of fresh olive oil [the kale barely appears at the top left of the picture at the top, inside a low black non-vintage, and non-radioactive Fiestaware bowl
- the wine was a California (Sonoma) white, Ferrari Carano Fumé Blanc (Sauvignon Blanc) 2017, from Philippe Wines
- the music was Mozart’s 1791 opera seria, ‘La Clemenza di Tito’, Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducting the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the RIAS Kammerchor