I didn’t know what I was going to put into this dish until it was almost finished. That made it a little stressful, but probably good practice, although I don’t know for what.
It ended up a sweet combination, thanks to the fresh vegetables and the herb. I’m keeping the recipe, so there will be less improvisation next time.
- garlic scapes from from Willow Wisp Farm, cut into roughly 1-inch lengths, sautéed until beginning to get soft in a large enameled pot, before a little dried Itria-Sirissi chili (peperoncino di Sardegna intero) and a small bulb of fennel from Tamarack Hollow Farm,pan-grilled, was added, followed by 8 ounces of Afeltra spaghetti chitarra, cooked al dente, and large cut pieces of several heirloom tomatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, the mix stirred over a low flame with some of the reserved cooking liquid until the latter had emulsified, then tossed with a handful of stemmed budding oregano from Stokes Farm, served in shallow bowls and sprinkled with more of the oregano
- the wine was an Italian (Sicily) red, Zanovello Grillo 2014 Zollasolare (the link goes ot the producer’s site, but describes an earlier vintage)
- the music was the album, ‘Granada 1013-1502’, with Jordi Savall and Hespèrion XXI
Neither of us has ever been to Sicily, but we often visit the ancient island at dinner, both the food and the wine.
I’m not sure whether it’s the very interesting choices of unfamiliar wines or the cosmopolitan Mediterranean food culture that is the operative factor in arranging these meals, but we try to include both together.
For this one I elaborated on a preparation for swordfish which I had used several times before. Even while doing so however I was thinking that maybe I was going too far. I needn’t have worried, as the dish turned out very fine.
I had copied the very simple recipe from Kyle Phillips a number of years ago; I hope he wouldn’t have minded the liberties I took.
As for the cauliflower, I didn’t want to use the oven, so I turned to a recipe I had worked with before. I did make some adjustments, both from necessity and perversity. It too was a great success.
- one 12 or 13-ounce swordfish steak from Blue Moon Fish, in the Union Square Greenmarket, carefully cut into 2 portions, marinated for about half hour in a mixture of olive oil, a very small amount of dried Itria-Sirissi chili, peperoncino di Sardegna intero from Buon Italia, fresh oregano buds and leaves from Stokes Farm, and some finely-chopped red scallion from Paffenroth Gardens, after which it was drained well and covered with a coating of dried homemade bread crumbs, then pan-grilled over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, removed, seasoned with salt, sprinkled with a little organic lemon juice from Whole Foods, a pinch of wild fennel pollen from Buon Italia, a little more red scallion, very finely sliced, sprinkled with micro beet greens from Two Guys from Woodbridge, and drizzled with olive oil before serving
- flowerets of a ten-ounce white cauliflower from Sycamore Farms, sautéed in a pan in which fresh sliced organic garlic cloves from Whole Foods, some crushed dried Itria-Sirissi chili from Buon Italia, and more than a teaspoon of fennel seeds had been heated, the mix braised for a few minutes, eventually joined by 5 ounces of Maine cherry ‘cocktail’ tomatoes from Whole Foods, halved and seeded, and finished by stirring in sprigs and leaves of fresh spearmint from Lani’s Farm [I forgot to add the tomatoes until almost the very end, but I think I prefer the result over the suggestion in the original recipe, which appears here]
- the wine was an awesome Italian (Sicily) white, Feudo Montoni del Principato di Villanova Catarratto del Masso 2015 [the link is to the 2104 vintage], from a sale of Sicilian wines at Astor Wines
- the music was Jean-Philippe Rameau’s ‘Hippolyte Et Aricie’, performed by William Christie and Les Arts Florissants
Looking for an unfamiliar pasta to accompany a few special ingredients, I remembered I had a package of croxetti in the larder. At least as I’ve prepared it in the past, it has, unaccountably, always suggested to me a certain lightness, which was also what I was looking for that night.
The sauce ingredients included some Colameco’s pancetta, very fresh red scallions, an organic lemon, good olive oil, a package of purple micro basil, and an excellent Parmesan cheese.
It was mostly about assembly.
- the process involved about 10 ounces of a package of Genovese Alta Valle Scrivia Croxetti from Eataly, followed the basic outline of this simple Epicurious recipe (although with some alternative ingredients, cooking everything for a much shorter time, and simply draining the pasta as I normally do); the other elements, and their sources, were a 4-ounce package of Colameco’s uncured diced Pancetta from Whole Foods, red spring scallions from Hawthorne Valley Farm, juice from an organic lemon form Whole Foods, micro basil from Two Guys from Woodbridge, and Parmesan cheese from Buon Italia
- the wine was an Italian (Tuscany) rosé, Il Rosé di Casanova La Spinetta 2015
- the music was Q2 streaming, very mellow, all evening
It’s strange that neither of us remembered that porgy was not unlike mackerel in its slight oiliness, but more like mackerel light, and I mean that as a compliment.
The entire entrée was as delicious as it was colorful.
- four 2 1/2-ounce Porgy fillets from P.E. & D.D. Seafood, dried, seasoned with salt and pepper, pan-seared along with two thinly-sliced red spring onion scallions from Hawthorne Valley Farm over medium heat inside an oval copper pan in a bit of butter and a little olive oil, the fish basted, using a small brush, with the the scallion butter and oil for about 2 minutes, more or less continually, then turned over, the heat reduced to low, a cover (aluminum foil) placed on the pan and the filets cooked for about another minute before the cover was removed and 2 or 3 tablespoons of mixed fresh herbs thrown in (I used parsley, lovage, garlic chives, thyme, and chervil this time), after which the basting continued for about another minute, or until the fish was cooked through (the recipe was slightly modified from one written by Melissa Clark)
- organic yellow flat pole beans, or Romano beans, from Norwich Meadows Farm, parboiled, drained, dried by tossing over heat inside the emptied pot in which they were cooked, later reheated in a cast iron pan in a little olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and finished with micro basil from Two Guys from Woodbridge
- a rich and deeply-colored ensemble of wilted ‘reds’ (and a few greens), which began with one sliced young red onion from Bodhitree Farm softened in a large cast-iron enameled pot, then several handfuls of purple amaranth from Tamarack Hollow Farm added and heated until wilted, torn leaves of radicchio from Hawthorne Valley Farm stirred in, and finally a handful or more of arugula from Hawthorne Valley Farm, seasoned with some dried Itria-Sirissi chili, peperoncino di Sardegna intero from Buon Italia, and some Balsamic vinegar
I now know that I can whip up a great tri-tip steak without turning the oven on. I had chosen these beautiful cuts at Dickson Farm Stand Meats before remembering, once I was home, that I had always used a very hot oven to finish their cooking. This was an important issue on a warm muggy evening, even if we did have the air conditioner cranked up in the room where wee would be eating.
I tried just pan-grilling them, and they were wonderful. Tri-tips are now not just a winter thing.
- two 5 or 6-ounce Tri-tip steaks from Dickson Farmstand Meats, dried, seasoned with freshly-ground black pepper, pan-grilled for a few minutes, turning twice, sprinkling them with sea salt the first and second times, removed to the plates, a little organic lemon squeezed on top, sprinkled with chopped lovage from Keith’s Farm, and drizzled with olive oil
- rainbow chard from Alewife Farm, sautéed in olive oil in which some halved garlic cloves from Whole Foods had been heated, finished with a squeeze of juice from an organic lemon, some crushed dried Itria-Sirissi chili, and a drizzle of olive oil
- a low bow, on the side of the plates, with pieces of one large chopped Striped German heirloom tomato from Toigo Orchards which had been allowed to sit for 20 minutes or so with a mix of scissored garlic chives from Lani’s Farm, salt, pepper, chopped stemmed flowering chervil from Willow Wisp Farm, chopped thyme from Stokes Farm, Thai basil from Norwich Meadows Farm, and a bit of balsamic vinegar