Parslied cod; savory potatoes; garlic/anchovy cauliflower


looks a bit like mashed potatoes, but I actually don’t do mashed potatoes


..and this was so much better.

The cod was from Captain Phil himself, whom I had manager to catch at his family’s fish stall in the Union Square Greenmarket where I headed minutes after our train arrived at Grand Central from our wonderful, not-so-very-upstate Thanksgiving break.

It was 3:17 when I arrived, pretty late in the day for the market, even for me.  I hadn’t gone out looking for seafood, but in pursuit of a vegetable to accompany a dinner of smoked freshwater trout, already resting in the refrigerator. The plan was to enjoy some good German wine on a Saturday evening. I was only going to I say hello to the Karlins and their fish, but then I saw that they still had some gorgeous specimens remaining, and I also spotted the fisherman himself, on one of his rare appearances in the city.

I love cod.  I bought some cod.

I also like cauliflower very much, agreeing with Pliny the Elder, a naturalist, who (before he had died in the eruption of Vesuvius, had also managed to learn a thing or two about seafood, including cod, with which he may have become acquainted through Romano Britain contacts) wrote, “Ex omnibus brassicae generibus suavissima est cyma“/”The most pleasant tasting of all cabbages is the [young cabbage sprout]”  I don’t know what I was thinking when, also yesterday, I came across two small, perfect green specimens, perfectly, tenderly embraced by their outer leaves, but only took home one of them.

Once I was putting the meal together, I realized that, since our modest table wasn’t inside a fancy boite, even if I included all of the perfectly edible leaves and the upper stem, my little Brassica bud probably wouldn’t be enough vegetable for both of us. Maybe a garnish, but not really a proper ‘side’.

My solution was to dip into the paper bags where the boiling potatoes hid out.  There weren’t enough red ‘new’ potatoes (which I felt I should sacrifice before they grew into ‘old’), so I added to the pot a few yellowish Kartöffelchen I had picked up that day.

  • an almost perfect one-pound rectangle cut from a cod fillet, from P.E. & D.D. Seafood, brought to room temperature, divided into two equal pieces and seasoned with salt on both sides, the top (the former skin side) brushed with a little French dijon mustard which had been mixed with a very small amount of water to make it easier to spread (on that side alone), the pieces dipped in a mixture of the very of my current stash of homemade breadcrumbs mixed with some finely-chopped parsley from Paffenroth Farms, then after a few crumbs were sprinkled on the other, open flesh side mostly for appearances, browned briefly, but only on the mustard and breadcrumb mix side, in a little olive oil inside a tin-lined copper au gratin pan, transferred to a 325º oven and cooked until the fish began to flake (about 8 or 9 minutes) [the recipe is based on Thomas Keller’s ‘Wild Cod en Persillade‘]
  • one clove of garlic heated until pungent in a cast iron pan, over medium-low heat, then one rinsed, and filleted salt-packed anchovy stirred in until it ‘melted’, followed by the addition of some crushed dried peperoncino, one small Italian green cauliflower, or broccoflower, separated into florettes, the top, or tender part of the stem sliced thinly, cooked until the vegetable had almost softened, and finally the outer leaves (which had been cut into one or two-inch sections), added, and the mix cooked for another two minutes
  • three small oval red (inside and out) potatoes from Lucky Dog Organic Farm, and four small round yellow (inside) German Butterball potatoes from Berried Treasures, boiled in salted water inside one of my old glass pots, drained and dried in the still-warm pot, rolled in a little olive oil, and sprinkled with chopped winter savory from Stokes Farm and chopped parsley from Paffenroth Farms
  • the wine was a Spanish (Rueda) white, Naia D.O. Rueda 2014, from Verdejo old vines
  • the music was Schubert’s ‘Rosamunde, Fürstin von Cypern, incidental music to Helmina von Chézy’s Play’, D. 797 (Op. 26), performed by the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, conducted by Kurt Mazur, with Elly Ameling and the Rundfunkchor Leipzig


orecchiette con cime di rapa/’little ears’ with turnip tops


so very Puglian, and that’s a very good thing


It’s a classic pasta preparation from Puglia, and I’ve prepared it many times, but last night when I began to revisit orecchiette con cime di rapa I had almost forgotten that this particular recipe, which I had started working with with many years ago, calls for fresh bread crumbs rather than dry. Unfortunately, at the time I was reminded of this, because I was looking pretty closely at the printed text of a dish absent for some time from our table, I didn’t have a single fresh crumb in the kitchen.

I haven’t been buying bread as often as I used to, so, for the same reason why there was no bread, there were barely enough homemade dry breadcrumbs in the overhead cabinet.

The dish works very well with the dry, but fresh crumbs, briefly sautéed like these, would be more fun, just as crunchy, but with a little bounce in the bite.

And then there was some excellent cime di rapa.



  • half of a pound of an excellent artisanal Puglian pasta, Benedetto Cavalieri ‘Single Orecchiette’ and half a pound of broccoli rabe from Lani’s Farm, bottom stems removed and the rest of the greens roughly chopped, all boiled together in a large pot of salted water until the pasta was al dente, a cup of the water reserved just before the orecchiette was drained and tossed into a separate deep heavy pot in which 3 garlic cloves, 3 salted anchovies (rinsed and filleted), and more than one not-so-very-hot Cayenne thin red pepper from Oak Grove Plantation had been slowly heated until the garlic had colored lightly, everything (including a judicious amount of the reserved pasta water) then tossed/stirred over a low-to-moderate flame for a couple of minutes to blend the flavors and the ingredients before being served, sprinkled with half of a cup of dry homemade breadcrumbs which had been browned earlier in olive oil with a pinch of salt
  • the wine was an Italian (Sicily) red, Corvo Nero d’Avola 2012
  • the music was Sibelius Symphony No.5, Leonard Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic

swordfish, peppercorn butter; brussels sprouts; purple kale


Everything here was at the peak of its flavor, and, since the prep was pretty simple all the way around, I would have found it pretty hard to mess up anything.

Technically the triad included two cruciferous vegetables, but they were different enough from each other to be treated as two distinct ‘greens’, and they were a terrific accompaniment to the fish.

The swordfish steak was buttery, lemony, and herbal, the Brussels sprouts crispy and nutty, and the kale was sweet and almost chewy before it almost melted in the mouth.  There wasn’t a great deal of color in this entrée, but I remember that’s pretty much the deal once fall arrives.

The swordfish recipe came from a ‘Bon Appetit’ in 20015.  The treatment of the Brussels sprouts and the kale is my own.

  • one 9-ounce swordfish steak from P.E. & D.D. Seafood, cut into two pieces, dried, sprinkled with salt and a mix of different peppercorns, coarsely ground, browned in olive oil on one side (about 3 minutes) inside an enameled cast iron pan, then turned over and transferred to a 400º oven for maybe about 7 or 8 minutes, or until barely cooked, placed on warm plates while a seasoned butter (2 tablespoons of softened butter, a mix of ground pepper, a bit of salt, some finely-chopped garlic from Norwich Meadows Farm, and chopped parsley from John D. Madura Farm) was added to the pan and, over medium heat, and scraped together with the cooking juices to collect the brown bits from the bottom before the sauce was poured over the steaks
  • Brussels sprouts from S. & S.O. Farms, tossed with salt, pepper, and some olive oil, and roasted in a 400º oven for about half an hour, finished with a squeeze of lemon and some more olive oil
  • loose curly purple kale leaves from Lucky Dog Organic Farm, wilted with olive oil in which two slightly-crushed Calabrian Rocambole garlic from Keith’s Farm had been allowed to heat until pungent, seasoned with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of fresh olive oil
  • the wine was a Spanish (Rioja) white, Monopole Cune white Rioja wine 2014
  • the music was a profound performance of Sibelius, Symphony No.4, by the New York Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Bernstein, and it was played twice!

garlic-roasted veal chop; roasted heirloom potato; kale


it’s looking like we’ve left summer behind us


I occasionally check out the display case in the Whole Foods meat department when I pass it on the way to goodies at the back of the store that I can’t get at the Greenmarket. The other day a small sign in front of a row of veal chops attracted my attention, especially since I didn’t remember ever seeing veal in the store before.  A printed note just below the price said that the meat had come from a ‘Provitello Farms’, in Elba, New York.  That was the kind of specific local sourcing I would not have expected from an emporium the size of Whole Foods, so I did some research when I got home, to see what it was about.

A few days later I was back.  It was a Sunday, I had made no other arrangements for dinner, and I had decided, as an omnivore and someone very conscious of the sources of the food Barry and I consume, to be as reasonable as possible on the subject of veal, meaning, essentially, the morality of its consumption.  I was acquainted with all of the arguments on both sides, but my family history, my understanding of the place of a young calf, otherwise useless to any market, in the broader context of domesticated livestock, and my awareness of the huge variations to be found in the treatment of this particular animal, led me back to the meat counter I had investigated earlier in the week.

A word on the potatoes.  They came from Berried Treasures in the Greenmarket, where they are labelled ‘Pata Chaucha’ (my translation would be ‘new potato’).  It was my first full outing with an Andean heirloom variety whose seeds had been given to the farmer, Franca Tantillo, by an Ecuadorean, David, one of the people who works with Dave Tifford of Fantastic Gardens of Long Island.  As new potatoes, they might properly have been stored in a cooler place, like the crisper drawer, but last Wednesday  I had put them inside a paper bag in my larder.  When I pulled them out I noted to myself once again that they would not have won any beauty contests; they might even have aged in those few days.  After I had roasted them however I realized beauty was not the story. They were absolutely delicious, incredibly nutty, and with a texture not unlike the very best grilled or roasted eggplant, but juicier.  Wonderful.

  • two small veal loin chops from Jurian Bartlese‘s small Provitello Farms, in Elva, New York purchased at Whole Foods [its source, and the arguments for its production explained pretty well here], dried, rubbed with olive oil, salt, and pepper, brought full to room temperature, seared in an small cast iron enameled pan, rubbed with crushed Calabrian Rocambole garlic from Keith’s Farm, roasted in a 375º oven for about eight minutes, turning once, allowed to rest for five minutes before being drizzled with the pan juices, a squeeze of lemon, olive oil, and a scattering of finely-chopped young scallions from John D. Madura Farm, and chopped thyme from Hawthorne Valley Farm
  • South American Pata Chaucha (heirloom potatoes) from Berried Treasures, scrubbed, halved, tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a mix of chopped sage from Norwich Meadows Farm and chopped rosemary from Hoeffner Farms
  • loose curly purple kale leaves from Lucky Dog Organic Farm, wilted with olive oil in which two slightly-crushed Calabrian Rocambole garlic from Keith’s Farm had been allowed to heat until pungent, seasoned with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of fresh olive oil
  • the wine was an Italian (Piedmont) red, Brovia Dolcetto d’Alba Vignavillej 2012
  • the music was, first, Mahler’s Symphony No.1, performed by Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, followed by Christopher Rouse’s ‘Der Gerettene Alberich

grilled shrimp, lemon, oregano; smoked eel pasta primi


minimal, ungenerous? but it took so long to eat that it still felt like enough


There was also a primi, so the relatively small secondo seen in the image above would probably have felt like enough for a satisfying dinner even if we hadn’t spent a lot of time peeling those five or six fresh shrimp.  Grilling with the shells however, even pan grilling, is important for realizing the full taste of some wonderful fresh decapods.

I arrived at the Greenmarket just in time to grab the last of Jean Claude’s shrimp on Friday.  Since they weighed in at somewhat less than what I would have preferred, I just added a first course to our dinner;  this one could not have been easier to prepare, and it featured another great sea creature.

  • less than half a pound of fresh whole Hudson Valley ECO shrimp, cut all of the way up the middle of their backs with a small kitchen shears (but still retaining the shells, as well as the heads and the tails), tossed with perhaps only two thirds of a dressing consisting of 1 large garlic clove from Northshire Farm mashed in a mortar along with a fourth of a teaspoon of salt and mixed with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, ground black pepper, and most of one not-so-hot Cayenne thin red pepper from Oak Grove Plantation, finely-chopped, then one fourth of a cup of olive oil poured into the blend in a slow stream, while stirring, to emulsify it, and almost 2 teaspoons of super-pungent dried Italian oregano from Buon Italia added at the end, and left to marinate for less than 15 minutes; one lemon, cut into segments, lightly brushed with a little of the dressing, pan grilled until grill marks appear, and transferred to plates, immediately replaced on the pan by the shrimp, turned once, for about 4 minutes, or until cooked, served with the remaining dressing
  • husk cherries from Norwich Meadows Farm, tossed with a handful of torn delicious ‘wild’ arugula from Lani’s Farm, dressed together with good olive oil, a drizzle of organic lemon, salt, and pepper, served in a bowl on the side [note; once again I forgot top halve the little fruits, which made picking them up about as tedious as removing the shells from the shrimp]



Before the shrimp we enjoyed a primi which was simply what had remained from the main course of a meal we had a few days earlier.

  • two cazuelas holding a small amount of the smoked eel pasta served last Sunday, a little reserved pasta water stirred in, slipped into a 350º oven for about ten minutes, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with a crunchy pangratatto
  • the wine was an Italian (Marche) white, Le Salse Verdicchio di Matelica 2014
  • the music was Poppy Ackroyd