Month: February 2015

smoked eel; steak with baby leek, oven fries


This Sunday evening meal began with plain smoked eel and continued with a simple sirloin steak.

  • smoked eel, packaged by H. Forman, from Eataly, and a dollop of  softened cream cheese mixed with double cream, shallot, chives, capers, lemon, spring garlic, salt, and pepper, served with upland cress from Two Guys from Woodbridge, dressed with good olive oil, fresh lemon, salt, and pepper
  • thin slices of Rustic Classic bread from Eataly
  • the wine was a Sardinian white, Le Giare Vermentino di Sardegna 2013
  • the music, during both courses, was that of Ferdinand Ries, friend, pupil and secretary to Beethoven, beginning with his 1826 Piano Concerto No. 8, ‘Gruss an den Rhein’



  • sirloin steak from Millport Dairy, seared and cooked for a few minutes in a very hot iron pan, seasoned, removed, cut into two pieces, allowed to rest for five minutes while aprinkled with two small sliced baby leeks from Rogowski Farm, and drizzled with lemon and olive oil
  • ‘red potatoes’ (white inside) from Samascott Orchards, cut into wedges and roasted at 450º for about 35 minutes along with thyme leaves from Eataly and several unpeeled garlic cloves, also from Samascott Orchards, and finished with chopped parsley from Whole Foods
  • the wine was a California red, F. Stephen Millier Angel’s reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Lodi 2013
  • we continued with the charming music of Ferdinand Ries, here his Symphonies No. 1 and 2 (1809 and 1814, respectively)

sunday lunch: egg/capocollo/tomato/parmesan


It was Sunday morning, or rather Sunday afternoon.  Something eggs seemed to be in order, but perhaps nothing really special, considering the hour.  It had to be tasty, but also practical, that is, I was thinking it would be good if I could include mostly ingredients ready to leave the larder.

It was also going to be easy, if not quite instant.

I started by buttering a large-ish enameled iron pan and placing in it a layer of a few ounces of thinly sliced Colameco’s capocolla from Whole Foods which I had almost forgotten was still in the refrigerator. I broke 6 eggs from Millport Dairy on top of the salume, fried them until the whites had not quite become solid, seasoned them and poured over them a bit of tomato sauce.  The sauce was composed as they cooked, and included sliced spring garlic, heated in olive oil, before tomato juices from the canned tomatoes used the night before were added, the sauce then reduced until slightly thickened.  There were various chopped herbs involved somewhere along the way, leftover from two meals of the day before.  I finished the eggs with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese and served them with toast made from both a sourdough bâtard from She Wolf Bakery and a Rustic Classic loaf from Eataly.

John Dory with baby leek; fennel-tomato compote


This rarely happens around here, even looking over a much longer stretch of time, but last night I served an almost exact duplicate of a meal of John Dory fillet I had put together little more than a month ago.  They differed only in my replacing the cut chives in the January version with sliced baby leeks from Rogowski Farm.  Also, the source of two of the ingredients was different (the fennel and the thyme were from Eataly this time).  The biggest difference visually is the shiny skin, since, the last time I had served the fillets with that side down.

10-minute meal: chick peas, chorizo, pimentón, …


Years ago Mark Bittman gathered together a list of 101 meals that could be prepared in 10 minutes or less, later edited up to 111. Two of his suggestions in particular have made regular appearances on our table since then, because not only can they be assembled in that period of time, but they’re both delicious, and both depend on ingredients I can easily keep on hand without worrying much about a spoil date.

Last night we went to the opera, and we  knew we would be back home too late to do any regular meal preparation.  It was also a cold night, so the answer was obvious.  It wouldn’t be the unheated tuna with cannellini beans and chopped red onion, but the chick pea soup, with pimentón, chorizo, garlic, and sherry.  The basic formula,which appeared in the New York Times eight years ago, was pretty minimal:

40 Put a large can of chickpeas and their liquid in a medium saucepan. Add some sherry, along with olive oil, plenty of minced garlic, smoked pimentón and chopped Spanish chorizo. Heat through.  

To that simple recipe I added, this time at least, a little of the tomato juices I had left over after using a can of very good Italian plum tomatoes in another meal, and I finished the hearty mix  with some chopped fresh parsley from Manhattan Fruit Exchange;  the excellent chorizo came from an amazing Amish family farm in rural Pennsylvania, Millport Dairy, which sells its produce in New York greenmarkets, including the one I visit regularly, in Union Square

  • The wine was a Spanish red, Terra Única Tempranillo-Monastrell Valencia 2006
  • the music was Dvořák’s Piano Trio No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 90, B. 166, the ‘Dumky’ Trio

Like most of the 10-Minute meal suggestions, this one almost begs for creative additions;  We’ve enjoyed it with leftover wilted kale, collards, or other greens, but I can imagine any number of other cooked vegetables working as enhancements, giving them a chance to leave the refrigerator and shine a second time.

Whiting baked on a potato/onion/tomato gratin


Some time last evening, after getting other busyness and tasks out of the way, I turned to that of preparing a dinner using the four whole Whiting I had brought back from the Union Square Greenmarket that afternoon.  I soon realized that I had been wrong in thinking that I already had on hand a number of good recipes for this fish, so I started ferreting around on line.  Considering the time I now had left to put something together, and the ingredients I actually had on hand (which meant, like the Greenmarket itself these days, a very limited selection of fresh vegetables that couldn’t be described as ‘roots’), I was coming up with nothing.   None looked both workable and interesting, except for one that I had transcribed a few years ago, none looked both workable and interesting.  That recipe still sat, a single sheet of paper, entirely alone, in my “Whiting’ folder.  On it were the notations, “good…but burnt (use more liquids and/or cook the vegetables less)”.

I did a search on this blog to learn more, but found nothing.  I began to doubt that I had actually used the recipe, but when I began to compose this post, searching under key words, to find the source, I found this, my own tweet, with an image of a meal from last April; it was almost the same as the one we had last night.  Last spring it had gone no further than a tweet, so I may have been in a hurry.  It might also have been because of some charring, but there doesn’t seem to be any visible in the picture, and I think that plate actually looks better, or at least more aesthetic, than last night’s.

It was good.  I wouldn’t say that it was a great preparation, this time at least, but I was unable to include fennel yesterday, and that would have made a significant difference.  I was also rushing.  I’m thinking I really should have a fennel bulb around the next time I do this recipe, and that I will try to include the optional clams (my fish mongers always ask, “what else?”, after they’ve put my purchase in a bag, and I can almost never follow through with another order).

I did use more liquids this time, introducing both more vegetable broth and white wine throughout the baking process.

Today I located another baked whole whiting recipe, so these delicious fish are likely to be back on our table, either with or without heads (theirs).

  • I won’t transcribe the formula here, since I can include this link to the on-line recipe, but these are the sources of the fresh ingredients I used:  Four whole whiting (fished from the deeper waters of the Continental Shelf south of the eastern end of Long Island) from American Fish Company, one yellow onion from Norwich Meadows Farm, Rocambole garlic cloves from Keith’s Farm, parsley and thyme from Manhattan Fruit Exchange, German Butterball potatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, one Maine Backyard Farms mid-size tomato from Eataly; I used more chopped parsley, in lieu of the fennel fronds specified, to finish the dish on the plates
  • the wine was a South African white, Bayten Sauvignan Blanc 2013
  • the music was Dvořák ‘s wonderful Fourth Symphony


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with fennel the last time, but no heads