The delicious little ’18K Gold Nugget’ potatoes from Rick Bishop, of Mountain Sweet Berry Farm, are very hard to avoid including on a plate, especially if the other elements I’d chosen look like they might not quite make up a full entrée. This meal marks their third appearance on this blog in only four days, and I actually do have other potatoes in the larder.
- a single 13-ounce fillet of cod from P.E. & D.D. Seafood, dried and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, sautéed in olive oil for about 4 minutes on each side, removed, divided in half and placed on two plates, covered with a Provençal-like tomato sauce I had frozen when leftover from an earlier meal, then sprinkled with chopped parsley from Rogowski Farm
- some ’18K Gold Nugget’ (‘Nicola’ in this batch) potatoes from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm, boiled in salted water, drained and steamed dry, rolled with a small amount of olive oil and freshly-ground black pepper, then tossed with a small handful of chopped pea shoots from Monkshood Nursery and Gardens
- purple mustard greens from Norwich Meadows Farm, another of the fresh greens their people had been surprised to discover under a New Jersey field high tunnel in very late March, wilted with oil which had warmed a halved clove of bruised garlic from Samascott Orchards, seasoned with salt and pepper, finished with a drizzle of oil
- the wine was a Spanish white, Vevi Rueda 2013
- the music was Jordi Savall’s ‘La Lira d’Espéria II. Galicia’
Note to self: Do not hesitate to bring water buffalo back into the kitchen.
I wasn’t really so much attracted to the novelty of water buffalo, but rather to the idea that the meat of this Italian ruminant might be both as delicious and as healthy as most of the traditional fare associated with the Italian peninsula. I prepared it with almost a total minimum of fuss, in order to savor its flavor. Absent only one quality, one which I absolutely do not require, that is, the very American demand for ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ palatability, I was not disappointed. The taste was terrific, even if a tad more chewing was involved than with more conventional steaks.
About the vegetables: The parsnips could not have been sweeter or more tastier, and the chard, although a long-absent and much-missed guest at our winter table, was welcome tonight even more for its burst of color and intense flavor.
- one New Jersey water buffalo 12-ounce New York strip steak from Riverine Ranch at the Union Square Greenmarket, thoroughly aired-dried on the kitchen counter for two hours before being placed on a very hot enameled grill pan for about eight minutes (turning once, both sides seasoned after first being seared), then allowed to rest for almost 10 minutes while kept warm, sliced into eight sections, drizzled with lemon juice from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island, and some good olive oil, finally placed on two warm plates
- parsnips from Norwich Meadows Farm, scrubbed, scraped, and cut into 1/2″ slices, tossed with olive oil and salt, spread in a single layer onto an unglazed ceramic oven pan, dotted with butter (a fairly dainty process), roasted at 425º, turning once, then removed and seasoned with a little more salt and pepper, and sprinkled with chopped parsley from Rogowski Farm
- rainbow chard, which Norwich Meadows Farm had been surprised to discover under a high tunnel on their New Jersey acreage the day before, sautéed with olive oil and finished with Fantastic Gardens lemon, and crushed dried hot pepper seeds
- the wine was an Argentinian red, Accūro Mendoza Malbec 2013, from Chelsea wine vault
- the music was Schubert’s Symphony No. 3
We haven’t had swordfish for a while; this revisit this past Wednesday (March 25), was a reminder of why it’s held in such high regard, and not just by ourselves.
- swordfish steak (12 ounces, divided into two pieces) purchased from Charlie of American Seafood Company in the Union Square Greenmarket, herb, lemon, and garlic-rubbed (here using fresh oregano from Phillips Farm, parsley from Rogowski Farm, sage and mint from Eataly, thyme from Keith’s Farm, rosemary from Phillips Farm, along with zest of a lemon from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island and finely-minced garlic from Samascott Orchards, all chopped together with salt and pepper, and some of the mix reserved), then pan-grilled while basting with the reserved rub mixture, finished with a squeeze of the Fantastic Gardens lemon and a drizzle of olive oil
- a few ’18K Gold Nugget’ (actually, ‘Nicola’ in this batch) potatoes from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm, boiled in salted water, drained and steamed dry, rolled with a small amount of olive oil and freshly-ground black pepper
- collard greens from Rogowski Farm, cut in a rough chiffonade, braised in a heavy pot in which crushed garlic form Berried Treasures had been allowed to sweat with some olive oil, the dish finished with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil
- the wine was a Spanish white, Muga Bianco, Rioja 2013
- the music was the last act of Solti’s 1991 recording of ‘Carmen’
Note to self: This was a glorious meal, one which I did not want to see come to an end.
What could be simpler than a few small fillets of grey sole, a handful of tiny potatoes, and an even smaller handful of greens? The fact that this assemblage attained as lofty a status as it did tonight (March 28th) was owed to a combination of the quality and freshness of the ingredients, the fact that none of them had been asked to travel very far, and that the one ingredient which had been harvested months before, the tiny Nicola potatoes, had been so perfectly husbanded for many months. Then there was also the excellent company. I was only the steward.
- five small grey sole fillets from P.E. & D.D. (a total of 12 ounces), dried thoroughly, salted and brushed with good white wine vinegar, sautéed in a olive oil and a bit of butter, then removed, the pan wiped with a paper towel, butter, local lemon juice from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island, and sliced pea shoots from Monkshood Nursery and Gardens, together allowed to heat for a minute or so, the sauce spread onto the sole, the two plates served with lemon quarters
- ’18K Gold Nugget’ (Nicola in this instance) potatoes from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm, boiled in salted water, drained and steamed dry, rolled with a small amount of butter and freshly-grund black pepper
- breakfast radish greens from Eckerton Hill Farms, wilted with olive oil in which two tiny Rocambole garlic heads from Keith’s Farm had been allowed to sweat for a bit, then seasoned with salt, pepper, and a bit more olive oil
- the wine was a California white which uses Portuguese grape varieties, S + A Verdelho, Calaveras County 2014, from Naked Wines
- the music was the Ferdinand Ries piano quartet in E-Flat, Opus 17
Note to self: This entrée was a very special treat, and would be suitable for a gentle festive occasion.
This looks a bit like round ravioli, but it’s actually Croxetti, a very special (unfilled) pasta original to the Ligurian coast. I have something of a modest passion for it, and I’ve accumulated over a dozen attractive recipes to satisfy it. This is the first time I’ve had pea sprouts and Croxetti at the same time, so I came up with the idea of adding a bit of cured pork flavor to the mix. Having gotten that far, I really didn’t have to look for more in the way of an organized recipe, but this turned out to be exactly what I wanted, so, voilà!
Part of my obsession with Croxetti may be it’s resemblance to the wafers distributed to the faithful in the Catholic Eucharist. As a child, I really got off on the Roman Church’s ritual (smells, bells, pretty vestments, grand architecture, Latin!) and I’ve always been a fan of bread, in almost any form. Confession: when I was very young I tried to imitate the host which I found so delicious by simply undoing the leavening process which brought Wonder Bread to our table, by pressing the air out of a slice and drying it (it didn’t work, which means it may be all the more surprising that I left the Church half a century back).
- following, at least more or less, the simple Epicurious recipe I referred to above (note: I cooked everything for a much shorter time, and I drained the pasta as I normally do), I used a 500 gram package of Genovese Alta Valle Scrivia Croxetti from Eataly, a 4 ounce chunk of pancetta from Buon Italia which I diced, two shallots from S.&S.O. Produce Farms, pea sprouts from D’Attolico’s Farm, fantastic lemon juice from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island, and Parmesan cheese from Buon Italia
- the wine was an Italian white, Boirá Piniot Grigio Veneto 2014
- the music was Solti’s 1991 recording of ‘Carmen’, with Troyanos, Domingo, Van Dam, and Te Kanawa, which happily includes the original dialogue between the arias [and did I hear Bizet’s Don José sing a familiar bit from Wagner’s ‘Die Meistersinger’ at one point?]
Note: Using the quantities indicated above meant, that, as usual when we have a pasta dinner, there would be enough left for another meal. If the pasta is carefully stored and reheated within a few days (or not reheated, in some cases), perhaps with some fresh element added, the second time around is not necessarily going to be second-best, and it’s definitely a timesaver.