(in something of a statement about my at-least-intermittent compulsiveness, the various heirloom cherry tomatoes are already divided into two quite equal shares before the rest of the course has been finished; but they were pretty)
But it really wasn’t about the tomatoes, and in fact they were barely even an afterthought. It was about the sea robin again.
I had prepared this excellent fish twice before, with super success, even if I haven’t yet come up with an alternative to the recipe I’ve used each time. I now consider sea robin a lucky find and a great treat – and, surprisingly, still one of the best bargains on this side of the Atlantic. At least so far they haven’t generally been taken seriously as candidates for the dining table, usually considered ‘rough fish’ or ‘trash fish’ by people seeking their prized neighbors, striped bass or flounder. In France and elsewhere in Europe they and their relatives, whether called ‘gurnard’ or ‘rascasse’, are more respected.
I’m going to link to an attractive recipe on another site here, but it’s probably more for my own reference when than for any public enlightenment.
- eight quite small sea robin fillet, or ‘tails’, from Blue Moon Fish, rinsed, pat dry, then placed in a pan of sizzling olive oil and sautéed over medium-high heat for barely 2 minutes on each side, transferred to two plates, a little lemon squeezed on top, then small spoonfuls of an olive tapenade sauce spread over or between the fillets, which were then garnished with fresh Gotham Greens Rooftop packaged basil leaves from Whole Foods, torn
- the tapenade had been prepared with Gaeta olives from Buon Italia, a little garlic from Norwich Meadows Farm, one rinsed chopped anchovy, also from Buon Italia, salted rinsed capers from Buon Italia, ground black pepper, olive oil, and a few sprigs of fresh thyme from Phillips Farm, chopped
- a handfull of small heirloom cherry and grape tomatoes from Berried Treasures, halved, then added to the plates, and seasoned with Maldon salt
- yellow flat pole beans from Norwich Meadows Farm, blanched, drained and dried, then reheated in oil, finished with salt, pepper, and fresh fennel seed from Lani’s Farm
- a simple salad of spicy wild arugula from Lani”s Farm, tossed with one thinly-sliced shallot from Norwich Meadows Farm, very good olive oil, Italian white vinegar, salt, and freshly-ground pepper
- the wine was a California (Napa) white, Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc 2014
- the music was Richard Zimdars performing 20th and 21st-century piano compositions by a number of composers, from his album, ‘Character Pieces from Four Continents‘