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 last 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, from Stokes Farm, 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