The theme of this meal, stretching it a bit, seems to have been ‘buckwheat‘, although including an ‘exotic’ touch of a rather unglamorous (until very recently) pseudocereal had definitely not been contrived beforehand. It just happened, and the dinner was as delicious as it was anomalous.
The story is that I already had on hand, from the meal the night before, most of a hearty baguette sarasin (buckwheat flour bread) from the Eric Kayser bakery shop, on Broadway below 23rd Street, and it became an accompaniment to both courses of this meal. I’m loving that shop more and more, for the excellent bread of course, and for the charming Monsieur Kayser, but another of its virtues is that it’s in my path to or from the Union Square Greenmarket three or more times each week.
Then, at the Windfall Farms stand at the market earlier in the day, I spotted a micro green I hadn’t noticed before. It attracted my attention both for its delicate beauty, and for what it seemed would be its suitability for finishing the fish fillets I had just then purchased across the way. The green was buckwheat [fagopyrum tataricum].
(micro buckwheat greens, with an interloper sighted on the top right)
- we began with a shellfish course, meaning about 4 ounces of Little River Brand wild-caught backfin crabmeat from Whole Foods I had mixed with undocumented quantities of diced red onion from Norwich Meadows Farm, sliced celery from Eataly, Gotham Greens Rooftop packaged basil from Whole Foods, a little chopped peppermint from Phillips Farm, a bit of homemade French Basque espellate I had purchased in a town north of Baie-Comeau, Quebec, last year, from the producer’s daughter, some sea salt, Lisbon Lemon juice from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island, a rich Nigerian cayenne pepper, more excellent ‘The Ojai Cook’ organic mayonnaise than is likely to be good for anybody, and some black sesame seeds for garnish, the mixture served in ‘cups’ composed of leaves from a head of radicchio from Eataly
- there were also slices of Kayser’s baguette sarasin (buckwheat flour bread)
- the second course, also seafood-oriented, started with two 6-and-a-half-ounce fillets of fluke from American Seafood Company, washed, dried, brushed with a bit of good white wine vinegar and salt, floured, browned in a mixture of olive oil and butter, then removed to 2 plates, the pan wiped with paper towels, butter, lemon juice and parsley from Whole Foods added quickly and briefly heated while a handful of micro buckwheat greens from Windfall Farms were added to the pan, the sauce which resulted then poured over the fillets
- the vegetable was a medium-size fennel bulb from Eataly, the core removed, cut into 8 wedges, tossed in a bowl with olive oil along with 2 crushed garlic cloves from Norwich Meadows Farm, a handful of thyme sprigs from Eataly, part of one dried peperoncino, crushed; salt, and pepper, then spread onto a glazed ceramic oven pan, roasted at 425º, turning once, at which time a handful of pitted and halved Gaeta olives were tossed into the pan, served with additional chopped thyme sprinkled on top
- addiitonal slices of the baguette sarasin helped to finish the sauces that remained on the plates
- the wine throughout the meal was a California (North Coast) white, Jac Cole Oak Fermented Chardonnay North Coast 2014
- the music, throughout much of the meal, was the album, ‘Fred (Music of Frederic Rzewski)’, performed by Eighth Blackbird [we love this world (or at least this part of it)]