It was already getting late, but the meal wasn’t going to take long. Then I realized that this night might be my only opportunity I’d have for using some mozzarella remaining from that which I’d bought for a meal a few days earlier. I also had some decent fresh basil which wasn’t going to be decent (fresh) much longer. I also had a few small-ish tomatoes on hand, so of course I thought, insalata caprese!
The salad can be put together quickly. For those who might not know how to go about it, there’s this simple recipe. Preparing the bass fillets, even with the side dishes, should also not have taken very long, but putting both together in a small kitchen at once, when both of us were already hungry, got a little complicated (I began to think I had four hands – and two heads).
Because we did have two main courses, we finished dinner later than we might have – or wanted to – but it was all good in the end.
- a caprese salad, assembled on two plates, using Fior di Latte mozzarella from Buon Italia, Backyard Farms Maine ‘cocktail tomatoes’ from Whole Foods, very local basil (Gotham Rooftop) from Whole Foods, and some pungent dried Italian oregano from Buon Italia (even though the recipe I referred to suggests the oregano only if you are using arugula, and not basil)
- there was some superb bread, a baguette monge, from Maison Kayser
- the wine with the antipasto (although, in fact, there was not to be any pasta) was a New Mexico (Sierra County) sparkling, Gruet Blanc de Noirs
- two 7-ounce sea bass fillets from American Seafood Company, dipped in a mixture of an egg from Millport Dairy whipped with chopped parsley from Eataly, the fish then dredged in seasoned flour, sautéed for a couple minutes in a mixture of butter and olive oil, first skin side down, turned, cooked for a total of only a few minutes, or until the fish was cooked through (the time will vary with the size of the fillets and the height of the flame), removed from the pan and sprinkled with a bit of local lemon/line from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island, and dressed with the pan juices which had been mixed with more parsley after the fillets had been removed
- tiny white carrots from Rogowski Farm, a few ‘sticks’ of celery heart from Eataly, and some thyme branches, also from Eataly, tossed together with olive oil, salt, and pepper, cooked in a small Pampered Chef pan at 400º until tender, some of the celery leaves added near the end and stirred in (the total time will depend on the size of the vegetables; these only took about 10 or 15 minutes)
- a small amount of curly green winter kale from Tamarack Hollow Farm, wilted in olive oil in which one clove of garlic from Norwich Meadows Farm, halved, had been cooked until it had begun to brown, finished with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil
- the wine with the fish was a French (Bordeaux) white, Château d’Arveyres Bordeaux Blanc 2014