Sitting down to the first course, because the pasta looked so small in that broad shallow bowl, I felt as if I was in the kind of fancy restaurant we seldom visit.
There was this primi, because there was some of a delicious pasta e ceci remaining from a few days before, because I knew it would still be very good, and because it would let me assemble a main course that might also be pretty minimal. I’m definitely understanding the Italian attraction for the antepasti, primi, secundi, contorni, formaggi, dolci thing, but, yeah, who has the time these days?
- the main course was prepared with 7 small skate wings from P.E. & D. D. Seafood, about 14 ounces altogether, coated on both sides with a coarse polenta which had been seasoned with salt and pepper, sautéed in olive oil (and a bit of butter) for a very few minutes (about 7), turning once, removed, the pan wiped with a paper towel, 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter, chopped ramps from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm and one sliced garlic clove from Whole Foods introduced into it and stirred over a lowered flame, followed by the addition of a little more butter (1 1/2 tablespoons), juice from half of an organic lemon, and a mix of mostly chopped lovage from Two Guys from Woodbridge and a little chopped parsley from Eataly
- tender collard greens from Lani’s Farm, washed, drained, and braised very lightly in a heavy pot in which two halved garlic cloves from Whole Foods had been allowed to sweat in some olive oil, the dish finished with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil
- the wine throughout was a French (Rhône) rosé, Côtes du Rhône Parallèle 45 2013, from Philippe Liquors
- the music throughout was that of Antoine Forqueray, his amazing ‘Pieces de viole‘
It was Trifolati rognon e rabe broccoli brasato, to put an Italian point on it, but they hung out with an American wine.
- four lamb kidneys (10 ounces total) from 3-Corner Field Farm, gently sautéed in butter (in this case inside a new tin-lined 8-inch copper pan) until brown all over on the outside but still very rare in the center, removed and kept warm while introducing into the pan one large sliced garlic clove from Whole Foods, cooking it for one minute, adding less than a quarter cup of dry vermouth, reducing the liquid by half over high heat while quickly slicing the kidneys, removing the pan from the flame and slowly swirling into it 2 tablespoons of chilled butter, salt, and freshly-ground Telicherry pepper, returning the sliced kidneys and all of their juices to the pan and briefly warming them in the sauce, sprinkling sauce and kidneys with a generous amount of chopped parsley from Eataly, warming that mix over very low heat for a minute or two, plating the finished dish next to a small serving of slightly-wilted arugula rabe from Alewife Farm
- young, tender broccoli rabe from from Migliorelli Farm, wilted in olive oil flavored with bruised garlic from Whole Foods, seasoned with salt and pepper, put onto two plates and drizzled with more olive oil
- the wine was a California (Clarksburg) red, Karen Birmingham 2013 Merlot
- the music was from the Eighth Blackbird album, ‘Hand Eye‘, featuring compositions by Timo Andres, Andrew Norman, Robert Honstein, Christopher Cerrone, Ted Hearn, and Jacob Cooper
We’ve already enjoyed the basic recipe for this luscious pasta twice. But I’ve never before had the privilege of welcoming foraged garlic mustard greens into my kitchen; last night this dish became the medium. I decided to mix most of them into the pasta at the very end of the cooking, and sprinkle a few of the most tender shoots on the top once the mix had been introduced into two bowls.
We’re not likely to be the only Greenmarket patrons who would like to thank Alewife Farm for collecting these wonderful greens, and also for another, almost equally stunning market innovation, arugula rabe, which starred in an entrée the night before. I’m looking forward to more surprises from these folks, and from so many other farmers I visit each week.
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 medium cloves of chopped garlic from Whole Foods, 2 generously-sized rosemary sprigs from Stokes Farm, and 4 rinsed and fileted salted anchovies from Buon Italia, briefly sautéed inside a large non-reactive pot until the anchovies had broken up, a 16-ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes (already-chopped or whole, and ideally without basil), with the juices, added and cooked for 10 minutes, crushing with a wooden spoon if the tomatoes are whole, salt added to taste, the heat increased and a can of good chick peas, with their liquid, poured in, along with about 2 cups of good chicken broth or water, and a third sprig of rosemary, everything brought to a soft boil before half a pound of Setaro ‘nodi marini‘ from Buon Italia was added (alternatively, some other small pasta, like farfalle or a small penne or rigatoni can be used), the heat now reduced to a healthy simmer until the pasta was cooked al dente and the broth thick, while stirring frequently (this may take half an hour), adding more liquid if necessary, stirring in most of a quarter pound of washed foraged garlic mustard greens from Alewife Farm before lifting the finished pasta into bowls, where it was drizzled with a little olive oil, scattered with the remaining (selected, smaller greens) and sprinkled with good grated Parmesan cheese from Buon Italia [the basic recipe for the pasta comes from food52.com, but I have altered or annotated it here, mostly to reflect my own experience]
- the wine was an Italian (Piedmont) red, Poderi Roset Dolcetto d’Alba 2013
- the gorgeous music was Christopher Cerrone’s ‘Invisible Cities’: An invisible opera for wireless headphones’
and flowers too
I had never heard of arugula rabe before stopping by Alewife Farm on Saturday, and I can’t find much that is useful on line, but maybe all we really have to know is the name, which simply means ‘sprouted arugula’. It’s beautiful and it’s delicious (and it’s not broccoli).
The assignment was to cook a handsome filet of cod without using the oven (which is awaiting service), and I actually had some choice, even if the word ‘roast’ appears in almost all of the recipes in my files. Mark Bittman’s ‘Classic Sautéed’, included on this page (where I had previously only borrowed ideas from the ‘Roasted’ section), did not. Because of its simplicity, knowing that it would show off the virtues of a great fish, both local and freshly caught, I went with it.
- one single 17-ounce filet of cod from Pura Vida Seafood, divided into two portions (only for a little more ease in turning), lightly dredged in coarse stone-ground flour, then dipped into a mixture of one large beaten egg from Millport Dairy and half of a cup of chopped parsley from Eataly, sautéed over medium-high heat in a mix of olive oil and ‘Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter‘ (one tablespoon each), turning once, for about 6 minutes, garnished with chopped lovage from Two Guys From Woodbridge, drizzled with a little lemon juice
- four wonderfully sweet Norland red potatoes from Lucky Dog Organic Farm, scrubbed and boiled unpeeled, quartered, tossed with some of the Kerrygold butter, salt, pepper, wild garlic from Lani’s Farm (previously softened in a little butter, and winter savory from Stokes Farm
- arugula rabe (yes, arugula rabe) from Alewife Farm braised in a heavy pot with a little olive oil in which a single halved clove of garlic from Whole Foods had begun to brown, then seasoned with salt and pepper, drizzled with more olive oil
- the wine was a French (Bordeaux) white, Château Lamothe de Haux Bordeaux Blanc 2014, from Chelsea Wine Vault
- the music was Aulis Sallinen: Symphony No. 2, and Symphony No. 4 (‘Dialogue for Percussion solo and Orchestra’, with Martin Orraryd, percussion), and the Horn Concerto (Esa Tapani, french horn), all three works with Ari Rasilainen directing the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra
This was actually a very simple meal, put on the table very quickly, even allowing for some time with an incredibly minimal marinade.
- two very fresh inch-and-a-quarter-thick swordfish steaks (off of the F/V Bookie, out of the Hamptons) from Blue Moon Seafood in the Union Square Greenmarket, marinated for less than a half hour in a mixture of olive oil and fresh oregano from Stokes Farm (the last of a bunch which I had been able to keep fresh in the refrigerator since last fall), then drained well, covered with a coating of dried homemade bread crumbs, pan-fried over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, removed, salted, sprinkled with a little lemon juice and some colorful ‘Hong Vit‘ micro Asian purple radish greens from Windfall Farms, fish and ‘greens’ finished with a drizzle of olive oil before serving
- kale from Alewife Farm, sautéed in olive oil in which 2 small cloves of garlic from Whole Foods had first been allowed to sweat and begin to brown, seasoned with salt, pepper, and a dash of more olive oil
- the wine was an Italian (Sicily) white, Corvo Insolia 2013, from Philippe Wine in Chelsea, located about 50 yards from our front door, and therefore sort of ‘local’
- the music was the entire album. ‘Frederick The Great – Music For The Berlin Court’, performed by the Academy for Ancient Music Berlin (only moments before we had finally determined the exact dates of our May and June idyll in Berlin, der Hauptstadt des alten Fritz.
We enjoyed a simple and leisurely cheese course, with thin slices of a Balthazar rye boule, and the remainder of the wine.
- the music was from a beautiful album of works by Johann Gottlieb Graun (1702–1771), a Brandenburg-born composer appointed to the court of the young Prussian prince years before Frederick became king, where he remained throughout his reign, as concertmaster, chamber musician, and director of the strings of the royal opera orchestra; Graun wrote 60 concertos for the violin alone, his own instrument as a virtuoso, over 100 symphonies, other concertos, and a great deal of chamber music