The skate is an excellent fish, and not unfamiliar to most people interested in eating fish, but this recipe is nothing like the one with which most are familiar (you folks know the one I mean). I’m crazy about the treatment I’ve now used a number of times: It’sdelicious, I can easily vary it, and it looks more complicated than it actually is. There’s also that thing I wrote about it 2 years back: “Dredging this extremely tender fish with polenta, rather than flour, gives it real presence while protecting its delicacy. It wasn’t my invention, but rather Mila‘s.”
The very fresh vegetables were even more simple, and as delicious as they were colorful.
- two 7-ounce skate wings from Blue Moon Fish, coated all over with a coarse polenta seasoned with salt and pepper, sautéed in olive oil (and a bit of butter) for 3 or so minutes on each side in a heavy round copper skillet (the only difficult part of this recipe is turning them over without breaking them up, and it helps if they don’t quite fill the pan use use), removed, about 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter, one small shallot from John D. Madura Farm, 2 thin scallions from Race Farm, and 2 small cloves of garlic from Willow Wisp Farm, all sliced or chopped, introduced into it and stirred over a now-lowered flame, followed by the addition of a little more butter, the juice from half of a lemon and some chopped lovage from Keith’s Farm, and stirring for a bit, finishing on the plates with a scattering of micro purple radish greens from Two Guys From Woodbridge
- a large handful of ‘The Best Cherry Tomatoes’ from Stokes Farm, halved, mixed with a bit of an excellent olive oil (D.O.P. Penisola Sorrentina ‘Syrenum), salt, pepper, chopped tarragon form Stokes Farm, torn basil from Campo Rosso Farm, and a dash of white balsamic vinegar
- small okra from Kernan Farms, sautéed over a high flame in a large cast iron pan with a little olive oil and a good part of one small red Calabrian pepper from Campo Rosso Farm, seasoned with sea salt
- the wine was a California (Sonoma) white, Scott Peterson Rumpus California Sauvignon Blanc 2015, from Naked Wines
- the music was from an extraordinary recording of wonderful music played magnificently, ‘The Sons of Bach’, performed, variously, by the Freiburg Bach Orchestra, the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra Consort, and the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra; two pieces in particular stood out as incredibly exciting, music far more vital than I had thought the early classical era could produce: Wilhelm Friedemann Bach‘s ‘Concerto for Harpsichord in E Minor, F 43, from 1767; and Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach‘s Sinfonia in E minor, Wq 178/H 653, from 1756