This is the meal I referred to in my previous post, the dinner I described as less than simple and less than minimal, at least in the context of my usual practice.
I’m no longer sure how I came upon the recipe. It may be that my mind started wandering after I had seen ‘Sea Robin’ on Blue Moon Seafood’s ‘available today’ board. The folks tweet a photo of it early each day they’re at a New York greenmarket. It helps me plan a meal (as long as I get there early enough, before my choice has been sold out). This week however they only had whole ‘Robins’. But I wasn’t anxious to work on the fish that hard, even if $1.50/lb is a mighty good price – for virtually anything!
Somehow I had already come across the ‘Cooking in Sens‘ site, where I noticed that the author’s recipe for Scorpion Fish (aka Sea Robin) included ingredients which I already had, which I was maybe anxious to use very soon, or which I just wanted to experience for the first time.
I was intrigued, and I decided I could work with ‘Scorpion Fish Fillets with Yellow Zucchini‘, using, as it turned out, a fish which is almost as low on the affordability scale as the one she had designated. The Porgy however had the good sense to come fully cleaned.
The result was a good meal, but sort of compromised by my feelings about its relative complexity; it was not really the kind of cooking I prefer, or the kind of dish either of us prefers, especially with a delicate fish.
It was what I could expect from a competent restaurant, and while that doesn’t sound like disapproval, and I don’t mean it to, the dish didn’t really seem to belong in our kitchen, where I try for an emphasis on simplicity and taking minimal steps, relying on the quality of the ingredients probably more than most cooks can, since I have both the time and the access to a magnificent local bounty.
I followed the recipe pretty closely, only substituting a few things, adding one or two.
- 6 porgy fillets (2.5-oz each) from Blue Moon Fish Company; Japanese scallions from Norwich Meadows Farm instead of shallots; yellow ‘Goldbar’ zucchini from Sycamore Farms; sweet coppa (capocollo) from Eataly; Mexican limes from Trader Joe’s; ‘Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter‘ from Whole Foods; most of one small red Calabrian chili pepper from Campo Rosso Farm; a drizzle of Ponti ‘Glassa Gastronomica’ (a heavily-reduced balsamic vinegar glaze); and micro scallions from Two Guys from Woodbridge
- an absolutely beautiful and superb ‘braising mix’ of greens from Keith’s Farm, barely wilted in a little olive oil, seasoned with Maldon salt, freshly-ground Tellicherry pepper
- the wine was a French (Rhône) white, Domaine Isle Saint Pierre Blanc Vin De France 2015
- the music was Roman Haubenstock-Ramati’s album, ‘Konstellationen’