I’ve only myself to blame for not being more creative more often. Much of the time I start dinner so late there’s not enough time left to think about or execute a new plan for familiar ingredients. This was one of those times, but fortunately I had other items on hand to make a familiar entrée at least a little quirky.
Unusual, by recent practice, absolutely no micro greens were needed to add visual or taste excitement to anything that reached the plates last night.
It was all pretty luscious.
- two 7-ounce sea bass fillets from Pura Vida Fisheries, dredged in seasoned flour, then dipped in a bowl with one egg from Millport Dairy Farm which had been whipped with a few tablespoons of chopped parsley from Norwich Meadows Farm, sautéed inside a large oval copper pan above a fairly brisk flame for a couple minutes in a mixture of butter and olive oil, skin side down, turned, left for about one more minute, or until the fish was cooked through (the time varies slightly with the size of the fillets and the height of the flame), the fillets removed from the pan to the plates and sprinkled with a bit of organic lemon, kept as warm as possible, the heat turned off, and a bit of oil and/or butter added to the pan, thin wedges of a small fennel bulb from Lucky Dog Organic Farm which had already been sautéed until soft in another pan (and combined near the end with one chopped heatless Habanada pepper from Norwich Meadows Farm) introduced into and pushed around in the warm pan along with a generous sprinkling of chopped fennel fronds, the fennel and sauce then drizzled next to and onto the fish, which was finished with a little more, fresh, chopped fennel
- a modest amount of very sweet late-season purple/green collards from Tamarack Hollow Farm, cut as a very rough chiffonade, braised in a heavy pot in which 2 small cloves of lightly-crushed garlic from Race Farm had been allowed to sweat with some olive oil, the dish finished with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil
- the wine was a California (Lodi) white, F. Stephen Millier Angels Reserve Chardonnay 2014
There was also Schnaps. After the table had been cleared, we decided to listen to the end of the opera we had been enjoying all evening. We poured out the little that was left from a small bottle of a superb Oregon eau de vie that I remembered ws sitting somewhere in the refrigerator door. It was Clear Creek Distillery’s Douglas Fir Brandy, which was inspired by the Alsatian, Eau de Vie de Bourgeons de Sapin [clear brandy of fir buds]. A 2009 New York Times piece, ‘The Pursuit and Pleasures of the Pure Spirit‘, provides the context for the inspiration and production of the distillery’s founder, Steve McCarthy.