Blewits. They’re foraged, so they are ‘game’, as far as I’m concerned. Not an everyday find. When I spotted them in the Union Square Greenmarket on Saturday I knew they were special, and that I had to have some, but I didn’t know what I was going to do with them. I only took about half of those seen in the picture above, so I wasn’t going to be able to stretch their goodness too far; I decided they would define a small pasta primi, and I knew just the one.
There were just enough to sauce a small portion of a good pasta, here a Sfoglini reginetti.
And then there was something closer to what most people understand as ‘game’ (or at least as close as Americans are allowed to come to eating ‘wild’).
I love quail. we both love quail.
For our secondo I defrosted 4 semi-boneless Georgia birds I had waiting in the freezer compartment, and roasted the last of a mostly-chicory bounty from Campo Rosso Farm that had been included in a ‘take home’ from a recent farm dinner at Untitled.
- two and a half ounces of foraged Blewits from Windfall Farms, chopped, sweated a bit, dry, inside a heavy tin-lined copper pan, before olive oil was added, a very small bit at a time, stirring, until the pan and mushrooms were moist with it, after which the Blewits were cooked until lightly golden brown, a very small amount of chopped shallot from S. & S.O. Produce Farms, a little sea salt, and chopped fresh sage from Phillips Farm after that, the mix cooked for a minute or so, deglazed/seasoned with drops of a good Spanish Rioja vinegar, and after the heat was turned off, softened butter added and stirred in until melted, 4 ounces of Sfoglini ‘Whole Grain Blend Reginetti’, cooked al dente, added to the pan, and tossed with the sauce, garnished with some more chopped sage
- slices of a delicious loaf of whole wheat sourdough miche from Bread Alone
- the wine was an Oregon (Rogue Valley) red, Foris Vineyards Rogue Valley Gewürztraminer Oregon 2014, from Chelsea Wine Vault
- four partially-boned (which is a treat for both cook and diners) Plantation Quail, from Greensboro, Georgia, purchased at O. Ottomanelli & Sons Prime Meat Market on Bleecker Street, dried on paper towels and rubbed with sea salt and most of one crumbled dried peperoncino from Buon Italia, placed breast side down over medium-high heat on a two-burner cast iron ribbed pan, a number of sprigs of fresh thyme from Keith’s Farm scattered over each, grilled for about 5 minutes, turned and, ensuring that they were now resting on top of the thyme, grilled for another 5 minutes, served with a drizzle of olive oil and a pat of the same composed butter served with the venison a few days before placed on top while they were still warm
- one medium head of radicchio from Campo Rosso Farm, quartered, 2 toothpicks stuck into each quarter to hold its shape, placed in a medium unglazed ceramic oven pan (Pampered Chef, already well-seasoned long ago), drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper, roasted at 400º for about 15 minutes, turning once, finished with a small amount of balsamic vinegar, and, once on the 2 plates, scattered with shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano Vacche Rosse from Buon Italia
- the wine was an Italian (Puglia) red, Schola Sarmenti Roccamora 2013, our last bottle from our wonderful former neighbors of Appellation Wines, which was forced to close when their rent skyrocketed, and was unable to relocate a few blocks north because the State Liquor Authority ruled that another wine store in the area was not in the public interest
- the music throughout was Jordi Savall’s album, ‘Granada 1013-1502‘, recorded in 2013 and produced earlier this year