This dinner was pretty simple, very straightforward, both for the ingredients and, at least for me, their treatment.
The second thing I think worth mentioning is the fact that that this does not look like a December meal: Everything on that table that is fresh (fish, vegetables, herbs, fruit, cheeses [actually, only 3 of the 4], and the bread) came from local farmers trading in the Union Square Greenmarket during the last few days. Only the salt, pepper, olive oil, fennel seeds, dried pepper, and the wine (out of the picture) were not local.
Even the wine we chose might be considered out of such with the season: It was a rosé, one which we have enjoyed a number of times, although normally in warmer months than this one.
- one 12-ounce tuna steak from American Seafood at Chelsea’s ‘Down to Earth Farmers Market’ (one block west of us on 23rd Street), cut into 2 pieces, tops and bottoms rubbed with a mixture of a tablespoon of dry Italian fennel seed and a little crushed dried Itria-Sirissi chilis (peperoncino di Sardegna intero) from Buon Italia, the two having been ground together with mortar and pestle, the surfaces of the tuna additionally seasoned with salt and pepper before they were pan-grilled for only a little more than a minute or so on each side and finished with both a good squeeze of the juice of some tiny local lemons from Fantastic Gardens of New Jersey and a drizzle of olive oil
- ten or 12 cherry tomatoes from Alex’s Tomato Farm, in Carlisle, NY, purchased that day at Chelsea’s ‘Down to Earth Farmers Market’, halved, rolled in a little olive oil above a low flame, seasoned with salt and pepper, arranged on the plates next to the tuna and sprinkled with leaves removed from a Full Bloom Market Garden basil plant from Whole Foods, torn
- flat green pole beans from Norwich Meadows Farm, blanched, drained and dried, then reheated in a heavy cast iron pan with olive oil in which 3 chopped thin scallions from Norwich Meadows Farm had first been softened over a low flame, then finished with salt, pepper, and chopped winter savory from Stokes Farm
There was a cheese course.
- the cheeses were, from left to right in the picture, ‘Herve Mons’ Ovalie Cendrée (Poitou-Charentes) goat cheese from Whole Foods; Consider Bardwell Farm’s ‘Reconsider’, which is a one-time event: a cow cheese finished in their ‘Manchester’ goat cheese cave; Consider Bardwell Farm’s ‘Dorset’ cow cheese; and a yet-untitled Consider Bardwell blue goat cheese
- thin toasts from a French sourdough Levain from Bread Alone
- the wine throughout the meal was a California (Lodi) rosé, Karen Birmingham Rosé Lodi 2015
- the music, before, during, and after the meal, was Mozart’s 1775 opera, ‘La Finta Giardiniera’, René Jacobs directing the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra