We had learned we would probably have a guest from Berlin for Saturday dinner only the night before. I knew Nico has gotten excited before about the fish bounty available in the city, so it had to be piscatorial, which meant a trip to the Union Square Greenmarket Saturday morning.
By the time I got there tuna steaks of any proper size were gone, so I went with swordfish, which I knew would be almost as easy to put together, even if I expected to be distracted by a guest.
I didn’t have quite enough baby kale to serve 3, so while I was there I also looked for more of it, or maybe a different green, to accompany the fish. I didn’t find fresh kale, but I did find some good-looking Napa cabbage, a vegetable just different enough to commend itself to this meal.
The dinner began with sparkling wine and grissini.
- Mario Fongo ‘Il Panate’, Grissini con farina di riso nero ‘Artemide’, from Eataly
- the wine was a California (North Coast) sparkling, Eponina Brut North Coast NV, from Naked Wines
A salumi appetizer followed.
- about 4 ounces of local New York sweet coppa, from Georgio’s Salami, purchased at Eataly, served with upland cress from Two Guys from Woodbridge, both drizzled with a good olive oil from Campania: Syrenum D.O.P. Peninsula Sorrentina
- slices of a whole wheat Miche from Bread Alone
- the wine was an Italian (Piedmont) white, Villa Sparina Gavi 2015, from Chelsea Wine Vault
The main course was the swordfish, marinated, breaded, pan-grilled, and garnished, with gently-wilted seasoned/seasonal cabbage.
- three 7-ounce swordfish steaks, off of Scott Rucky’s fishing vessel, ‘Dakota’, from American Seafood Company in the Union Square Greenmarket, marinated for half an hour in a mixture of olive oil, chopped red thyme Phillips Farm, a very small amount of crushed dried Itria-Sirissi chili (peperoncino di Sardegna intero) from Buon Italia, and a tiny amount of chopped scallions from Norwich Meadows Farm, drained well, covered on both sides with a coating of homemade dried breadcrumbs, pan-grilled over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, removed, seasoned with a little sea salt, a little local sweet lemon juice from Fantastic gardens of Long Island squeezed on top, sprinkled with cut chives from Phillips Farm and drizzled with a little olive oil
- the white and light green parts of 3 or 4 scallions from Norwich Meadows Farm, sliced, and 2 chopped garlic cloves from John D. Madura Farm heated in one or 2 tablespoons of olive oil inside a large enameled cast iron pot over medium-hight heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic started to color, one 8 or 10-ounce Napa cabbage from Norwich Meadows Farm, chopped, half a teaspoon of sea salt, and a little freshly-ground black pepper added and sautéed for about a minute, a fourth or a third of a cup of water added, the cabbage covered and cooked until wilted (about 3 minutes), the scallions greens added and tossed with the cabbage, uncovered, for about 2 minutes, or until most of the water had evaporated and the cabbage tender
- the wine with the fish course was a Spanish (Galicia) white, Lolo Albariño Rias Baixas 2013, from Chelsea Wine Vault
There was a little cheese.
- the cheeses all from Consider Bardwell Farm, were, from the bottom,‘Manchester’ goat milk, ‘Bark’ cow cheese (“bloomy rind pasteurized, wrapped in spruce bark”, and aged in Brooklyn), and ‘Barden’ blue cow cheese
- a small mix of herbs not used in earlier courses
- slices of a ‘Westphalian Style Pumpernickel bread‘ from Chicago’s Rubschlager Bakery, via Schaller & Weber in Yorkville, Manhattan, and also more of the Bread Alone miche included with the salume, now sliced thinly and toasted
- the music throughout was by a composer of the Mannheim school (our guest was born in Mannheim), Carl Stamitz, Wind Symphonies, performed by Consortium Classicum