I’ve said before that I don’t think Tilefish is very well known here, and that still seems surprising, since, above everything else it has great flavor and it remains a very good bargain. Tilefish has a mild, sweet flavor, apparently shaped by what it largely feeds upon at the bottom of the Continental Shelf, and that includes crab, shrimp, and snails.
Tilefish catches, off Long Island at least, also seem to get high marks for sustainability, an additional encouragement, and the fish that I bring home always comes from small boats, not factories.
I’ve included this information while assuming that the Golden Tilefish, or Lopholatilus chamaelonticeps, pictured below, is the species whose fillets I purchased at the Greenmarket on Friday:
- three tablespoons of Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter allowed to melt inside a tin-lined oval copper au gratin pan in a 475ª oven until barely browned, 3 or 4 roughly-chopped ramp leaves and at least 3 tablespoons of 6 chopped herbs (rosemary from Stokes Farm, sage from S. & S.O. Produce Farm, parsley from Norwich Meadows Farm, dill and mint from Phillips Farm, and thyme from Eataly) scattered around the pan, 2 fillets of tilefish (7 ounces each) from Blue Moon Fish Company, rinsed, dried, seasoned with salt and freshly-ground Tellicherry pepper, placed inside, skinned side down, then roasted, turning once, for about 12 minutes, or until done, removed to the plates, sauced with the pan juices
- six Backyard Farms Maine ‘cocktail tomatoes’ from Whole Foods, halved, warmed in a little olive oil with some chopped wild garlic (bulbs and stems) from Lani’s Farm, seasoned with salt and freshly-ground pepper, sprinkled with scissored chives from Stokes Farm and garnished with a bit of some remaining chopped mixed herbs
- a small bunch of collards from Norwich Meadows Farm and a smaller amount of upland cress from Paffenroth Gardens, torn into small sections (most of the stems were tender enough to include in the cooking), washed several times and drained, transferred to a smaller bowl very quickly, in order to retain as much of the water clinging to them as possible, wilted inside a heavy oval enameled cast iron pot in which 4 small garlic cloves from from Lucky Dog Organic Farm had first been allowed to sweat in a bit of olive oil, a little crushed dried Sicilian pepperoncino from Buon Italia along with them, the greens finished with a little salt, freshly-ground pepper, a bit of sweet local lemon juice from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island, and a drizzle of olive oil
- the wine was a California (Sonoma) white, ROX Scott Peterson Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2015 from Naked Wines
- the music was Mozart’s Symphonies Nos. 21 and 23, plus Johann Christian Bach’s Symphony in G Minor, Op. 6, No. 6, and Grand Overtures, Op. 18, all performed by Academy for Ancient Music Berlin