It’s a wonderful recipe, and it lends itself to some subtle variations(and maybe some less than subtle, but I haven’t gone there yet). This time I included dried habanada peppers, as I had at least once in the past, but I finished it with a small fresh green I had only encountered once before, garlic mustard.
Stinging nettles, the accompaniment last night, aren’t new to me, but they are rare, and not just in my kitchen.
Both the garlic mustard and the nettles were foraged, which is pretty special when considering that they found their way into a meal prepared in a home kitchen in the center of a great metropolis.
- a large rectangular enameled cast iron pan heated on top of the stove until quite hot, its cooking surface brushed with olive oil, and once the oil was also quite hot, one pound of rinsed and carefully dried squid from P.E. & D.D. Seafood, mostly bodies but a few tentacles, quickly arranged inside, immediately sprinkled with some super-pungent dried Sicilian oregano from Buon Italia, part of one dried Sicilian pepperoncino, also from Buon Italia, and an entire section of a home-dried heatless, orange Habanada pepper (the fresh peppers had been purchased from Norwich Meadows Farm last fall), some sea salt and freshly-ground Tellicherry pepper, followed by a drizzle of a few tablespoons of juice from a local lemon from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island, and some olive oil, the pan placed inside a pre-heated 400º oven and roasted for only 5 minutes, then removed, the squid distributed onto 2 plates, ladled with a bit of their cooking juices, which had been transferred into a sauce pitcher, and scattered with a little roughly-chopped garlic mustard [Brit: ‘Jack-by-the-hedge’], both flowers and the smaller, more tender leaves, from Windfall Farms
- half a dozen bulbs selected our of a bunch of ramps from Berried Treasures Farm, chopped, heated inside a large enameled cast iron pot along with a little Sicilian pepperoncino until they were fragrant and beginning to soften, then a bunch of stinging nettles from Norwich Meadows Farm, leaves stripped from their stems, added and sautéed over medium high heat, stirred almost continuously until the greens had withered, seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground Tellicherry pepper, some roughly-chopped ramp leaves mixed into the nettles, and a tablespoon or so of the local sweet lemon juice described earlier added to the pot, the greens arranged on the plates and drizzled with olive oil
- a few slices of ’12 Grain & Seed bread’ from Bread Alone, in the Union Square Greenmarket, were added to the table to ensure that none of the piquant squid juices would remain on the plates
- the wine was a Spanish (Galicia) white, Pionero Mundi Albariño Rias Baixas 2015, from Chelsea Wine Vault
- the music was Kimmo Hakola’s 1996 Piano Concerto, performed by soloist Henri Sigfridsson, the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by John Storgårds