I love this fish, and have sung the praises of sea perch on this blog more than once before. The only hesitation I ever have in dealing with it comes while I pause to decide which recipe to use.
Last night I went with the one which involves anchovy, because the rest of the plate pretty much said ‘Mediterranean’.
- six red sea perch fillets (totaling 15 ounces) from American Pride Seafood Company, their stall in Chelsea’s Down to Earth Farmers Market on 23rd Street, brushed with 2 tablespoons of olive oil mixed with about a teaspoon of chopped ramp bulbs from Berried Treasures, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground Tellicherry pepper, placed inside an enameled cast iron pan and broiled skin side up, 4 or 5 inches from the flames, for about 4 minutes when the skin had become crisp and the fish cooked through, sauced with a bit of olive oil in which 3 salted anchovies from Buon Italia, rinsed and filleted, had been heated over a very low flame for about 5 minutes until the anchovies had fallen apart (the sauce had just been prepared, but I could have been done a little earlier and kept warm while waiting for the fish to cook), the fillets finished on the plates with chopped lovage from Keith’s Farm, lemon wedges served on the side
- four large cherry tomatoes from Alex’s Tomato Farm, via Chelsea’s Down to Earth Farmers Market, halved, gently warmed and slightly softened in a little olive in which a very small amount of chopped ramp bulbs from Berried Treasures Farm had been warmed until the allium had begun to be fragrant, sprinkled with torn leaves of basil from Stokes Farm
- one small head of treviso from Campo Rosso Farm, washed, the moisture drained or shaken off, halved lengthwise, most of the V of the root ends cut away (and immediately eaten by the cook, as I love chicory in any form), arranged cut side up on a medium Pampered Chef unglazed ceramic oven pan (after securing the leaves with toothpicks and/or string), covered with an abundance of thyme branches from Keith’s Farm, seasoned generously with sea salt and freshly-ground Tellicherry pepper, drizzled with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, baked in a pre-heated 400º oven for 12 minutes or so, turned over, returned to the oven for 8 or 9 minutes, then set cut side up again and drizzled with one more tablespoon of oil, then finished baking until the root was tender when pierced with a knife, or about 2 minutes more, arranged on the plates and sprinkled with a very little bit of balsamic vinegar
- the wine was an Italian (Langhe) white, Azienda Agricola Rivetti Massimo Aurelia Arneis Langhe 2015, from Chelsea Wine Vault
- the music was the album, ‘Musica Baltica’, Reinhard Goebel conducting Musica Antiqua Köln (basically, performances of music composed in the Baltic Sea Hanseatic courts during the seventeenth century)