fennel seed/chili-grilled tuna; garlic/mint-grilled eggplant

It was a simple meal, and easily assembled, but very, very good.

  • one 13-ounce tuna steak from Blue Moon Seafood Company in the Union Square Greenmarket (caught on Scott Rucky’s fishing vessel, ‘Dakota’), halved, rubbed with on the tops and bottoms with a mixture of a heaping tablespoon of wonderful dry Sicilian fennel seed from Buon Italia and a little crushed dried peperoncino Calabresi secchi from Buon Italia, the two having been ground together with mortar and pestle, the tuna sections also seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground Tellicherry pepper before they were pan-grilled (for only a little more than a minute or so on each side) and finished on the plates with a good squeeze of the juice of an organic lemon from Whole Foods Market and a bit of micro scallion from Two Guys from Woodbridge draped over the fish before, some olive oil drizzled on top
  • eight small eggplants (a round orange ‘Turkish’ variety from Norwich Meadows Farm, the others from Alewife Farm), each cut horizontally into 2 or 3 slices, mixed with a little olive oil, a 2 finely-chopped garlic cloves from Norwich Meadows Farm, sea salt, and freshly-ground Tellicherry pepper, pan-grilled on an enameled cast iron ribbed pan over a brisk flame, turning once or twice, sprinkled with chopped peppermint leaves from Norwich Meadows Farm, arranged on the two plates on top of a small amount of sliced fennel from Alewife Farm (also pan grilled), drizzled with a bit of olive oil
  • the wine was a French (Chinon) rosé, Jean-Maurice Raffault Chinon Rosé 2016, from Chelsea Wine Vault
  • the music was Handel’s 1712/1720 opera, ‘Radamisto’, Nicholaas McGegan conducting the Freiburger Barockorchester, with Juliana Gondek, Lisa Saffer, Dana Hanchard, Monica Frimmer, Michael Dean, Nicolas Cavallier, and Ralf Popken