We often eat so late that I haven’t wanted to extend meals later than they already run with just one course. Still, I’ve been trying to fit in an appetizer course again, and on Tuesday it finally happened.
I realize only as I write this, probably because there was so much else going on in this meal, that both courses were dominated by ‘smoky’ ingredients.
- four ounces of smoked monkfish from Blue Moon Fish, brought to our dining room temperature, sliced thinly and arranged on 2 plates with a mound of red dandelion from Paffenroth Farms which had been drizzled with a very good olive oil, sprinkled with a pinch of Maldon salt and some freshly-ground black pepper; served with a sauce composed of Sir Kensington’s plain, Classic Mayonnaise (which is made by some ex-Brown students; their headquarters are in SoHo), lemon zest and juice from an organic Trader Joe’s lemon, chopped lovage from Keith’s Farm, the very last of the fresh fennel seed from Berried Treasures, sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and micro sorrel from Two Guys from Woodbridge
- slices of Elio’s Bakery Portuguese whole wheat bread from West Side Market
The main course was a rich pasta dish, featuring a dried, artisanal form we enjoyed for the first time.
- three thickly-sliced ‘scarlet’ or Japanese scallions and one half of a small chopped red onion, both from Norwich Meadows Farm, sautéed in a little olive oil side a large, high-sided tin-lined copper pot until they had begun to color, half of a small bright red Calabrian medium hot cherry pepper from Alewife Farm stirred in near the end, followed by most of one fresh habanada pepper, chopped, also from Norwich Meadows Farm, and one fennel bulb from Hawthorne Valley Farm, its wedges, sliced radiating from the core, having just been pan grilled, that mix then joined by 6 ounces (dry weight) of a package of a smoky Agricola del Sole ‘Orecchiette di Grano Arsopasta‘ [Eng. ‘burnt grain’], from Eataly, cooked al dente, along with some of reserved pasta water, the ‘little ears’ moved about on the surface of the pot over a medium flame until the liquid had emulsified into a decent sauce, which was combined, after the flame under the pot was turned off, with thin slices of one perfectly-ripe mahogany-colored heirloom tomato from Berried Treasures Farm that had been slipped into the mix and then barely moved about, the finished pasta scooped into 2 shallow bowls, finished with a drizzle of olive oil and some more chopped fennel fronds
There was fruit for a finish, shown here on the table of the farmer’s stall.
- Somerset grapes from Alex’s Tomato Farm at the Saturday Chelsea Down to Earth Farmers Market on 23rd Street
- the wine throughout was an Italian (Campania) white, Feudi di San Gregorio Greco di Tufo 2015, from Garnet Wines
- the music was Purcell’s 1689 opera, ‘Dido and Aeneas’ (one of my favorite operas from any period, even after having played my LP of excerpts over and over in the 50s and 60s), in a magnificent performance René Jacobs conducting the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment