I’m back, even though yesterday I had just said I didn’t have time to do these posts this week. You can ignore this one if you wish (although that probably wouldn’t be a good idea). I’m really only publishing it so that I can remember to do this preparation again.
It was really, really good. I’m calling it for the habanada peppers.
- eighteen medium scallops from the American Seafood Company stand in Chelsea’s Down to Earth Farmers Market on 23rd Street, washed, drained and very thoroughly dried on paper towels, generously seasoned with salt and pepper, pan grilled for about 90 seconds on each side, finished with a squeeze of organic Trader Joe’s lemon, arranged on the plates with a scattering of horizontally-sliced fresh habanada peppers from Norwich Meadows Farm and 8 halved sun gold tomatoes from Berried Treasures Farm that had been softened, in succession, in a little olive oil inside a small Pyrex pan, finished with a sprinkling of chopped tarragon from Willow Wisp Farm and drizzled with some more olive oil
- one bunch of extraordinarily tender, very sweet flowering broccoli rabe from Echo Creek Farm, which also has a stand in Chelsea’s Down to Earth Farmers Market, wilted inside a large, heavy tin-lined copper pot with olive oil in which some very good red pepper flakes (remaining from the delivery of an excellent Waldy’s Wood Fired Pizza a few days earlier) had just been heated, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, arranged on the plates and drizzled with olive oil
- sections broken off of an Orwashers white baguette, again, from their stand in Chelsea’s Down to Earth Farmers Market (it was a very humid afternoon, and the crust had wilted, so I freshened the loaf just before dinner by heating it in the oven at 400º for 2 minutes)
- the wine was an Italian (Sicily) white, Corvo Bianco 2015, from Philippe Liquors and Wines
- the music was Henry Purcell’s 1692 “semi-opera”, ‘The Fairy Queen’, Nikolaus Harnoncourt directing the Vienna Concentus Musicus and the Arnold Schoenberg Choir
Made in heaven, when we weren’t even paying that much attention.
This simple looking dish of pasta far exceeded both of our expectations.
I haven’t been posting on this blog lately, because we’ve been very busy trying to get the apartment ready for friends who will be staying here while we are in their Berlin apartment. I’m making an exception for last night’s meal, because it was extraordinarily good (the flavors amazingly balanced), because it was pretty much an accident (I mostly trying to just put together something for dinner using fresh supplies that were otherwise going to be wasted), and because it was very much a collaboration with Barry (there was a real conversation throughout its development).
If you have access to the ingredients, and if you can take a few minutes to reproduce what we did, you will probably never forget this meal. If it helps, I can’t imagine why almost any smoked fish wouldn’t work just as well as the monkfish that I happened to have in the refrigerator.
- part of one medium-size leek from Hawthorne Valley Farm, thinly-sliced, and a small sliced shallot from Trader Joe’s Market sautéedin 4 ounces of olive oil inside a large, high-sided tin-lined copper pan for 4 minutes, the juice from 2 small Trader Joe’s organic lemons added and the pan kept over heat for another 2 or 3 minutes, stirring, the flame then reduced to low and a pinch of sea salt, some very good red pepper flakes (remaining from the delivery of an excellent Waldy’s Wood Fired Pizza a few days earlier), plus 4 or 5 chopped fresh medium-size habanada peppers from Norwich Meadows Farm stirred into the sauce until both hot and sweet peppers had become pungent, 8 or 9 ounces of Afeltra Pasta di Gragnano Spaghetto from Eataly, cooked until barely al dente, added, along with – pouring very gradually while blending – almost a cup of reserved pasta water, continuing to stir until it had emulsified, one thinly-sliced 2-ounce piece of smoked monkfish from Blue Moon Fish added and tossed with the sauced spaghetto, the dish transferred to low serving bowls, drizzled with a little olive oil around the edge, sprinkled with lemon zest and more red pepper flakes, and garnished with homemade toasted breadcrumbs
- the wine was a good Italian (Alto Adige) white wine, St. Michael-Eppan Pinot Grigio 2015, from Philippe Liquors and Wine
- the music was from the album, ‘Piano Music from the Weimar Republic’, featuring works by Hanns Eisler and Ernst Krenek, performed by Elizabeth Klein
Pork chops, Turkish eggplant, red cress. We may have been among a very small number of people, anywhere in the world, who enjoyed this combination for dinner last night. If it belongs to any particular cuisine, I’d say it’s that of the perpetually-evolving Union Square Greenmarket cookery.
I also brought home some bronze fennel on Saturday, and I knew it would go somewhere in the meal that was evolving in my head.
- two thick 10-ounce pork chops from Flying Pigs Farm, thoroughly dried, seasoned with sea salt and a generous amount of freshly-ground black pepper, seared quickly on both sides inside a very hot, heavy oval enameled cast-iron pan, half of an organic lemon from Trader Joe’s Market squeezed over both, after which the lemon was left on the pan surface between the chops, which was then placed inside a 400º oven for about 13-14 minutes (flipped halfway through, the lemon squeezed over the top once again, and replaced in the pan), the finished chops removed from the oven and arranged on 2 plates, some of the pan juices poured over the top of the chops, the remainder poured into a sauce boat for use at the table, garnished with bronze fennel fronds from Campo Rosso Farm
- eight small Turkish eggplants, possibly the last of the season, judging from their ripeness, from Norwich Meadows Farm, each cut horizontally into 3 or more slices [although I should have sliced them less thinly], mixed with a little olive oil, one large chopped Rocambole garlic clove from Keith’s Farm, sea salt, and freshly-ground black pepper, pan-grilled on an enameled cast iron ribbed pan over a brisk flame, turning once or twice, 2 chopped scarlet of Japanese scallions from Norwich Meadows Farm and 8 pitted and halved Kalamata olives added near the end, tossed in a bowl with chopped mint leaves from Alex’s Tomato Farm, arranged on the plates, and drizzled with olive oil
- red watercress from Max Fish Hatchery, washed, drained, dried, and dressed with a bit of good Puglian olive oil, Alce Nero DOP ‘Terra di Bari Bitonto, from the Flatiron Eataly Market, Maldon salt, and freshly-ground black pepper
- the wine was a South African (Western Cape) rosé, Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2016, from Philippe Liquors and Wine
- the music was Agostino Steffani’s ‘Niobe, Regina di Tebe’, in a 2015 performance by the Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra, under the direction of Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs; the opera premiered at the Munich court theatre during Carnival, in 1688