Yes, the meal began with a few oysters.
- eight oysters from the south shore of eastern Long Island, from American Seafood Company, described by the fish monger, when I asked for a name, as close to Blue Points, served on the half shell with nothing else but bread
- slices of a crusty mini baguette from Bread Alone
The images I took of the main course didn’t make the cut, so I’m only uploading some ‘before’ pictures of the sea bass, the garnish, and the vegetables, beginning with the sea bass as I found it in their bucket at the Union Square Greenmarket that afternoon, and then the two chosen ones resting on a platter before they were prepared for cooking.
The next images are of the egg used to coat the fillets, after it was whipped with some chopped parsley; the pea greens ,as they appeared in the market, that garnished the bass once it was on the plates; the halved potatoes, before they went into the oven; and the beautiful tender collards that accompanied the other ingredients.
- two 8-ounce fillets of black sea bass from Pura Vida Fisheries, dredged in some seasoned coarse stone-ground flour which had been spread across a plate, then dipped in a mixture of one Americauna chicken egg from Millport Dairy Farm which had been whipped with a few tablespoons of chopped parsley parsley from Westside Market, the fish sautéed for a couple of minutes in a mixture of butter and olive oil inside a vintage heavy, oval tin-lined copper pan, skin side down first, then turned, sautéed for another couple of minutes (until the fish was cooked through; the time will vary each time with the size of the fillets and the height of the flame), removed from the pan and the heat now turned off, placed on 2 warm plates, and what juices remained in the pan were scattered with some pea greens from Windfall Farms and pushed around with a wooden spatula for a moment, greens and juices then divided onto the top of the fillets, finishing with a squeeze of an organic lemon from Whole Foods, and dressed with more pea greens
- four oval medium Nicola potatoes from Hawthorne Valley Farm, scrubbed, halved unpeeled, tossed with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, a little picante Spanish paprika, a large pinch of dark home-dried habanada pepper, arranged cut side down on a small Pampered Chef unglazed ceramic pan, roasted at about 375º-400º for about 20 or 25 minutes, roasted at about 375º for about 20 or 25 minutes, arranged on the plates and sprinkled with chopped winter savory from Stokes Farm
- one bunch/spray of tender collard greens from Eckerton Hill Farm that had been grown in their greenhouse (it was still January), washed twice, drained, some of the water retained and held aside, to be added as the greens cooked, if necessary (it wasn’t this time) cut roughly, braised until gently wilted inside a heavy vintage, high-sided, tin-lined copper pot in which one halved Rocambole garlic from Keith’s Farm had been allowed to sweat over a low flame with some olive oil, finished with sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and a small drizzle of olive oil
- the wine was a French (Savoie) white, Denis & Didier Berthollier, Chignin Vieilles Vignes, 2015, from Flatiron Wines & Spirits
- the music was Helmut Lachenmann’s ‘Tanzsuite mit Deutschlandlied’, composed for string quartet and orchestra, performed by the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jonathan Nott, and the Arditti Quartet