Because we really like this fish, and because it doesn’t show up there very often, it was the John Dory that came home with me from the fishers’ stall in the Greenmarket yesterday. Also, although I had forgotten until that evening, there was another reason to enjoy it, especially on a night before we had to set our morning alarm for 5:15 (ouch): It doesn’t take long to prepare.
While this particular recipe does ask that the fillets sit for half an hour in a (quickly-assembled) marinade, that interval was exactly what I needed to prepare the vegetables that would accompany it.
While there was still a week to go in February, the temperature on Wednesday had soared to 78º, and I really didn’t want to turn on the oven for any vegetables I had planned to serve with the fish. The tomatoes would be no problem, but I don’t remember ever having cooked Brussels sprouts on top of the stove. My solution worked very well: the sweet little cruciferae tasted at least as good as they look in the picture above.
- three John Dory fillets (15 ounces) from American Seafood Company, one of them halved in order to serve 2 people, marinated inside and then outside the refrigerator for about 30 minutes in a mix of half a clove of Rocambole crushed garlic from Keith’s Farm, one teaspoon or more of chopped thyme from Westside Market, the juice and zest from roughly a quarter of an organic Whole Foods Market lemon, half a teaspoon of walnut oil, sea salt, and freshly-ground black pepper, placed skin-side down first inside a large heavy, tin-lined copper skillet that had been heated over medium-high heat with enough olive oil to coat the surface, the heat immediately reduced slightly, the fillets cooked for just 2 minutes on each side, removed and arranged on warm plates, sprinkled with a bit of micro mustard from Windfall Farms
- four halved Backyard Farms Maine ‘cocktail tomatoes’ from Whole Foods Market, placed cut sides down in a little olive oil that had been warmed inside a small 19th-century enamel-lined iron porringer, heated on both sides, sprinkled with a little sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, removed and arranged next to the John Dory, sprinkled with the smallest leaves out of a bag of red-veined sorrel from Windfall Farms
- Brussels sprouts from Phillips Farms, trimmed, where necessary, cut in half top to bottom, placed cut sides down inside a large, very heavy, seasoned cast iron skillet, pre-heated over medium-high flame once the skillet was just short of smoking, the heat reduced to medium, seared on that side until well browned, or about 3 minutes, turned over and cooked on the rounded side, also until nicely browned, and tender, or another 3 or 4 minutes, removed and seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- the wine was a California (Sonoma) white, Jacqueline Bahue Carte Blanche Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma Valley 2016 from Naked Wines
- the music was that of an almost exact contemporary of Mozart, Johann Christoph Vogel, his Symphonies 1, 2, and 3, all published in 1784, Reinhard Goebel conducting the Bavarian Chamber Philharmonic