I would be completely satisfied with the wonderful variety of seafood we have off our own shores (with a little help from shrimp and trout farmers) if it weren’t for the fact that the order octopada isn’t included.
When we are able to enjoy this delicacy, either we or the octopuses have to get on a plane* to make it possible.
- four 3 or 4-ounce previously-frozen baby Spanish octopuses (.83 pounds), from our neighborhood Lobster Place, marinated in the refrigerator and then on the kitchen counter for about an hour (the original recipe suggested 2 or 3 hours) in a mixture of 1/4 cup olive oil; one teaspoon of dried Italian oregano from the Madonie Mountains in Sicily; the zest and juice of half of an organic Whole Foods lemon; 1/4 teaspoon of crushed peperoncino Calabresi secchia from Buon Italia; 1/2 teaspoon of salt; and the green part of a spring garlic stem, chopped thinly, the octopus removed from the mix, drained a bit and pan-grilled over a high flame for 10 or 12 minutes mouth/beak side down first, then placed on 2 of its sides (optionally, with a piece of aluminum foil loosely covering the grill pan throughout because of their moderate thickness in this case), served with a squeeze of the same lemon and some olive oil, and garnished with chopped fresh oregano from Neversink Farm
- Pinto potatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, boiled with a generous amount of salt until barely cooked through, drained, halved, dried while still inside the large, still-warm vintage Corning Pyrex Flameware blue-glass pot in which they had cooked, tossed with a tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and some micro chervil from Two Guys from Woodbridge
- six halved Backyard Farms Maine ‘cocktail tomatoes’ from Whole Foods Market, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, heated gently, face down, then turned, inside a medium copper skillet, garnished with micro bronze fennel from Two Guys from Woodbridge
* I’m assuming octopuses fly to get here.
Our Sunday egg regimen was moved to Monday this week, and it was simplified slightly along the way. In the interest of getting a (relatively) early start on our visit to the Whitney, I went easy on the condiments, and I skipped the bacon. I was rewarded, for the first time in weeks, with rich perky egg yolks that didn’t break before they were asked to.
Because it was Monday and not Sunday, we accompanied ourselves with the very secular John Cage.
- the ingredients included Americauna chicken eggs from Millport Dairy Farm fried in Organic Valley ‘Cultured Pasture Butter’ and sprinkled with chives from Lani’s Farm; Backyard Farms Maine ‘cocktail tomatoes’ from Whole Foods Market heated in Whole Food Market Spanish (‘Seville’) house olive oil, sprinkled with chopped sage from Stokes Farm; Maldon salt; freshly-ground black pepper seasoning both the eggs and the tomatoes; the plate garnished with micro chervil from Two Guys from Woodbridge, with toast slices from a loaf of Twelve Grain & Seed bread from Bread Alone
- the music was John Cage, a good part of his long ’44 Harmonies from Apartment House 1776′
It was Memorial Day weekend, so I made an attempt to observe the holiday that once celebrated the countless dead in our many wars but which now marks the beginning of the summer season.
On Sunday night we had steak and French fries, with a tomato salad, or, to be more precise, seared and sautéed culotte steaks and rutabaga oven fries with something more like a sweet and sour tomato salsa.
- two 7-ounce culotte steaks from Sunfed (grain finished) from Greg and Mike of Sun Fed Beef/Maple Avenue Farms in the Union Square Greenmarket, brought to room temperature, seasoned on all sides with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, seared briefly on the top, or thick fat-covered side (much of the fat is rendered in the cooking, and the rest just makes the steak taste wonderful), inside an oval enameled cast iron pan, then cooked for 3 or 4 minutes on each side to rare-to-medium-rare, after which the narrow bottom side was seared, very briefly, the steaks removed from the pan, placed on the plates, juice from an organic Whole Foods Market lemon squeezed on top, sprinkled with chopped lovage from Berried treasures Farm, drizzled with a Whole Foods Market Spanish (‘Seville’) house olive oil, and allowed to rest for about 4 minutes
The cut rutabaga was tossed into a bowl with olive oil and some friendly seasonings before it saw the oven.
- a little over a pound of rutabaga from Tamarack Hollow Farm, washed, dried, peeled, and cut as for French fries, tossed with about one tablespoon of olive oil, some sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, some leaves that had been torn from a few sprigs of Stokes Farm rosemary, and a bit of crushed dried pieces of golden/bronze habanada pepper, then spread evenly, without crowding, onto 2 large, seasoned, unglazed ceramic oven pans, roasted at 400º for about 30 or 35 minutes, garnished with micro bronze fennel from Two Guys from Woodbridge
- more than a handful of small, very sweet grape tomatoes from Kernan Farms in southern New Jersey, halved, tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper, a few drops of white balsamic vinegar, and a little chopped flowering sage from Stokes Farm, arranged inside 2 small ceramic prep bowls placed on top of the plates, each of them garnished with a flowered stem of the herb
- the wine was a Portuguese (Douro) red, Crasto Douro Superior 2014, from Garnet Wines
- the music was Gloria Coates’ fourth and seventh symphonies
First, it wasn’t the mammal. It had gills and fins, at least originally.
Second, this time I decided I’d prepare this wonderful fish, which is oddly tagged, the ‘common dolphinfish‘, as simply as possible.
It began with a simple marinade..
..and wound up as a simple grill, the dolphin arriving on the plate dressed in nothing more than a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, and a colorful garnish.
- one 17-ounce dolphinfish fillet from American Seafood Company’s stand at Chelsea’s Saturday Down to Earth Farmers Market on 23rd Street, rubbed with a mix of Whole Food Market’s good house Seville olive oil, a few drops of Aceto Cesare Bianco white wine vinegar from Buon Italia, a bit of sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and a respectable number of fresh thyme leaves from Stokes Farm, allowed to rest on an old oval ironstone platter for half an hour (the first 15 minutes inside the refrigerator, the second on the counter), then placed, skin side down, on the ribs of an enameled cast iron grill pan over a medium to high flame for almost 2 1/2 minutes, turned, the flesh side grilled for almost 4 1/2 minutes longer, arrange on 2 plates, drizzled with a little Whole Foods Market organic lemon juice, scattered with micro red amaranth, a bit of olive oil poured over the top
Even the vegetables fended pretty much for themselves in this meal.
- a little more than a handful of small Norland Red potatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, boiled with a generous amount of salt until barely cooked through, drained, halved, dried while still inside the medium-size, still-warm vintage Corning Pyrex Flameware blue-glass pot in which they had cooked, tossed with a tablespoon or so of olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and some de-stemmed chervil from Campo Rosso Farm
We’ve enjoyed some sea creatures lately that I hadn’t seen in the market for a while (fish have seasons too). On Saturday we will be having dolphinfish, but Friday night’s entrée was pretty special too: John Dory (aka Peter’s Fish, Saint-Pierre, San-Pierre, Petersfisch, Pez de san Pedro, and Pesce san Pietro, just for starters)
The fish was gleaming, but the vegetables were absolutely vivid.
- two seven-and-a-half-ounce John Dory Fillets from American Seafood Company in the Union Square Greenmarket, marinated inside the refrigerator for about 30 minutes in a mix of an inch of a spring garlic stem, sliced, from Berried Treasures, a teaspoon of chopped fresh oregano from Neversink Farm, the zest from much of one mandarin from Whole Foods Market (the original recipe specifies orange zest, but I had always used lemon until now), more than half of a teaspoon of La Tourangelle walnut oil, sea salt, and freshly-ground black pepper, removed from the refrigerator and allowed to come to room temperature for about 15 minutes or more, placed skin-side down inside a large (17″) seasoned vintage oval steel pan (scroll down for the image) that had been heated over medium-high heat with enough olive oil to coat the surface, the heat immediately reduced slightly, flipped after 3 minutes and cooked for just about 2 minutes more, removed and arranged on warm plates, whatever juices remained in the pan poured over the fillets, garnished with some chervil from Campo Rosso Farm
- slices of an organic multigrain baguette from Bread Alone
- 20 small ripe, very sweet grape tomatoes from Kernan Farms, each punctured once with a small metal trussing pin to prevent it from exploding when using a fork to pick them up on the plate, rolled in a small bit of olive oil inside a small vintage Corning Pyrex Flameware blue-glass pan until they had begun to soften, sprinkled with sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and chopped flowering sage, arranged on the plates, a few blossoms sprinkled on top
- a stash of Campo Rosso Farm’s broccolini (a hybrid cross between broccoli and Gai Lan, aka Chinese broccoli), washed and drained a couple times in fresh cold water, chopped roughly, sautéed/wilted over a low flame by gradually adding them to a heavy large antique copper pot in which a good size section of the same spring garlic stem used in the fish mariande, sliced, had first been heated until it had begun to soften, seasoned with sea slat and freshly-ground black pepper
- the wine was a California (Sonoma) white, Scott Peterson Rumpus California Chardonnay 2016, from Naked Wines
- the music, bearing in mind that it was the Friday before Memorial Day, which is virtually the opening ceremony for the summer insect free-for-all, was David Rothenberg’s ‘Bug Music’