Even as I was assembling them in my mind, I knew that both courses would seem to be as much about tomatoes as anything else, especially since tomatoes also found their way [almost] invisibly, onto the scallops as well.
At least I used a different kind of tomato in each of their 3 appearances.
The first course was an insalata Caprese, which, as I’ve written before always takes longer to assemble than I remember it does, but its so easy, and relaxing, perhaps a little like meditating, although I have almost no experience in that area.
These tomatoes were stars.
- three ripe heirloom tomatoes from Alewife Farm, sliced arranged on 2 plates, alternating with slices of some very fresh local water buffalo mozzarella from Riverine Ranch in the Union Square Greenmarket and leaves of fresh local (Brooklyn!) basil, ‘Gotham Greens Rooftop’, from Whole Foods, the spread sprinkled with Maldon salt and coarsely-ground black pepper, drizzled with a great Campania olive oil (Lamparelli O.R.O.)
- slices of ‘bambino sesamo’ from Grandaisy Bakery
The main course included a few quite small tomatoes, mostly as a token, to please the camera, which loves color, but, honestly, also to indulge our taste for tomatoes; they were so extraordinarily delicious, that I wished I had added a few more. The third appearance of these nightshades (I love that name) was in the ‘tomato water’ with which I finished the scallops in lieu of the usual lemon juice.
- ten medium-large Hamptons Bay sea scallops (16 ounces altogether) from American Seafood Company, washed, drained and very thoroughly dried on paper towels (twice), generously seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, pan grilled for about 90 seconds on each side, finished with some tomato water that remained from an earlier meal, and some of the Lamparelli Campania olive oil, arranged on 2 plates and sprinkled with fresh dill flowers from Alewife Farm
- eight small red and yellow tomatoes from Alewife Farm heated in a little olive oil inside a small vintage pyrex pan, a bit of sliced spring shallot stem added near the beginning, seasoned with salt and pepper
- the fresh greens from 2 bunches of ‘French Breakfast’ radishes from Willow Wisp Farm, wilted in olive oil in which 3 fresh halved garlic cloves had been allowed to sweat in a little olive oil for a bit, the greens seasoned with salt, pepper and a bit more olive oil
- the wine was a California (Santa Lucia Highlands/Monterey County) rosé, 99 Barrels Derek Rohlffs Santa Lucia Highlands Rosé, from Naked Wines
- the music throughout was Vivaldi’s 1735 opera, ‘Griselda’, Jean-Christophe Spinosi conducting the Ensemble Matheus