It’s not the best image I’ve captured of this terrific dish, which has appeared on this blog often, but it was nearly midnight when I finally set the plate on the table, and we had been enjoying a certain amount of sparkling wine with some great friends over the previous few hours.
I wasn’t even going to bother publishing the meal this time, but the canned San Marzano tomatoes I used turned out to be the best I’ve ever come across, and I wanted to document them.
- two 8-ounce monkfish tails from Pura Vida Seafood, prepared using a David Pasternak recipe, but reducing the proportions, using two thirds of a cup of Tunisian M’hamsa Couscous and 2 tablspoons of Portuguese olive oil, both from Whole Foods in Chelsea, 2 sliced cloves of maturing Rocambole garlic from Keith’s Farm, one and a half 400-gram cans of fantastically-rich and-tasty Italian Gustarosso canned pomodoro San Marzano delle Agro Sarnese-Nocerino from Eataly Flatiron (by the way, for some dishes, there is nothing like very good canned tomatoes, at any time of the year), some cracked green olives, from the Chelsea Whole Foods Market, and 2 small whole dried peperoncino Calabresi secchi from Buon Italia
- two medium spring fennel bulbs from Alewife Farm, washed, the stems removed, trimmed of their fronds (the finest of which were set aside), cut into wedges, sautéed for a few minutes in a little olive oil inside a very wide seasoned cast iron pan over medium high heat, adding, after the vegetable had begun to color, a little more of the ‘maturing garlic’, roughly-chopped, and a bit of dried golden habanada pepper, the heat lowered and the pan covered, cooked for another 10 minutes or so, the fronds, now chopped, tossed in and mixed with the fennel, arranged on the plates and garnished with micro scallion from Two Guys from Woodbridge
- the wine was an Italian (Marche) white, Le Salse, Verdicchio di Matelica, 2016, from Flatiron Wines