It was one of those times when the amount of seafood was going to be either too little or too much. At first I decided to just go with the rather small piece of flounder, and make up the difference with an additional vegetable, but then I went back to the fishers’ stall and asked for a half dozen scallops, to make a first course.
Barry and I were both glad I did, because, while the flounder was very fresh and very good, the scallops, prepared very plainly, were really exceptional.
- six one-ounce scallops from American Seafood Company at Saturday’s Chelsea’s Down to Earth Farmers Market on 23rd Street, 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, arranged on the plates, finished with a squeeze of organic lemon from Whole Foods Market and a good Campania olive oil (Lamparelli O.R.O.), then sprinkled with fresh dill flowers from Alewife Farm
- two red tomatoes, one larger heirloom from Alewife Farm and a smaller, different varietal from Eckerton Hill Farm, sliced, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, warmed inside a shallow copper pan, finished with some budding basil from Windfall Farms
- slices from a Sullivan Street Bakery ‘Pugliese’
The main course was a little more complicated, but still very easily put together.
- one thick 13-ounce flounder filet, also from American Seafood Company, placed inside an oval tin-lined copper au gratin pan, skinned side down, the top surface spread with a mixture of one tablespoon of zest from a Whole Foods organic lemon, one teaspoon of a pungent dried Sicilian oregano from Buon Italia (where it’s sold dried and still attached to the stem), one teaspoon or more of balsamic vinegar, three fourths of a tablespoon of olive oil, almost a teaspoon of lightly-crushed black peppercorns, a quarter to a half of a teaspoon of sea salt, and most of one finely-chopped Rocambole garlic clove from Keith’s Farm, baked for just under 15 minutes in a 350º oven, removed, cut into 2 pieces and arranged on the plates, drizzled with some juice from the lemon which supplied the zest earlier, garnished with micro chervil from Two Guys from Woodbridge
- four small Turkish eggplant from Norwich Meadows Farm, cut horizontally into 3 or more slices, mixed with a little olive oil, one large chopped Rocambole garlic clove from Keith’s Farm, sea salt, and freshly-ground black pepper, pan-grilled on an enameled cast iron ribbed pan over a brisk flame, turning once or twice, some sliced red scallion from Berried Treasures Farm and 5 or 6 pitted and halved Gaeta olives added near the end, everything tossed inside a bowl with chopped ‘blue licorice’ (Korean mint/Indian mint) from Lani’s Farm, then arranged on the plates and drizzled with olive oil
- one small green tomato, also from Norwich Meadows Farm, halved, seasoned with salt and black pepper, pan-grilled in the same as the eggplant, arranged on the plates near the flounder, drizzled with a littel olive oil
- the wine was a French (Savoie) white, Domaine Labbe, Abymes Savoie, 2016, from Flatiron Wines
- the music was Handel’s 1724 opera seria, ‘Tamerlano’, Trevor Pinnock conducting The English Concert