It turned out to be a very red dinner, and the red extended well beyond our plates, because we had decided to listen to a 1987 John Adams opera in which a red China, a red army, a red detachment of women, a little red book, and also a few red faces, are prominently featured, however much the color red itself has to be left to the imagination in a recording limited to sound alone.
Both the dandelion and the salume in the antipasto were red.
- a few slices of uncured chorizo from Colameco’s ‘Spanish Brand Deli Selection’ at Whole Foods Market
- washed and dried leaves of red dandelion from Norwich Meadows Farm, drizzled with a good Campania olive oil (Lamparelli O.R.O.), sprinkled with Maldon salt and freshly-ground black pepper, a very small amount of balsamic vinegar poured over the top
- a few kalamata olives from Whole Foods Market
- slices of a Paris baguette from Orwashers Bakery in the 23rd Street greenmarket the day before
All of the major ingredients in the pasta sauce were so very red that I felt I had to garnish the dish with a fresh green herb once it had been placed in the bowls.
two tablespoons of olive oil (adding more later, as necessary), heated inside a large antique high-sided copper pot before introducing one sliced medium walla walla onion from Alewife Farm and 4 chopped cloves of Keith’s Farm rocambole garlic, stirring over medium heat until the alliums had begun to turn golden and soften, a bit of peperoncino Calabresi secchia from Buon Italia added near the end, followed by one cup of piquillo peppers from Campo Rosso Farm, thickly-sliced lengthwise and seeds and pith removed, then one cup of ripe red heirloom tomatoes from Berried Treasures Farm, roughly chopped, and one tablespoon of fresh oregano buds from Norwich Meadows Farm, the mix stirred and cooked for about 5 minutes before adding 8 ounces of an Afeltra linguine from Eataly that had been cooked inside a large pot of salted water until barely al dente, then drained, reserving a cup of the cooking water, the pot stirred, along with more than half of the pasta water, until the liquid had emulsified, the pasta arranged inside shallow bowls and garnished with chopped parsley from Alex’s Tomato Farm in the 23rd Street Saturday greenmarket
There was a red desert as well, but I forgot to photograph it, so here are the strawberries ‘before’.
- thin slices of a terrific ‘Sour Cream Coffee Cake’ from Bread Alone, in the Union Square Greenmarket, with small ripe strawberries from Berried Treasures Farm, located in the ‘Black Dirt Region’ of New York State (her berries are described as a breed that’s a mix of domestic and wild stock) tossed on top, a portion of the berries macerated in a little turbinado sugar, topped with a small scoop of Talenti Vanilla Bean Gelato from Whole Foods Market
the music throughout the meal, and long after, was the whole of John Adams’ ‘Nixon in China’, in a concert performance by Marin Alsop leading the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and a stellar cast; I think everything about the piece is magnificent, not least Alice Goodman‘s brilliant libretto, which is available here in its entirety