This dinner may be almost the opposite of the one we enjoyed the day before. but, while It was more Mediterranean, and certainly lighter, in several ways, it was a meal of game. For all of their suggestion of undomesticated ruggedness, neither the pork chops nor the chestnuts represented the idea of ‘game’ as much as the beautiful wild squid that dominated this entrée.
We enjoy game at least 3 or 4 times a week, thanks to the city’s maritime geography and the labors of our local fishers.
I’ve used this basic recipe for squid more than any other, rarely altering its simple outlines, but this time, with a wealth of seasoning peppers in the crisper, I just couldn’t help checking out what their input could do for a standard. I decided that while the squid doesn’t need the embellishment, a few little peppers do liven up the old standard.
- a large rectangular enameled cast iron pan heated on top of the stove until hot, its cooking surface brushed with olive oil, and once the oil was quite hot, one pound of rinsed and carefully dried large squid from P.E. & D.D. Seafood, quickly arranged inside, immediately sprinkled with a heaping teaspoon of super-pungent dried Sicilian oregano from Buon Italia, one small red-orange finely-chopped aji dulce pepper and one small yellow Grenada pepper, neither really hot, but both pungent and both from Eckerton Hill Farm, a section of orange/golden home-dried habanada pepper, picked up fresh from Norwich Meadows Farm last summer, sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, followed by a douse of 3 tablespoons of juice from an organic Whole Foods lemon, and a splash of olive oil, the pan placed inside a pre-heated 400º oven and roasted for only 5 minutes, at which time when their bodies had ballooned, removed, the squid distributed onto 2 plates and ladled with a bit of the cooking juices that had been collected and transferred to a glass sauce pitcher
- three Opalka plum tomatoes from Eckerton Hill Farm, each sliced in half and placed face down on a plate which had been spread with sea salt and black pepper, their surfaces dried somewhat with a paper towel before placed inside a hot grill pan, not disturbed for 2 or 3 minutes, then turned over for another minute, finished on the plates with a bit of olive oil and a few drops of balsamic vinegar
- Betsey Ryder is just one part of the awesomeness of the Union Square Greenmarket family, and phenomenon, but my face lightens up every time I see her at her stand [note: SPACE on Ryder Farm , an artists retreat funded through a hybrid of community-supported art and agriculture, means that the farm is about so much more than vegetables]; on Saturday I was able to pick up a peppery arugula from her 18th-century family farm (Ryder Farm), dressed for this meal with a good Campania olive oil (Lamparelli O.R.O., Maldon salt, freshly-ground black pepper and a little lemon juice
- slices of a sturdy She Wolf Bakery miche
- the wine was an Italian (Calabria) white, Scala, Ciro Bianco, 2017, from Flatiron Wines
- the music was Charpentier’s 1682 pastoraletta, ‘Les plaisirs de Versailles’, performed by William Christie and Les Arts Florissant