Color has returned to the table, especially in this appetizer.
- a couple handfuls of delicious, very juicy ripe shishito peppers (normally sold before they are mature, and still green in color, they move toward orange and then red as they mature) from Berried Treasures Farm, washed, drained, dried, then sautéed over medium high heat in a seasoned 13.5″ cast iron pan for a few minutes, stirring, until they had blistered nicely, then seasoned with Maldon salt
- slices of a farmer-ground half white and half whole wheat She Wolf Bakery miche, to help soothe the impact of the hotter of the peppers
The main course was also simple enough, but also no less exciting for being so, and it was pretty easy to assemble.
- one 11-ounce steak (a cut called ‘culotte’ here, ‘coulotte’ in France, ‘picanha’ in Brazil), from Sun Fed Beef/Maple Avenue Farms in their stall at Saturday’s Chelsea’s Down to Earth Farmers Market, just down the block from us, brought to room temperature, cut into 2 pieces, seasoned on all sides with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, seared for less than a minute on the top, or thick, fat-covered side inside an oval enameled heavy cast iron pan, the 2 long sides cooked for 3 or 4 minutes each, then the ends and the narrow bottom side seared, each very briefly, removed from the pan at the moment they had become perfectly medium-rare, arranged on 2 warm plates, each topped with a pat of defrosted ramp butter made last April using some small, first-of-the-season woodland ramps from Lucky Dog Organic Farm, a bit of juice from an organic lemon from Whole Foods Market, and some Organic Valley ‘Cultured Pasture Butter’, the steaks then allowed to rest for about 4 minutes before being served
- just under a pound of Japanese sweet potatoes, from Lani’s Farm, left unpeeled but washed thoroughly, cut as for short french fries, tossed inside a bowl with olive oil, sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, 3 large unpeeled cloves of rocambole garlic from Keith’s Farm, and a pinch or two of crushed dried habanada pepper, roasted in a 425º oven in a large much-treasured very-well-seasoned Pampered Chef unglazed ceramic oven pan for about 35 minutes, or until crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and a little chewy on the edges, some Maldon salt thrown onto the pan after it was removed from the oven, the frites arranged on the plates with some sunflower greens from Windfall Farms arranged at their side
- the wine was a California (Lodi) red, Karen Birmingham Reserve Zinfandel Lodi 2015, from Naked Wines
- the music was a magnificent new recording of the complete cycle of Mahler’s ‘Des Knaben Wunderhorn’, in a piano transcription by the composer, with the coloratura soprano Diana Damrau and the baritone Ivan Paley beautifully accompanied by Stephan Matthias Lademann; the 2-CD set is billed as the first to present Mahler’s piano version of his Knaben Wunderhorn songs with two voices
[image of boy with horn, uncredited there, is from BBC radio]