Our house guest had never eaten in our home before, and he had never had swordfish. On Friday night we did something about both.
Frank had come with me to the Union Square Greenmarket earlier in the day, where I saw that Paul Mendelsohn, our Friday fishmonger, was displaying some small swordfish steaks. We had enjoyed Long Island waters xiphias gladius on our table fairly recently, but these, at roughly half the size usually available, were pretty tempting. They’d also be a novelty for our Berlin friend, since that great city unfortunately doesn’t have anything like the variety of local seafood available to New Yorkers.
Swordfish it would be.
Then I went a little further with the northwestern Atlantic seafood theme: We began dinner with a beautiful piece of golden-skin smoked whitefish, which was also from [relatively] local waters, even if ‘local’ might have had to be stretched to include those closer to Maine than to Montauk.
The first course was easily assembled.
- one 8-ounce section of smoked Blue Hill Bay north Atlantic whitefish, purchased at the Chelsea Whole Foods Market, divided into 3 pieces, drizzled with a little juice from an organic Whole Foods Market lemon
- a few leaves from a bunch or purple salanova lettuce from Lucky Dog Organic Farm, dressed with with a little Frankies 457 Sicilian olive oil, a bit of Maldon salt and freshly-ground black pepper, and a little lemon juice
- slices of an ambrosial farmer-ground grain, half white and half whole wheat, She Wolf Bakery miche
- the wine was the same one we had enjoyed with some Mario Fongo ‘Il Panate’, Grissini con farina di riso nero ‘Artemide’, from Buon Italia before we sat down at the table, a California sparkling, Keith Hock California Sparkling Rosé 2016, from Naked Wines
While the main course involved some cooking, it too was a cinch to to put together, which was good for interacting with a guest you see rarely.
It was also pretty undramatic, if not actually plain, by some house standards: I had intended to include a micro greens garnish, but I guess I had become too engaged in the conversation while I was plating and it stayed on the counter.
- three small (8-ounce each, 1″ thick) swordfish steaks from Pura Vida Seafood in the Union Square Greenmarket marinated on/in an ironstone platter for about 45 minutes, turning once, in a mixture of a few tablespoons of olive oil, a tablespoon of fresh chopped oregano from Stokes Farm, a small amount, chopped, of a yellow grenada seasoning pepper from Eckerton Hill Farm, a bit of dried peperoncino Calabresi from Buon Italia, and the chopped white section of 2 scallions, one very small, one of an average size, from Stokes Farm, after which the swordfish was drained, top and bottom covered with a coating of homemade dried breadcrumbs, pan-grilled over medium-high heat for 3 or 4 minutes on each flat surface, or until just barely cooked to the center, then removed from the pan and arranged on 2 plates, sprinkled with a little Maldon salt, some of the chopped greener parts of the 2 scallions, drizzled a bit of juice from a Whole Foods Market organic lemon squeezed on top and drizzled with a bit of olive oil
- twenty ounces of ‘Pinto’ potatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, scrubbed, boiled, unpeeled, in generously-salted water until barely cooked through, drained, halved, dried in the still-warm large vintage Corning Pyrex Flameware blue-glass pot in which they had cooked, tossed there with 3 some Portuguese house olive oil from Whole Foods, seasoned with Maldon salt and freshly-ground black pepper, arranged on the plates, sprinkled with chopped lovage from Two Guys from Woodbridge
- almost half a pound of the farmer’s own combination of red and green winterbor kale from Alewife Farm, wilted with olive oil in which 5 rocambole garlic cloves from Keith’s Farm, first bruised with the heel of a hand, had been allowed to heat until pungent, seasoned with sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil
It was much later than anyone had planned to still be sitting at the table when we finished the main course, so we skipped the cheese (or fruit) course I had contemplated, and instead enjoyed some delicious dried Calabrian (Amantea) figs from Buon Italia in the Chelsea Market, along with the remainder of the wine.
- the wine for the main course, and the figs, was an Italian (Marche) white, Le Salse, Verdicchio di Matelica, 2016, from Flatiron Wines
- the music heard through the meal, all of it modern Americana, was Bill Frisell’s album, ‘Have a Little Faith’, followed by the collection, ‘Improvised Music New York 1981’, with work by Bill Laswell, Sonny Sharrock, Derek Bailey, Fred Frith, and John Zorn