We’d enjoyed a very similar meal only about 3 weeks earlier, but that afternoon there had been a special request for a return visit.
Peeking behind the screen, this is what the entrée looked like after the cod was placed on the top of the potatoes, already mostly baked, before the pan was returned to the oven:
Full disclosure about the magic of photoshop:
Look, no toothpicks! I had forgotten to remove the sticks that I had used to secure the slices of tomato on top of the rounded surfaces of the fillets when I snapped the top photograph, noticing the fact only after we had started eating. I first decided I’d just go with it, and mention my mistake here. Then I remembered how easy it is to remove unwanted stuff with Photoshop, so I went ahead and pulled them out of the image, but I decided to be honest about it.
- two cod fillets (9 ounces each) from American Seafood Company in Wednesday’s Union Square Greenmarket, washed and rinsed, placed inside a deep platter on a bed of coarse sea salt, with more salt added on top until the pieces were completely covered, then set aside while a bed of potatoes was prepared by scrubbing, drying, and then slicing (to a thickness of roughly 1/4″) 2 different kinds of potatoes (because I thought the amount of large white potato I had would be insufficient), mostly two Kennebec from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm, and 2 rather spectacular purple Magic Marley fingerlings from Race Farm, tossing them in a large bowl with a little olive oil, sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and a pinch of hickory-smoked Jamaican Scotch bonnet peppers from Eckerton Hill Farm, arranging the potatoes, slightly overlapping, inside a rectangular enameled cast iron pan, cooking them for roughly 25 minutes in a 400º oven, or until they were tender when pierced, but not quite fully cooked, then the cod fillets, having already been removed from the platter and their salt shroud, and thoroughly immersed in many fresh changes of water to bring down the saltiness, drained and dried, were placed inside the pan on top of the potatoes, drizzled with a little olive oil, sprinkled with some freshly-ground black pepper, partly blanketed with thin slices of 3 Backyard Farms Maine ‘Cocktail tomatoes’, secured in place with toothpicks where it seemed necessary, the tomato seasoned lightly and the pan returned to the oven for about 15 minutes (the fillets were thick), or until just cooked through, potato, cod and tomato removed with a spatula or spatulas, or at least as much of the potatoes as can be brought along with each portion of fish, everything arranged on the plates as intact as possible, the remainder of the potatoes added then
- some of the contents of a bag of delicious mixed baby greens from Lani’s Farm, drizzled with a little good olive oil, Badia a Coltibuono, Monti del Chianti, from Chelsea Whole Foods Market
- the wine was a Portuguese (Beira) white, Vinhas Velhas Branco, Luis Pato 2016, from Astor Wines
- the music was Aulis Sallinen’s 1984 symbolist seriocomic opera (the composer has called it “a fairy tale for grown-ups”), ‘The King Goes Forth to France’, Okko Kamu, conducting the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra [“A dark yet wickedly funny opera from 1984 with roots somehow simultaneously in the Hundred Years War, the future, and our own environmentally challenged present, with the spectre of an idealistic leader who becomes a corrupt, warmongering tyrant.” – Andrew McGregor for the BBC]