Yes, once again we have access to some wonderful smoked local fish. After a hiatus which had saddened many of their customers, the Karlin family’s P.E. & D.D. Seafood Company, is again selling this very special fresh delicacy that originates in the hauls from its boats out of Long Island’s North Fork, .
I was worried that I might not get around to doing something with the gorgeous whole copper-colored mackerel I had picked up almost 2 weeks ago, but smoked fish has serious staying power (in fact, food preservation was its original raison d’etre).
On Saturday I skinned and deboned the fish and it with some ingredients I already lying around, and I managed to come up with some delicious toasts for assembling a small course to anticipate a good steak. There was enough for two nights, so we will probably be enjoying the remainder tonight, 2 days later, after I finish writing this.
Another thing special about the whole meal was the fact that both courses included unconventional treats from a local producer on shore, Riverine Ranch, which raises water buffalo in New Jersey, far from waters fished by the Karlin family.
- one 8-ounce smoked whole mackerel from P.E. & D.D. Seafood, skinned, its flesh removed from the backbone and the larger ribs discarded as it was broken up and placed inside a bowl, where it was joined by about a third of a cup of Riverine Ranch water buffalo milk labneh, a tablespoon or more of chopped Japanese scallions, a teaspoon of zest and a tablespoon of juice from an organic Chelsea Whole Foods Market lemon, a little freshly ground black pepper, and a complex powdered Nigerian cayenne, swiped onto toasted slices of a She Wolf Bakery miche, with lemon quarters served on the side
- delicious peppery arugula from Norwich Meadows Farm dressed with Trader Joe’s very good Italian Reserve unfiltered olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and a drizzle of lemon juice
- the wine was a French (Gascogne) white, Mont Gravet – Côtes de Gascogne Blanc 2017, from Foragers Market Wine
The main course was a very different scheme from the first.
- one top sirloin buffalo steak (13 ounces) from Riverine Ranch, rinsed and patted dry, seasoned generously with salt and pepper, allowed to reach room temperature, seared over a medium flame, cooked 2 or 3 minutes on each side, to medium rare, the time always dependent on thickness [being careful not to overcook, or the steak would be tough, and noting that the color of this lean meat is a lot redder than beef, meaning a medium-rare buffalo steak would be the same shade of an almost rare beef steak], removed from the pan, cut in half crosswise, arranged on the plates, drizzled with a bit of lemon juice, sprinkled with chopped fresh thyme from Chelsea Whole Foods, drizzled with a little olive oil, covered loosely and allowed to rest for a couple minutes before serving
- more than a pound of red thumb potatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, halved lengthwise, tossed with a little olive oil, salt, black pepper, a bit of crushed home-dried habanada pepper, and a pinch of crushed dried hickory smoked Jamaican Scotch bonnet pepper from Eckerton Hill Farm, arranged cut side down on a large Pampered Chef unglazed ceramic pan, roasted at about 375º for 20 minutes or so, tossed around on the pan, arranged on the plates and garnished with micro red mustard from Two Guys from Woodbridge
- fava greens, the last from the boxes at the Union Square Greenmarket stand of Alewife Farm (the restaurants got there before me), washed, drained, and gradually stirred into a medium size heavy, antique copper pot in less than a tablespoon of olive oil until they had only begun to wilt, seasoned salt and freshly-pepper, the vegetable arranged on the plates and drizzled with some more olive oil
- the wine with this course was a Portuguese (Dão) red, Casa de Mouraz Tinto, Dão 2014, from Astor Wines