I don’t think I could say bluefish is my very favorite finned seafood, but it’s somewhere near the top, and, besides, it’s never boring.
Occasionally a special variant comes to the market and the love affair begins all over again. I’m talking about the catch of quite small fillets I found at the Union Square Greenmarket on Friday.
The fillets were beautiful, but the whole fish were a pretty spectacular sight (here nestling with a fluke).
I bought the fillets, because, well, they’re easier to cook, and also easier to deal with when they arrive on the plate. I also knew that I wouldn’t have looked forward to scaling them, but at $6 a pound, they certainly would have pleased anyone’s budget.
There was slightly too much fish to fit inside my heavy oval long-handled copper pan, so I drafted my new round 13″ pan into service.
It was April, so it wasn’t surprising the there was no fresh oregano anywhere in the kitchen. Even while I was still at the Greenmarket I was thinking about what to substitute, and then I spotted a table of beautiful tiny basil plants. One of them was particularly beautiful, since a purple variety of what I’m assuming is a lettuce had hitched a ride to the market.
six small (20 ounces, or 3 1/3-ounces each) bluefish fillets from Pura Vida Seafood Company in the Union Square Greenmarket, rinsed, rubbed with olive oil and a little Columela Rioja 30 Year Reserva sherry vinegar, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, placed inside a vintage 13″ tin-lined low-sided copper pan, sprinkled liberally with a very pungent dried Sicilian oregano from Buon Italia and a bit of crushed dried Espelette pepper (medium spiciness) from Alewife Farm, covered with thin slices of one small-to-medium red onion from Norwich Meadows Farm, thin slices of 6 Backyard Farms Maine ‘cocktail tomatoes’ from Chelsea Whole Foods Market, plus 8 or 9 pitted Gaeta olives from Eataly and several thin slices of both a Whole Foods Market organic lemon and a small Persian lime raised by David Tifford of Fantastic Gardens of Long Island, the pan placed inside a 425º oven and baked for about 8 minutes (the fillets were quite small), the fillets arranged on the plates and garnished with basil leaves, roughly-torn by hand
- two handfuls of small ‘red mustard greens’ (in fact they were all quite purple) from Lani’s Farm, drizzled with a few drops of a very good olive oil, Badia a Coltibuono, Monti del Chianti from Chelsea Whole Foods, seasoned with Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper, a bit of lemon juice squeezed on top
- slices of a crunchy organic multigrain baguette from Bread Alone
- the wine was an Australian (South Australia) white, Chardonnay Salena Overland 2017, from Garnet Wines (where it is unaccountably indicated as from Austria)
- the music was the Aaron Jay Kernis 1993 album, ‘Still Movement With Hymn’, Alistair Neale conducting the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra