A tough one.
Somehow I must have persuaded myself that the tougher parts of the agretti branches I had picked up at the Greenmarket would miraculously soften once they had been parboiled.
I was wrong, and now it was getting pretty late for any major change in the menu.
I had suspected I might have a problem on my hands, so I had started to think of something to replace them with as a side dish for the scallops even as I tossed the agretti into the pot of boiling water, but with a quick recovery – stripping the ‘leaves’ from the branches after they had drained and combining them with some tomatoes that I had earlier thought of as a second vegetable – I rescued at least some of my original dinner plan, and saved some little cucumbers for another meal.
- ten sea scallops (13.5 ounces total) from P.E. & D.D. Seafood Company, rinsed, dried, slit horizontally with a very sharp knife almost all of the way through to accommodate tiny spoonfuls of a mixture of some fresh chopped epazote from TransGenerational Farm, one medium-size clove of ‘Chesnok Red’ garlic from Alewife Farm, less than half of a tiny Brazilian wax pepper from Eckerton Hill Farm, a little local P.E. & D.D. sea salt, and a bit of whole black pepper, all having been chopped together very finely, and removed to a small bowl where just enough olive oil was added to form a paste, the ‘stuffed’ scallops then rolled around on a plate with a little more olive oil [although I’m not certain this is step is necessary, especially to retain ‘grill’ marks], drained, pan grilled in an enameled cast iron pan for about 2 minutes on each side, removed to the 2 dinner plates, finished with a squeeze of a small California organic lemon from Chelsea Whole Foods Market and a drizzle of olive oil
- a handful of golden heirloom cherry tomatoes from Eckerton Hill Farm, each punctured once or twice with a small metal skewer, then rolled around in a little olive oil above a low flame inside a medium copper skillet, eventually joined by the tender parts of a bunch of agretti (or saltwort) branches, from Norwich Meadows Farm, separated from the woody parts after the branches, still intact, had been parboiled for exactly 7 minutes, the tomatoes and the agretti stirred together, seasoned with sea salt and black pepper, and warmed a bit, a little juice from an organic California lemon from Chelsea Whole Foods Market squeezed on top before tomatoes and agretti were arranged on the plates
- slices of an organic multigrain baguette from Bread Alone
- the wine was a New Zealand (South Island/Marborough/Wairau Valley) white, Lay of the Land Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018, from Naked Wines
- the music was an album of works by Sheila Silver, ‘Piano Concerto’ and ‘Six préludes pour piano, d’après poèmes de Baudelaire‘