We were trying for seriousness here, even if both plates ended up looking a little frivolous.
A strong-flavored salumi, together with a dark bread, then an earthy pasta, with a sauce that could communicate with it.
Not a meal for a July evening, but just right for mid-October.
- And one that was more about assembling than preparation.three ounces of an (almost local) Fairway Market-purchased salumi, a capocollo produced by Daniele Inc. in north central Rhode Island [I have a soft spot for anything Rhode Island, so this Providence TED conference video by a member of the family business’ third generation got to me] arranged on t plates on top of a few large leaves of arugula from Windfall Farms, seasoned with local P.E. & D.D. Seafood sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and both the green and the capocollo drizzled with some good olive oil (Renieris Estate ‘Divina’ (a Koroneiki varietal) from Hania, Crete, purchased at Whole Foods Market
- slices of ‘Whole wheat Redeemer Bread’ (wheat, water, salt) from Lost Bread Co.
Except for the time it took to boil the pasta, the second course took only a few minutes to complete.
- a few tablespoons of a rich butter, Vermont Creamery Butter (total fat 12g, 83% butter fat), from Whole Foods Market (unfortunately they don’t stock the producer’s unsalted version), melted slowly inside a large antique copper pot before a small handful of fresh whole sage leaves from Keith’s Farm, one finely sliced fresh habanada pepper from Campo Rosso Farm, and a pinch of hickory smoked Scotch Bonnet pepper from Eckerton Hill Farm were stirred in, the mix seasoned with local P.E. & D.D. Seafood sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper, and, as soon as it had finished cooking to al dente, 8 ounces from a one-pound box of Sfoglini Einkorn Macaroni, together with a cup of the cooking water, stirred in, the heat under the pan pushed to high and the mix cooked, stirring, until the liquid had emulsified, a little olive oil then drizzled around the edges and some Parmigiano Reggiano (aged 24 months) from Whole Foods Market shaved on top, garnished with micro red amaranth from Windfall Farms
Lots of things going on here.
We had bacon and eggs early Sunday afternoon, as we usually do. Also as we usually do, we invited a lot of things to join us. In fact there were so many things, and they all jumped onto the table so fast, I’m not sure I can give an account of each one, nor do I think I should, since no one, including myself, is ever going to repeat it.
The best I can do, and I’m doing it mostly in order to provide the credits, is to report who were the farmers, bakers, and other producers who got them to us.
And include one other picture, of a section of the Lost Bread Co. stand in the Union Square Greenmarket.
To be truthful, I have to add that a good number of these ingredients were items already prepared for or remaining from very recent earlier meals and not used.
- 6 fresh eggs from pastured chickens, John Stoltzfoos’ Millport Dairy Farm in the Union Square Greenmarket
- 3 slices of bacon from pastured pigs, John Stoltzfoos’ Millport Dairy Farm in the Union Square Greenmarket
- Renieris Estate ‘Divina’ (Koroneiki varietal) olive oil, Hania, Crete, from Whole Foods Market
- chives from Stokes Farm
- pericón (Mexican Tarragon) from Quarton Farm
- local sea salt from P.E. & D.D. Seafood
- freshly ground black pepper from Whole Food’s store brand
- Brazil wax pepper-infused olive oil (the peppers from Eckerton Hill Farm, the infusion done at home)
- sunflower sprouts from Space on Ryder Farm (formerly Betsy Ryder’s Ryder Farm)
- finely chopped red jalapeño pepper, from a friend’s garden
- one small shallot from Alex’s Tomato Farm in the Saturday Chelsea’s Down to Earth Farmers Market
- chopped upper stem section of a red spring onion from Norwich Meadows Farm
- a very light ‘Delitia’ Burro di Bufala, Caserta, Campania (total fat 12g, 83% butter fat), from Eataly
- a rich Vermont Creamery Butter (total fat 12g, 83% butter fat), from Eataly
- bits of baby celery stem and leaves from Norwich Meadows Farm
- dried wild Sicilian (Ibleo Mountains) fennel seed from Eataly Flatiron
- Homadama bread (wheat, corn, water, maple syrup, salt, slaked lime) from Lost Bread Co.
- Buck Honey Rye (rye, malted buckwheat groats, honey, water, salt) from Lost Bread Co.
- ‘Whole wheat Redeemer Bread’ (wheat, water, salt) from Lost Bread Co.
- the music was Wagner’s first success, the 5-act opera, ‘Rienzi, der letzte der Tribunen‘, composed between 1838 and 1840, premiered in 1842, and heard on Sunday streaming from Finland’s Yle Klassinen in a mid-70s recording with Heinrich Hollreiser conducting the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Leipzig Radio Chorus, and the Dresden State Opera Chorus, with amazing soloists: Peter Schreier, Siv Wennberg, René Kollo, Janis Martin, Nikolaus Hillebrand, Theo Adam, Siegfried Vogel, Günther Leib, and Ingeborg Springer
I suppose it was surf and turf last night, but I can never forget that in the middle ages some ecclesiastical authorities considered some waterfowl to be fish, when it came to observing some religious fasts.
- six smoked scallops from Pura Vida Seafood Company in the Union Square Greenmarket, brought fully to room temperature, arranged on a bed of large arugula from Windfall Farms, with the addition of some finely chopped baby celery stems and leaves from Norwich Meadows Farm, drizzled with a good olive oil from Whole Foods Market, Renieris Estate ‘Divina’ (Koroneiki varietal olives), from Hania, Crete, seasoned with local sea salt from P.E & D.D. Seafood and freshly ground black pepper, a squeeze of an organic lemon from Westside Market, a bit of scissored bronze fennel from Rise & Root Farm scattered on top
Since there had been a fairly rich first course, the entrée could be kept pretty simple. I did have a relatively extravagant amount of treviso radicchio on hand, but then we love chicory of any kind.
- one 14-ounce duck breast from Hudson River Duck Farm, the fatty side scored in tight cross hatching with a very sharp knife, after which the entire breast rubbed, top and bottom, with a mixture of local sea salt, fresh black pepper, and a little turbinado sugar, and left standing on the counter for about 45 minutes to an hour before being pan-fried, fatty side down first, inside a small oval enameled cast iron pan over medium heat for a total of about 9 or 10 minutes, draining the oil after the first few minutes (the fat strained can be used in cooking at another time, if desired), and turning over once, removed when medium rare, cut crosswise into 2 portions and checked for the right doneness in the center, which means definitely no more than medium rare, and maybe even a bit less (the tenderloin had been removed at the beginning of the preparation, but seasoned like the rest of the breast, then fried very briefly near the end of the time the larger section was cooking, the tenderloin then halved), left to sit for several minutes before drizzled with a little juice from an organic Westside Market lemon and some olive oil, transferred to the 2 warm plates that had been sitting on top of the oven where the vegetable had been roasting, dusted on top with a small amount of garlic chive seed from Space on Ryder Farm (Betsy Ryder’s old farm), micro red amaranth from Two Guys from Woodbridge arranged on the side
- one (11 or 12 ounce?) head of treviso from Campo Rosso Farm, rinsed, drained and wiped off, cut lengthwise into 6 sections, arranged one cut side up on a Pampered Chef unglazed ceramic oven pan (after securing the leaves of each with a toothpick, covered with thyme branches from Phillips Farms, seasoned generously with sea salt and black pepper, drizzled with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, baked in a pre-heated 400º oven for 18 minutes or so, turned over more than halfway through onto the other cut side, arranged on the plates and drizzled with a very small amount of balsamic vinegar
- the wine for the second course was a South African (Swartland) red, Carmen Stevens Angel’s Reserve Shiraz 2018, also from Naked Wines
Since Thursday is not a Union Square Greenmarket day, it was one of our between-fish-meals meals.
We always have a variety of dried pastas in the apartment, and one of them is very often the fallback for these nights; this time I decided to use half of one of the two packages of croxetti I had in the larder.
It would also be a dinner that would include many ingredients, then at their peak, that I’d have difficulty incorporating into other meals in time: some small heirloom tomatoes, a wonderful local chèvre, some very modern very American bread, a handful of red-vein sorrel, and the heel of a Parmesan cheese wheel segment.
- six or eight different kinds of small heirloom tomatoes from Rise & Root Farm, sliced, arranged overlapping on top of a few very large leaves of arugula from Windfall Farms that had been drizzled with a little good olive oil, Renieris Estate ‘Divina’ (Koroneiki varietal olives), from Hania, Crete, purchased at Whole Foods Market, a small amount of Consider Bardwell Farm chèvre, ‘Mettawee’ crumbled over the tomatoes, sprinkled with torn peppermint from Keith’s Farm, more olive oil added on the top
- slices of Lost Bread Co.‘s awesome New England-style(?) Homadama (wheat, corn, water, maple syrup, salt, slaked lime)
The tomato salad functioned as an antipasto, and there actually was a primi this time, but no secundo.
- three or four ounces of butter melted over medium heat inside a large antique copper pot, introducing one crushed golden orange dried habanada pepper and one chopped shallot from Alex’s Tomato Farm (in the Saturday Chelsea’s Down to Earth Farmers Market on West 23rd Street), heating the pan for a while, adding about half a teaspoon of sea salt, a bit of freshly-ground black pepper, and some chopped parsley from Phillips Farms before 8 or 9 ounces of a package of Genovese Alta Valle Scrivia Croxetti, which I believe came from Eataly, cooked al dente, was tossed in and everything stirred over a medium to high flame with some reserved pasta water until the liquid had emulsified, some roughly chopped red-vein sorrel from Norwich Meadows Farm slipped in and stirred with the pasta, which was then arranged inside 2 shallow bowls, a bit of olive oil drizzled around the edges, topped with a shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano Vache Rosse from Eataly
- the wine was an Italian (Piedmont/Cortese di Gavi) white, Lombardo Giordano 2018 Gavi di Gavi Vigna San Martino, from Chambers Street Wines
- the music was the ECM album, ‘PRISM I’, the Danish String Quartet performing works by Beethoven, Bach, Shostakovich
Before I started cooking, I wasn’t expecting much from this meal, mostly because it took me too long to determine much of what I would serve, and I wasn’t excited about what the decision.
For our table at least, this plate was pretty straightforward, with few excursions into the exotic.
It was delicious.
- one 14-ounce swordfish steak from American Seafood Company in the Union Square Greenmarket, marinated for more than half an hour in a mixture of one thinly sliced red spring onion from Norwich Meadows Farm, some chopped garlic chive seeds from Space on Ryder Farm, a bit of chopped fresh pericón (Mexican tarragon) from Quarton Farm, little more than a pinch of dried Itria-Sirissi chili (peperoncino di Sardegna intero) from Buon Italia, and less than a couple tablespoons of olive oil, after which the steaks were drained and covered on both sides with a coating of homemade dried breadcrumbs (to help retain the moisture, and keep it from drying out) and pan-grilled over medium-high heat for 4 minutes on each side, or until barely cooked all of the way through, removed, arranged on the plates, seasoned with a little local salt, Phil Karlin’s P.E. & D.D. Seafood Long Island Sound sea salt, a good amount of juice from an organic lemon from Westside Market squeezed on top, drizzled with olive oil, and garnished with micro chervil from Two Guys from Woodbridge
- two small ripe heirloom tomatoes from Rise & Root Farm, halved, sprinkled with sea salt and black pepper, placed face down on the same grill as the swordfish near the end of its cooking time, turned once, then arranged on the plates, topped with chopped lovage from Quarton Farm and drizzled with a little olive oil
- a modest bunch of sweet broccoli rabe from Keith’s Farm, washed and drained 3 times, braised inside a large, heavy antique copper pot in which two crushed ‘Chesnok Red’ garlic from Alewife Farm had been allowed to sweat in some heated olive oil, the dish finished with salt, black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil
- the wine was an Italian (Sicily/Terre Siciliane) white, Defino 2016 IGT Terre Siciliane Catarratto, from Chambers Street Wines
- the music was a recording of an opera I’ve wanted to hear for decades, Daniel-François Auber and Eugène Scribe‘s 1828 grand opera, ‘La Muette De Portici’, dealing with a seventeenth century Neapolitan revolt that was sadly less than successful than the one it triggered at its 1830 Brussels premier, in what was then the Southern Provinces of the Netherlands: it ignited a successful revolution and a war of independence that resulted in the creation of Belgium, a spectacular, extended performance which was unlikely to have dismayed its creators; we heard it in a performance with Antony Hermus conducting the Anhaltische Philharmonie Dessau and the Anhaltische Theater Opera Chorus (we were both delighted to find it was a delight; here is a Guardian review of the recording)
The opera was chosen for a performance at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels on 25 August 1830, as part of King William I’s festival in celebration of the 15th year of his reign.The opera would cap the three-day festival of fireworks, feasts, and processions.
Posters were put up around Brussels that advertised, “Monday, the 23rd, fireworks; Tuesday, the 24th, illuminations; Wednesday, the 25th, revolution.” However, the King’s only concession to public safety was to cancel the fireworks and procession on the final night, which left Auber’s opera as the last public event in the king’s honor.
[the text above is excerpted from the WIkipedia entry for the composer]