It was delicious, even if the photo reveals it was a little colorless. I’ve usually used tomatoes, in fact usually bright red tomatoes, when I’ve roasted whole skate wings, and I did bring home some small golden cherry tomatoes that afternoon, but in the evening I remembered that I’d been hoarding some tomatillos, which are nightshades, but not tomatoes, for a couple of weeks. I checked them out and found that they both looked and tasted as good as when I had worked with a few on the previous Sunday, so I decided the familiar recipe could handle a change in one of its major ingredients.
The tomatillos had been purchased at the Union Square Greenmarket on October 14, over 2 weeks before I finally incorporated them in this meal. Until I looked into their storage life expectancy on line the next day I had thought my experience represented an extraordinary survival, but nature often knows how to pack her things, and in this case her design, the dry, leafy husk in which they are wrapped and to which they remain attached until ready to be used, did its job well; also, I had kept them in an open paper bag in the crisper, and I talked to them regularly.
The other novelty that was a part of this meal was the herb rue, today more celebrated in literature and scary medical accounts than found in actual food preparation. I’d seen it before in the Union Square Greenmarket but had always passed on it, but the little bunches I found at the Stokes Farm stand on Friday finally won me over, after briefly checking the internet information my phone to see if I would be likely to find something to do with it.
The results were conclusive: It was positively super on plain boiled potatoes, a very pungent, very unusual and tasty flavor I expect to enjoying more in the future.
- a generous number of small to medium tomatillos from Ecketon Hill Farm, halved, tossed gently inside a shallow bowl with less than a tablespoon of olive oil and less than a whole crushed dried Itria-Sirissi chili, pepperoncino di Sardegna intero from Buon Italia, arranged, cut sides down, inside a large enameled cast iron oven pan and roasted for about 10 minutes, after which two 11.5-ounce whole skate wings (the cartilage and joint bone where they had been attached to the main body intact) from American Seafood Company, seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, transferred to the pan, after moving the tomatillos to the edges, roasted for another 15 minutes or so, a whisked together mixture of one tablespoon of olive oil, half a tablespoon of lemon juice, half a teaspoon of a good Dijon mustard, and more than a half tablespoon of rinsed salted Sicilian capers poured over the fish and tomatillos before the pan was returned to the oven for 2 or 3 minutes, then removed, its contents arranged on 2 plates, the tomatillos next to or slightly covering the edges of the skate, both garnished with micro chervil from Two Guys from Woodbridge, with lemon quarters placed to the side of the plates
- eleven or 12 ounces of medium red potatoes from Windfall Farms, scrubbed, boiled unpeeled in generously-salted water until barely cooked through, drained, halved, dried in the still-warm large vintage Corning Pyrex Flameware blue-glass pot in which they had cooked, tossed with a little Whole Foods house Portuguese olive oil, seasoned with local P.E. & D.D. Seafood Company sea salt and some ground pepper, tossed with some beautiful rue from Stokes Farm, chopped
- the wine was a New Zealand (Hawkes Bay) white, Rod Easthope Reserve Hawkes Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2018, from Naked Wines
- the music was Jordi Savall’s intense album, ‘Orient-Occident Vol 2 – Hommage a la Syrie‘