Tautog is good.
It’s not Provençal.
And yet, except for the origin story of the fish (and the green vegetable too), this dinner could almost be Provençal, which is always good.
- two blackfish/Tautog fillets (one pound) from Pura Vida Seafood Company prepared following a recipe by Melissa Clark published in the New York Times 5 years ago, seasoned with salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and a few pinches of Aleppo pepper (Morton & Bassett dried, from Westside Market), placed in a large heavy antique oval copper skillet over a medium-low flame, a quarter cup of Niçoise olives from Chelsea’s Fairway Market (pitted with great difficulty, over more than half an hour, because of their extremely small size), scattered around the fish, cooked for about 4 minutes, flipped and cooked for another 4 minutes, and near the end of that time, roughly 10 ounces of tiny ‘wild Mexican tomatoes’ (since they were cultivated, the ‘wild tomatoes’ were not, technically wild anymore) from Eckerton Hill Farm were tossed into the pan, moved around a bit and allowed to almost break down, the fish and the olives transferred to 2 plates when done, the tomatoes spooned around the fillets and everything sprinkled with chopped fresh oregano from Rise & Root Farm, topped with a drizzle of good olive oil
- a few handfuls of broccolini (a modern hybrid, a cross between broccoli and Gai Lan, aka Chinese broccoli) from Willow Wisp Organic Farm in the Union Square Greenmarket, washed and drained in fresh cold water, chopped very roughly, sautéed/wilted over a low flame by being gradually added to a large antique copper pot in which 3 halved cloves of ‘Chesnok Red’ garlic from Alewife Farm had been heated in a little olive oil until softened and fragrant
- the wine was an Italian (Piedmont) white, Ferrando, Cariola’ Erbaluce di Caluso 2016, from Flatiron Wines
- the music was Monteverdi’s 1607 opera, ‘L’Orfeo’, performed by Jordi Savall directing Le Concert des Nations, La Capella Reial de Catalunya, and soloists