Search for Mac Nut macademia - 8 results found

picanha, reverse seared; pan-roasted potatoes; radiccchio

Looks aren’t everything.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Good things come in threes.

Red is good.

I mean, to me the the picture looks good, and at least to anyone who might enjoy the kind of dinner it describes, it’s probably a fairly appetizing image.

What it doesn’t show however is just how really, really delicious the entire meal actually was, and the steak in particular. Last night I said that I’ve never had a better one, at home or in a restaurant, and Barry agreed.

All of the elements of the meal were familiar recipes, and proven favorites as well, but because I was altering the way I cook one of them, the steak, using a ‘reverse sear method’ for the first time [its merits discussed here], a certain amount of recalculation was required for all 3 parts of the dinner.

The recipe for the potatoes is brilliant, and I’m sure to be revisiting it under similar circumstances, in warm weather when I don’t want to use an oven, or when I might just some delicious stove-top roasted potatoes.

I was planning to have roasted potatoes last night (I had some nice La Ratte fingerlings in my virtual root cellar), and I would normally have preferred roasting the radicchio with some thyme branches, but the oven both would need was going to be engaged with the steak at too low a temperature for either of the vegetables until shortly before the meal would be completed. I realized this at just about the time I was to begin the preparation of the meal, so I quickly searched on line for a recipe that would produce a potato dish more appropriate for accompanying a good steak than simple boiled potatoes (finding an excellent one here, from Amanda Hesser‘s site, Food52), and I revised the plan for the chicory, moving the cooking to a burner top and also totally simplifying its preparation.

They may not have looked like roasted potatoes when they started out, but if I hadn’t been there all through the process, they could have fooled me once they were done.

  • one 19-ounce picanha steak (called ‘culotte’ here, ‘coulotte’ in France, ‘picanha’ in Brazil), from Gabe, of Sun Fed Beef (Maple Avenue Farms) in the farm’s stall at the Union Square Greenmarket, brought to room temperature, seasoned on all sides with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, placed on a rack in, as I’m suggesting now, a 275º oven for 15 or 20 minutes [that timing estimate will have to be examined the next time, since last night I used an even lower temperature, for a longer period, but the cooking didn’t seem to be actually happening, so I eventually raised the heat], or until medium rare, meaning a thermometer reading of 120º, then seared briefly on all sides (the steak was already fully cooked, so left on the surface just long enough to impart color, lingering just a bit longer on the top, thick, fat-covered side) inside a dry oval heavy cast iron pan, after first placing on the surface a little cooking oil with a higher smoke point than olive oil (I used Mac Nut macademia nut oil from Whole Foods Market) and immediately applying pressure in the center with a wooden spoon, to keep its middle surface from rising from the surface of the pan, then removed from the heat, cut into 2 sections, and allowed to rest for up to 10 minutes while covered loosely with foil, arranged on 2 warm plates, some juice from an organic Whole Foods Market organic lemon squeezed on top, sprinkled with chopped fresh rue from Stokes Farm, and drizzled with a Whole Foods Market Portuguese house olive oil

  • eleven or 12 ounces of small Adirondack Red potatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, each less than 2 inches in size, scrubbed, halved, and set aside while a large antique, very well seasoned Wagner Ware cast iron pan in which enough olive oil had been added to coat the bottom 1/8 inch deep was heated over a medium flame until the oil began to shimmer, a generous layer of salt [but not too much] scattered into the oil all over the bottom of the pan as evenly as possible, the potatoes, the pieces of the second cut kept together so the potatoes look like just one half, placed cut side down on the bottom of the pan and fried at medium heat, without touching, for about 10 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes, at which time one potato half was turned over and checked to see if it was nicely colored (if not, the cooking would be allowed to continue a few more minutes), and when the potatoes were nicely browned, the heat was turned as low as possible and a glass cover placed on the pan, with the potatoes continuing to brown under cover, for about 20 minutes more, or until done, when they were seasoned with black pepper, arranged on the plates, and garnished with micro kale from Norwich Meadows Farm [the potatoes can be kept covered with the heat off, for 30 minutes or more, but if they are allowed to stand, any excess oil should be drained from the pan [they are equally good at room temperature]

  • the outer leaves, about 11 ounces by weight, from one 17-ounce head of rosa di verona radicchio (the oldest red chicory, and still the classic, although these were not round, but somewhat elongated, from Campo Rosso Farm, washed and drained, cut very roughly, sautéed in a little olive oil inside a large antique copper pot over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until tender to the bite and starting to brown just a bit, or maybe 6 to 8 minutes, sprinkle with salt and black pepper, arranged on the plates, drizzled with a little more olive oil [as with the potatoes, timing is really not very critical, as the chicory can be serves warm or at room temperature]
  • the wine was an Italian (Tuscany/Castiglioni) red, Tenuta Frescobaldi di Castiglioni 2017,from Philippe Wines
  • the music was Mahler’s Symphony No. 6, Claudio Abbado conducting the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

seared striped bass, shallot; roasted tomato; fennel, garlic

I always think of how privileged we are to be able to enjoy this magnificent local game fish, and I try hard to treat it well.

But the vegetables available to us, although rarely wild, are appreciated at least as much.

  • two 8-ounce striped bass fillets from Pura Vida Seafood Company, removed from the refrigerator, salted lightly, allowed to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes or so, then the skin side scraped with a butter knife to remove excess moisture and both sides patted dry afterward with a paper towel while an 11-inch well-seasoned French steel pan was heated above a high flame and a tablespoon, or a little more, of Australian Mac Nut macademia nut oil from Whole Foods Market poured into the pan and swirled to cover the bottom, allowed to get quite hot, the fish placed skin side down inside the pan, which was immediately jiggled to be sure that the fillets weren’t sticking, the fillets salted on that side, the heat turned down to medium-high, their surfaces pressed down lightly with a spatula for 30 to 60 seconds (to ensure that the skin browns evenly), cooked without moving for 3 or 4 minutes then flipped, at which moment the pan was jiggled again, to see that the filets moved easily, and that skin side cooked for another minute, to be sure maybe a bit more, the heat turned off shortly before the time was up, the pieces removed to a warm platter, a tablespoon and a half of butter added to the pan and swirled so that it melted swiftly, followed by a generous helping of chopped shallot from Alex’s Tomato Farm in the Saturday Chelsea’s Down to Earth Farmers Market on West 23rd Street, the mix stirred with a wooden spatula and the sauce immediately poured onto a portion of the surface of each of the 2 plates, the bass fillets arranged on top, garnished with micro chervil from Two guys from Woodbridge
  • eight ounces of washed and dried green (unripe) cherry tomatoes from Alewife Farm, first punctured with a skewer, slow-roasted inside a small antique rolled-edge tin square oven pan with a heaping teaspoon of dried Italian oregano from Buon Italia, one chopped red shishito pepper, also from Alewife Farm, half a tablespoon or more of olive oil, and 3 bruised cloves of garlic [I forgot my usual garlic routine here, and so they were halved rather than ‘bruised’] from Foragers Market, roasted late afternoon that day, at 325º for about 35 minutes, then set aside to be served at room temperature hours later with the rest of the entrée [Note: I had actually forgotten about them until after I had photographed the plate and we’d already begun eating, so I arranged the tomatoes in bowls to the side of the plates, and photographed one of those separately]
  • two small fennel bulbs from Quarton Farm, separated from their fronds, and the fronds separated from their stems, sliced, first in half, then into narrow wedges, sautéed in olive oil, along with some of the more tender stems, with a little chopped  ‘Chesnok Red’ garlic from Alewife Farm, sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, and 3 or 4 small of the red shishito peppers from Alewife Farm, chopped, until  everything has softened and begun to char, served garnished with some of the chopped fennel fronds
  • the wine was a New Zealand (Hawkes Bay) white, Rod Easthope Reserve Hawkes Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2018, from Naked Wines
  • the music was Richard Strauss’ ‘Ariadne auf Naxos’, with Jessye Norman in the title role, Kurt Masur conducting the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra

herbed bass, tomato-olive-chili salsa, dill; fried red pepper

It was delicious, and I think the plate looks good, which makes me almost as happy. Nothing was planned even seconds ahead in the presentation; it just unfolded, the fillet first, then the peppers, finishing with the salsa. The tomato and olive mix was placed close to the fish and not the peppers, because it was definitely an attribute of the former. It was not arranged on or under it because it would have at least partially obscured the beauty of the skin and the herbs with which the bass had been cooked, and because, being room temperature, it would have compromised its remaining warmth.

One other note about last night, something I can rarely say: No allium of any sort was harmed in the making of this meal.

  • two 6-ounce black sea bass filets from American Seafood Company in the Union Square Greenmarket, whose preparation began, once they had been removed from the refrigerator, with a fresh salsa assembled inside a small bowl about 30 minutes in advance of their cooking, incorporating one cup of sliced green heirloom tomatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, about half a cup of pitted Gaeta olives from Flatiron Eataly, a little crushed dried peperoncino Calabresi secchia from Buon Italia in the Chelsea Market, some local P.E. & D.D. Seafood Company sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, a pinch of crushed dried (now in powdered form) golden/orange habanada pepper, and a little olive oil, the mix tossed and then set aside while the fish was cooked: two 5 and a half-ounce black sea bass fillets, also from American Seafood Company, seasoned on both sides with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, sautéed over a fairly brisk flame in a little Mac Nut macademia nut oil from Whole Foods Market inside a large vintage oval tin-lined copper skillet, skin side down (because that will be the side seen on the plate later), turned over after about 3 minutes and the flesh side cooked for about the same length of time, or when the fish was done, when it was removed to 2 plates and kept warm while 2 tablespoons of butter were added to the pan and allowed to melt, a couple tablespoons of a mix of chopped spearmint from Stokes Farm and chopped parsley from Phillips Farms (an inspired choice, I think, but there are potentially so many others) tossed in, along with a tablespoon or more of Whole Foods Market organic Mexican lemon juice, all stirred into the butter for a few seconds before the sauce was spooned on top of the plated bass, and the salsa that had been set aside earlier arranged next to the fillets, both fish and salsa garnished with some wonderful pungent dill flowers from Quarton Farm scissored from their stems

seared striped bass, scape/celery sauce; roasted fingerling

When things go well in the kitchen. But not necessarily perfectly.

It was a really delicious dinner, although it wasn’t quite the dinner I had intended.

I thought it would end up looking more bright green than brown-green. I think I’ve pretty much gotten the crispy fish skin technique down, but now I have to know when to stop, or at least turn down the flame at the right time.

I’d say that the fish itself was superb, and cooked à point, which is an expression usually applied, in this country at least, only to steaks, an impreciseness which fits nicely with the meaty appearance of the bass fillets this time. Even the sauce was really tasty, in spite of having taken on a bit of an unintended brown butter effect.

In an earlier post I wrote that ‘the technique’ is from a page I found on line, ‘Perfect Seared Fish‘, written by Hank Shaw, who describes himself as a former line cook, but who is much more than that.

I didn’t have any micro sorrel or shallot blossoms this time, so I improvised a substitution for the main ingredient of the sauce: garlic scapes and celery stem and leaves, and I held the garnish. I think the decision worked out perfectly, except, maybe, for the brown part.\

  • one 14-ounce striped bass fillet from Pura Vida Seafood Company, removed from the refrigerator, the thick and the thin sections each halved, salted just a little, allowed to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes, then the skin side scraped with a butter knife to remove excess moisture, both sides patted dry afterward with a paper towel, an 11-inch well-seasoned French steel pan heated above a high flame and a tablespoon, or a little more, of Mac Nut macademia nut oil from Whole Foods Market poured into the pan, swirled to cover the bottom, and allowed to get hot, all 4 fish pieces placed skin side down inside the pan, which was immediately jiggled to be sure that the fish wasn’t sticking, the flesh side of the fillets salted, the heat turned down to medium-high, the bass pressed down lightly with a spatula for 30 to 60 seconds, to ensure that the skin browns evenly, then cooked without moving them for 3 or 4 minutes, the thinner pieces temporarily removed after only about one minute, set aside and returned before they were all to be flipped, at which moment the pan was first jiggled again, to see that the filets moved easily, the bass cooked skin side up for another minute, maybe a bit more, then removed to warm plates; the heat having been turned off before that minute was up, a tablespoon and a half of butter was now added to the pan, swirled so that it melted swiftly, followed by a generous helping of barely-blanched garlic scapes, from Berried Treasures Farm, cut into very short lengths, along with some chopped fresh celery leaves from from Lucky Dog Organic Farm, the pan stirred with a wooden spatula, the sauce immediately poured onto the 2 plates next to the fish already resting there

sea bass, tomato/olive salsa, micro sorrel; radicchio, leeks

It’s both a great fish and a luscious dish. Also, because of at least slight variations in the ingredients each time, starting with the kinds of tomatoes available, it never tastes quite the same. I think of that as a plus.

  • the preparations began with a salsa, assembled about 30 minutes in advance inside a small bowl, containing one cup of halved golden cherry tomatoes from Windfall Farms, half a cup of pitted and halved kalamata olives from Whole Foods Market, sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, 2 finely chopped fresh aji dulce peppers from Eckerton Hill Farm, and a little olive oil, the mix set aside while the fish was cooked: four 4-ounce black sea bass fillets from American Seafood Company, seasoned on both sides with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, sautéed skin side down over a fairly brisk flame in a little Mac Nut  macademia nut oil (which has a higher smoke point than olive oil) from Whole Foods Market inside a large, heavy antique oval copper skillet skin side down, turned after about 2 minutes, the other side cooked for about the same length of time, removed to 2 warm plates when done, 2 tablespoons of butter added to the pan and allowed to melt, a couple tablespoons of chopped peppermint from Keith’s Farm and chopped parsley from Quarton Farm tossed in, along with a tablespoon or more of Whole Foods Market organic lemon juice, and everything stirred for a few seconds before the sauce was spooned on top of the bass and the salsa set aside earlier arranged in a cascade between the 2 filets on each plate, both fish and salsa garnished with micro red vein sorrel from Two Guys from Woodbridge