cod and tomato baked on a bed of potato; baby greens mix

Just wonderful.

We’d enjoyed a very similar meal only about 3 weeks earlier, but that afternoon there had been a special request for a return visit.

Peeking behind the screen, this is what the entrée looked like after the cod was placed on the top of the potatoes, already mostly baked, before the pan was returned to the oven:

Full disclosure about the magic of photoshop:

Look, no toothpicks! I had forgotten to remove the sticks that I had used to secure the slices of tomato on top of the rounded surfaces of the fillets when I snapped the top photograph, noticing the fact only after we had started eating. I first decided I’d just go with it, and mention my mistake here. Then I remembered how easy it is to remove unwanted stuff with Photoshop, so I went ahead and pulled them out of  the image, but I decided to be honest about it.

  • two cod fillets (9 ounces each) from American Seafood Company in Wednesday’s Union Square Greenmarket, washed and rinsed, placed inside a deep platter on a bed of coarse sea salt, with more salt added on top until the pieces were completely covered, then set aside while a bed of potatoes was prepared by scrubbing, drying, and then slicing (to a thickness of roughly 1/4″) 2 different kinds of potatoes (because I thought the amount of  large white potato I had would be insufficient), mostly two Kennebec from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm, and 2 rather spectacular purple Magic Marley fingerlings from Race Farm, tossing them in a large bowl with a little olive oil, sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and a pinch of hickory-smoked Jamaican Scotch bonnet peppers from Eckerton Hill Farm, arranging the potatoes, slightly overlapping, inside a rectangular enameled cast iron pan, cooking them for roughly 25 minutes in a 400º oven, or until they were tender when pierced, but not quite fully cooked, then the cod fillets, having already been removed from the platter and their salt shroud, and thoroughly immersed in many fresh changes of water to bring down the saltiness, drained and dried, were placed inside the pan on top of the potatoes, drizzled with a little olive oil, sprinkled with some freshly-ground black pepper, partly blanketed with thin slices of 3 Backyard Farms Maine ‘Cocktail tomatoes’, secured in place with toothpicks where it seemed necessary, the tomato seasoned lightly and the pan returned to the oven for about 15 minutes (the fillets were thick), or until just cooked through, potato, cod and tomato removed with a spatula or spatulas, or at least as much of the potatoes as can be brought along with each portion of fish, everything arranged on the plates as intact as possible, the remainder of the potatoes added then
  • some of the contents of a bag of delicious mixed baby greens from Lani’s Farm, drizzled with a little good olive oil, Badia a Coltibuono, Monti del Chianti, from Chelsea Whole Foods Market
  • the wine was a Portuguese (Beira) white, Vinhas Velhas Branco, Luis Pato 2016, from Astor Wines
  • the music was Aulis Sallinen’s 1984 symbolist seriocomic opera (the composer has called it “a fairy tale for grown-ups”), ‘The King Goes Forth to France’, Okko Kamu, conducting the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra [“A dark yet wickedly funny opera from 1984 with roots somehow simultaneously in the Hundred Years War, the future, and our own environmentally challenged present, with the spectre of an idealistic leader who becomes a corrupt, warmongering tyrant.” – Andrew McGregor for the BBC]

speck, arugula, ricotta, olives, bread; baked cabbage pasta

It was simply an assembled meal, and it would not have been remarkable, literally, except that it was so good and satisfying.

The antipasto was sourced entirely from things hanging around the apartment.

  • two ounces of La Quercia’s Ridgetop Speck (applewood smoked prosciutto from pastured pigs) drizzled with a little olive oil (Badia a Coltibuono, from Gaiole in Chianti, Siena, Italy)
  • fresh ricotta cheese from a local New Jersey farm (no other information available) from Chelsea Whole Foods Market, also drizzled with the olive oil
  • Gaeta olives from Buon Italia, in Chelsea Market
  • arugula from Phillips Farms, dressed with the same olive oil
  • slices of a Balthazar Bread rye boule from Chelsea Whole Foods Market

The main course has been making regular stops on our table for days; this was its final appearance, at least in this production

  • a rich whole grain pasta combined with cheeses and 2 kinds of cabbage, originally prepared for last Saturday’s dinner, heated in a 350º oven for 12 minutes, now both more chewy and more crispy – and more flavorful – than ever; perfect

[the image of An Xiao at TEDGlobal 2013 in Edinburgh, by James Duncan Davidson, is from TEDBlog]; the image of Jeannette Sorrell, founder of Apollo’s Fire, directing this program of the group, is from Classical Voice North America]

broiled garlic/scallion-oiled ocean perch; mustard greens

While we really like the recipe I’ve been using for ocean perch fillets for several years, I wanted to try it without the anchovy. Last night I substituted sorrel, because at the moment, with what I had on hand at the moment, it seemed like the most promising alternative.

The result was good, but not exciting; I’m going to keep experimenting with the recipe, perhaps trying some kind of shellfish as the finish, but I also expect to also return to the anchovies, probably in smaller amounts.

I love what these red fillets look like, almost as much as I love their taste and texture.

  • six red-skinned ocean perch fillets (18 ounces) from P.E. & D.D. Seafood Company, rinsed, and dried, both sides brushed with 2 tablespoons of olive oil mixed with a total of little more than a teaspoon of a combination of very small chopped rocambole garlic cloves from Keith’s Farm and a thinly-sliced bit from the white section of scallion from from Phillips Farms, the fish seasoned, also on both sides, with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, placed skin side up inside an enameled cast iron pan and broiled, 4 or 5 inches from the flames, for 4 or 5 minutes, or until the skin had become crisp and the fish was cooked through, finished on the plates by drizzling with a small amount of sauce prepared by gently heating a few leaves of baby sorrel from Two Guys from Woodbridge in a bit of olive oil over a very low flame, with fresh leaves added after the heat under the was turned off, Whole Foods Market organic lemon wedges served on the side
  • slices of a buckwheat baguette from Runner & Stone Bakery, from their stand in Saturday’s Union Square Greenmarket

a large bunch of red mustard from Lani’s Farm, wilted in a little olive oil in which several large halved cloves of John D. Madura Farms garlic had been allowed to sweat a bit, seasoned with salt and pepper and finished on the plates with a drizzle of olive oil

baked pasta; lemon pork chop; micro mustard; baby greens

This meal should have been especially easy: For the first course there was an entire, quite sturdy, previously-prepared baked pasta. That meant that the entrée could be smaller and lighter than usual. Also, the roasted pork chop process was so familiar to me I could almost have done it blindfolded, that is, if I hadn’t absentmindedly turned off the oven as I removed the baked pasta.

I only noticed my mistake halfway through the [should have been] 13 or 14-minute roasting time for the chops, but with no real harm done, I recovered and brought them safely to the table, with, in this case, the indispensable assistance in of an instant-read thermometer (my own timing having been totally corrupted by the blunder).

The greens, meanwhile, waited patiently while I fumbled around the range and the oven.

The oven incident, described above, delayed the main course only slightly beyond what I had expected.

  • [this is a description of how it should have been] two thick 11-ounce blade pork chops from Flying Pigs Farm, rinsed, thoroughly dried, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, seared quickly in a heavy oval enameled cast-iron pan, half of a large organic Whole Foods Market lemon squeezed over the top (after which the lemon was left in the pan between them, cut side down), the chops placed in a 400º oven for about 13 minutes altogether (flipped halfway through, the lemon squeezed over them once again and, after a bit of crushed dried habanada pepper had been sprinkled on top of the pork, placed again on the bottom of the pan), removed from the oven and arranged on 2 plates, the few juices that remained, with the addition of a bit of vermouth and briefly heated, poured over the top, the plate garnished with micro red mustard from Two guys from Woodbridge
  • some of the contents of a bag of mixed baby greens from Lani’s Farm, wilted inside an antique medium-size high-sided copper pot in a little olive oil in which two halved garlic cloves from from John D. Madura Farms had been heated until softened, seasoned with salt and pepper [because of the delay in cooking the pork, they had reduced their volume somewhat, but they were still delicious]
  • the wine was a Portuguese (Beira) white, Quinta do Cardo White ‘Companhia das Quintas’ 2016, from Astor Wines

eggs with sorrel (also thyme and micro red Russian kale)

Because I felt there was nothing the least bit extraordinary about it, I wasn’t going to post about yesterday’s [very late] breakfast, until I saw the photo tonight, when I realized I was ready to serve it again, for dinner.

  • other than the fact that there were 3 fresh green herbs, or micro greens, no tomatoes, and almost no spices, it was a pretty familiar Sunday spread: very fresh eggs from pastured chickens and bacon from pastured pigs, both from Millport Dairy Farm; local, or regional, Organic Valley ‘Cultured Pasture Butter’, from Chelsea Whole Foods Market, on the side, for the toast; chopped fresh purple[ish] thyme from Phillips Farms, sprinkled on the eggs; Maldon salt; freshly-ground black pepper; a few Two Guys from Woodbridge baby sorrel leaves heated in a little Portuguese house olive oil from Chelsea While Foods Market (with more leaves tossed on top, for the color); lightly-toasted slices of Runner & Stone Bakery wheat and potato bread; the plates garnished with micro red Russian kale from Windfall Farms
  • the music was the 1994 recording of the beautiful 1605 ‘Officium defunctorum: Misa de Requiem a 6’, by the Spanish composer Tomás Luis de Victoria, performed by the Gabrieli Consort inside a Northumbrian priory