Month: September 2010

Portuguese pork, wax beans 09/26/10

We may have thought a bit more than usual in choosing an appropriate wine for this meal.  An Alentejo would have been appropriate, and probably super, but we didn’t have a Portuguese red in our rack.  We ended up opening this Crianza from Bierzo, an area of Spain just 50 miles north and east of its Iberian neighbor, although I think we chose it mostly because, having had it before, we knew it was very good.

Also, the pairing of the rich, peppery pork and the faintly-crunchy wax beans, which were rendered even sweeter by my serendipitous addition of the ground cherries and lovage I had on hand, was a match made in heaven, if not actually in either Portugal or Spain.

  • Roberto grissini, spicy red radishes from the Greenmarket
  • Portuguese-style cheese-stuffed pork tenderloin, here meaning a tenderloin purchased from Eataly and prepared according to a recipe in David Leite’s beautiful and scrumptious “The New Portuguese Table“, where the small loin is stuffed with grated Parmesan cheese, coated in a classic “Amped-up Red Pepper Paste” (with a few substitutions), left to marinate in the refrigerator for six hours, browned in duck fat ten minutes or so, and roasted in the oven for ten more, finished with a sauce made by deglazing the browning pan with white wine and some good beef stock (as well as a dollop of duck demi-glaze, left over from the same recent meal from which the duck fat was salvaged) the liquid then reduced, and finished with a generous garnish of chopped Titan parsley (Italian-type, but dark-green and more bushy-looking, with leaves slightly curled on the edges), from the Greenmarket’s adventurous Paffenroth Gardens; accompanied by par-boiled wax beans briefly reheated in oil and then tossed with halved ground cherries and shredded lovage leaves (the beans and “cherries” from Berried Treasures Farm, the lovage from another farmer, both stalls in the Greenmarket);  and slices of a very sturdy ciabatta, made with unbleached whole-grain wheat flower, bread from Bobolink Dairy, also in the Greenmarket (the bread is from their brand-new oven)
  • wine:  Spanish, Leon, Flavium Crianza Bierzo 2006, from from Phillipe Wine
  • (because we had neither Aguardente nor Bagaço, yet some kind of “digestivo” seemed like a very appropriate followup to this course) grappa, here a golden form (aged 12 months in French oak), Grappa Velia, from Mastroberardino, a surprising survivor from a trip we made to Naples too many years ago

tuna, turkish eggplant, grilled 9/23/10

  • red radishes, grissini
  • tuna steak from Citarella, covered on both sides with a mixture of crushed fennel seed, garlic and oil, seasoned, then briefly pan-grilled, and finished with drops of oil and lemon juice; accompanied by colorful Turkish eggplants, from Keith’s Farm in the Greenmarket (note:  I haven’t been able to locate anything that looks like these beauties on line), which had been halved, scored and brushed with a mixture of oil, garlic, shiso, and lovage (the garlic, shiso and lovage used in this meal all came from the Greenmarket), seasoned, then also pan-grilled
  • wine:  California, Parducci Pinot Noir 2008, Mendocino
  • green figs from Eataly, served with a bit of balsamic vinegar

“ducketta”, tomato, herbed La Ratte 9/21/10

This duck breast was incredibly delicious, and unlike any domesticated bird I’d ever tasted.  It was closer in taste to the wild duck Barry and I had enjoyed in a small tavern below the Austrian inn in which we stayed overnight in Melk years ago.  On that occasion however the meat included a pellet from the hunter’s shotgun (discovered in time), evidence of its origins.
  • grissini (Roberto)
  • ducketta“, using the two halves of a complete duck breast from the smallish Lola heritage breed produced by Hudson Valley Duck Farm and purchased at the New Amsterdam Market (although the farm can also be found in the Union Square Greenmarket on Mondays), stuffed with a paste of garlic, crushed fennel seeds, chopped rosemary, grated parmesan and oil, then seasoned and browned on top of the range, and finally turned over and roasted in the oven;  accompanied by a halved, seasoned, grilled orange heirloom tomato from Bodhitree Farm in the Greenmarket, finished with a light brushing of balsamic vinegar; and small La Ratte potatoes from Berried Treasures Farm (also in the Greenmarket) which had been halved lengthwise, tossed with oil, chopped rosemary and sage, seasoned, and roasted on a ceramic pan in the oven
  • wine:  Spanish red, Navarre, Inurrieta 2005 Sur (75% Garnacha, 25% Graciano) from 67 Wine
  • candied slices of ginger