Sometimes it may actually be better late than ever.
I arrived at the Greenmarket well after 1 o’clock on Monday, where I discovered that PE & DDSeafood had sold out of everything but swordfish (one steak left), tuna, and scallops. I had intended to pick up one of the less expensive items, but they had already been snapped up. Now able to forget about frugality, I asked for ten large scallops (about three quarters of a pound in this case). After exchanging a bit of banter about the fish, and the singularity of customers unfamiliar with the ways of the market, as I bid Carl and Delores goodbye, I found myself holding a beautiful little silver, clear-eyed fish wrapped in a plastic bag. Delores, who had pressed the Porgy into my hand, explained that she had found it hiding under the ice alone, well after she had sold out the rest of its school chums.
She added that it had been both gutted and scaled, a labor, as I reflected later, of astonishing generosity for a fish which could be bought so modestly. I thanked her and promised that I would give it a good (if temporary) home. I think the meal described here shows I did pretty well by the little Porgy, and it also shows the fortuitousness of my late arrival at the Greenmarket.
My added bounty meant that I would have two seafood courses for dinner. The image at the top shows the stars of each prior to their being put onto an enameled, cast iron grill pan at different points of the evening. The image immediately below is of the finished first course, which was an approximation of grilled whole fish à la Grecque (note that the little fish didn’t take to a proper filleting). The final image is of the second course, which included the scallops, plum tomatoes, and mustard greens.
- one three-ounce whole porgy, rubbed with a mix of chopped garlic from Norwich Meadows Farm, red onion from Phillips Farm, and fresh oregano from Central Valley Farm, along with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, basted several times while pan-grilled, finished with a bit of the reserved mixture, then boned and placed on a bed of arugula from Migliorelli Farm dressed with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper
- slices of Il Forni bakery’s ‘Pane di Sesamo’, from the West Side Market
- scallops from PE&DD, stuffed with and rolled in a mixture of wild wood sorrel from Bodhitree Farm, finely-minced garlic from Norwich Meadows Farm, part of a very finely-minced red Thai pepper from Norwich Meadows Farm, olive oil, salt and pepper, then pan-grilled, finished with a drizzle of a bit of lemon and brushed with olive oil
- Green Sausage tomatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, sliced in half, placed face down on a plate spread with salt and pepper, then dried somewhat and placed in a hot grill pan, turned once, removed, finished with a bit of olive oil and white balsamic vinegar
- lacy purple mustard greens from Lani’s Farm, wilted with oil which had warmed a halved clove of bruised garlic from Norwich Meadows Farm, finished with a drizzle of oil
- the wines were French and Spanish whites, a bottle of Château Gaillard Val de Loire Touraine Sauvignon Blanc 2013, and part of a bottle of Ipsum Verdejo 2012
The complex cultural inspirations for this meal may be centered geographically somewhere in the middle of the Alps (French, Italian, Swiss, Austrian, and German), but in execution it struck us as being pretty Germanic. The recipe for the duck breast has become a classic in our kitchen.
- duck breast from Pat LaFrieda at Eataly, the fatty side scored, then covered with salt, pepper and a bit of turbinato sugar infused with a vanilla bean, left standing for about half an hour before it was pan-fried, finished with lemon, chopped wild wood sorrel from Bodhitree, and a bit of olive oil
- Kartoffelklöße (potato dumplings) from Schaller & Weber, topped by a rich sauce composed of duck juices and several intense elements, fresh and frozen, left over from earlier meals, including the spicy sauce from the quail served two days back, extended with a bit of good chicken stock, and finished with chopped lovage from Windfall Farms
- treviso from Campo Rosso Farm (located in Berks County, Pennsylvania, new to the Union Square Greenmarket, specializing in greens and vegetables) quartered, marinated for half an hour in a mix of garlic from Norwich Meadows Farm, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, then pan-grilled and finished with some of the reserved marinade
- the wine was a wonderful Austrian red which was not particularly Alpine, but definitely Germanic, Andau Zweigelt Burgenland 2012 (the maker, Winzerkeller Andau, is a 300-member co-op located in a tiny village of on Austria’s border with Hungary)
My favorite recipe for flattened pan-grilled quail is from reflects my normally pretty minimal approach to preparing good ingredients. I’ve prepared it many times in the past, but I wanted to try something different this time, and I also wanted the entrée to incorporate other ingredients that were at their peak on the day I pulled the birds out of the refrigerator. I found this Neil Perry recipe on line, which searching for something which used quail and tomato, and his somewhat maximalist approach also left me room for serving a fresh wilted green and a contorno on the side (the vegetables’ usual roles reversed here, for aesthetic reasons)
- partially-boned Georgia quail from O. Ottomanelli & Sons Prime Meat Market on Bleecker Street, rubbed with the spices, lemon and oil indicated in Perry’s recipe, mixed with chopped garlic from Norwich Meadows Farm, a chopped red onion from Hawthorne Valley Farm, parsley from Paffenroth Gardens, basil from Gotham Greens and lovage from Windfall Farms, left to marinate for about an hour, cooked on both sides for a total of 7 or 8 minutes, set to rest for 5 minutes before being placed on the plate over a bed of sliced heirloom tomatoes from Central Valley Farm which had been seasoned and sprinkled with olive oil and a bit of Jerez vinegar, the quail then finished with a squeeze of lemon
- minutina from Bodhitree Farm, barely wilted, then seasoned and finished with olive oil
- red radishes from Paffenroth Gardens, halved, tossed with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper, then spread, undisturbed, on a small Pampered Chef stoneware* baking pan in a hot oven for about 15 minutes
- the wine, to honor Neil Perry, and because it seemed right, was an Australian red, Yalumba Bush Vine Grenache Barossa 2012
* crazy about those pans; I have this small one, and two large
Chicken has probably never made an appearance in this site, except in the form of eggs, and I almost never eat chicken out, but I’ve recently become belatedly aware of an excellent source for safe, conscionably-raised – and delicious – poultry lying right under my vegetable-loving nose, so to speak. We have been enjoying the produce of Zaid and Haifa Kurdieh’s Norwich Meadows Farm for years, and they are definitely the real thing. I’m now a fan of their poultry and their eggs.
- a simple braise or ‘stew’ of chicken thighs, described by Mark Bittman, using Norwich Meadows Farm browned in a cast iron enameled Dutch oven, with two full heads of garlic, unpeeled, a generous amount of chopped parsley from Paffentoth Gardens and about a third of a cup of white wine, salt and pepper added, then everything brought to a boil and covered, simmered for about 45 minutes, the garlic removed and spread onto crusty bread when finished, the chicken finished with chopped parsley or, in this case, lovage from Windfall Farms, and turned onto the edges of the slices of garlic bread
- a mix of collards from Lucky Dog Organic and mustard greens from Lani’s Farm, braised with a bit of garlic from Berried Treasures, seasoned, then finished with olive oil
- the wine was a New Zealand red, Marlborough Opawa Pinot Noir 2012
This dish, or at least the Inguazato part, appeared on the site earlier in the month. I don’t usually repeat myself with such frequency, but the recipe is really good, I had picked up the monkfish that day, and I happened to have delicious cherry tomatoes and also some green olives that were unlikely to all end up in martinis.
- a monkfish tail from Blue Moon Fish, prepared using a David Pasternak recipe which involved couscous, olive oil, sliced garlic from Berried Treasures, some cherry tomatoes, also from Berried Treasures, cracked (Sicilian-like?) green olives from Whole Foods, and almost all of one whole crushed dried chile
- minutina from Bodhitree Farm, barely wilted, then tossed with cut chives from Eckerton Hill Farm, seasoned, and finished with olive oil
- the wine, appropriate to the cultural source of the recipe was a Sicilian white, Corvo Insolia 2013 from Philippe Wine in Chelsea