Note to self: This was my second outing with sea robin, and the result was even more delicious than the last time.
I absolutely do not understand the fact that this fish is still so unappreciated. My memory of sea robin goes back to my first and only experience of fishing in Atlantic waters. It was over 25 years ago, a company outing, a day trip, on a small party boat running off Long Island, and while we were hoping to haul in fluke, we were just as likely to hook a sea robin. Sadly, or not, I think these fascinating little ‘winged’ creatures were all returned to the sea that day. I took home the fluke.
I’m not even going to dwell on the fact that a generous serving for two will set you back little more than $5, or the fact that it is one of the easiest fish to prepare. I’m thinking of the taste and the texture, and, as always, the aesthetics of its appearance on a plate.
My next assignment is to come up with alternative preparations for this delicious fish, since I’m certain we will be enjoying it again and again.
Oh, the thyme branch sticking up out of one of the tomato slices? A momentary absence of mind as I rushed from counter to table, since it had nothing to do with the tomatoes, and everything to do with the tapenade, where it should properly have been planted.
- eight quite small sea robin ‘tails’ from P.E. & D.D. Seafood, rinsed, pat dry, then placed in a pan of sizzling olive oil and sautéed over medium-high heat for barely 2 minutes on each side, transferred to two plates, a little lemon squeezed on top and a bit of a tapenade sauce spread over the fillets, which were then garnished with fresh buds of basil plants given to us by a friend with a garden in Garrison, New York [the tapenade was prepared by hand rather than a blender, chopping the ingredients, which included Gaeta olives from Buon Italia, a little Rocambole garlic from Keith’s Farm, one rinsed chopped anchovy, also from Buon Italia, salted rinsed capers from Buon Italia, ground black pepper, olive oil, and fresh thyme from Phillips Farm]
- tiny, very tender haricots verts from Norwich Meadows Farm, blanched in salted water, dried and reheated in butter which had warmed a little bit of chopped shallot from Keith’s Farm, some ramp fruits from Berried Treasures, dill flowers from Crock & Jar/Rise & Root, and parsley from Paffenroth Farms
- two heirloom tomatoes from Berried Treasures, sliced, drizzled with good olive oil, sprinkled with Maldon salt, and tossed with some torn basil leaves clipped from a Full Bloom Market Garden plant in a south window, which had originated in Massachusetts and arrived in our rooms via Whole Foods
- slices of a small sourdough baguette from Barbara Olson of Buon Pane
- the wine was a New Zealand white, Tablelands Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough 2014
- the music was the symphonies Number 2 and 4 of Robert Schumann, conducted by Roger Norrrington
the sea robin, out of water, “Caught in New Haven Harbor”
[the image at the bottom is from Wikimedia Commons]