Note to self: All elements combined to make this a terrific meal, and it looked dazzling as well.
I’m not really trying to serve fish almost every night, but I find that, for me at this time, having at least a small portion of either seafood or meat makes it easier to build a good vegetable accompaniment (it’s an ‘accompaniment’, so it has to accompany something), and meat just doesn’t interest me as much as fish does right now. I also still think that it’s very often more interesting to serve wine with an entrée which includes something other than just vegetables, although that too may change for me.
On my way uptown to a recital early this evening I thought about the fact that I hadn’t really planned what I was going to prepare for dinner, and the fact that that seemed to have been a conscious decision. Then I quickly made the connection between the subway route we would be taking home and the fact that the Whole Foods on the corner of 24th and 7th always has wild northwestern salmon, and it’s often on sale. Barry had mentioned that we had a larger supply of good pinot noir on hand than usual, and I thought of the dill flowers in the refrigerator door, and the bag of Corno di Toro sweet peppers in the crisper which I was anxious to try. Salmon sounded absolutely right.
- one 12-and-a-half-ounce fillet of wild Coho salmon from Whole foods, cut into two servings, placed in an oval, enameled cast iron pan in which about two tablespoons of unsalted butter had been allowed to heat until the foam began to recede, but not introduced before a small handful of slightly-crushed ramp fruit from Berried Treasures had been warmed in it, the pan with the salmon then placed in a 450º oven for about 7 minutes, the fillets flipped a little more than half way through, removed when barely cooked through, arranged on plates, sprinkled with Maldon salt, freshly-ground Tellicherry pepper, and – most importantly – some fresh dill flowers from Crock & Jar/Rise & Root, in the Union Square Greenmarket, where almost everything else mentioned in these ‘pages’ has been found
- delicious Corno di Toro long sweet frying peppers (red and yellow) from Campo Rosso Farm, stemmed, split, seeded, the piths remove, sliced lengthwise once or twice, fried in olive oil pressed under a weighted pan, first skin side down until blistered, then turned and fried, again under a weighted pan, for another 30 seconds or so, a small handful of washed and dried whole basil leaves and a splash of (medium quality) balsamic vinegar added to the pan, stirring for a few seconds until the herb is wilted and the vinegar has sort of exploded in the heated oil, which was then removed from the heat and the vegetable served
- a salad of husk cherries from Oak Grove Plantation, arugula from Phillips Farm, and a generous amount of fresh fennel seed – and pollen – from Lani’s Farm, dressed with good olive oil, lemon juice, Maldon salt, and freshly-ground Tellicherry pepper [the only quibble I have with the entire meal is that, while the husk cherries look great whole, they’re very difficult to pick up with a fork; next time I’ll try to remember to slice them in two before adding them to the greens]
- the wine was an Oregon red, Elk Cove Vineyards ‘La Sirene’ Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011, the gift of a friend
- the music was Haydn, Symphonies No, 20 and 21, performed by the Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra under Adám Fischer