swordfish, pepper mix, herbs; rutabaga frites; grilled celery


There are a few modest new things going on here, new even to me.

I’ve worked before with the same basic swordfish recipe [Bon Appétit, 2005] used here, but I’ve never finished the steaks with winter savory; I’ve eaten rutabaga all my life, having grown up in a more-or-less-German-American kitchen (learning only much later that the French normally think of that vegetable as suitable for pigs), but I think I’ve never before attempted to prepare them as frites, even faux-frites; I love the flavor of celery in any form (incidentally, in Europe it’s celeriac, and not what we know as celery, that’s the kind preferred for cooking), but I think this was the first time I had pan-grilled the green stalks themselves.

  • two swordfish steaks, off of Scott Rucky’s fishing vessel, ‘Dakota’, out of East Islip, Long Island, from American Seafood Company in the Union Square Greenmarket, dried, sprinkled with salt and a mix of 6 different peppercorns, ground coarsely in my ancient mortar, browned in a little olive oil on one side (about 3 minutes) inside a tin-lined copper au gratin pan, then turned over and the pan transferred to a 400º oven for about 7 or 8 minutes, or until barely cooked, removed and placed on warm plates while a seasoned butter was added to the pan (composed of  2 tablespoons of softened butter, a quarter teaspoon or more of the same peppercorn mix, half of a teaspoon of organic lemon zest, a bit of salt, one minced rocambole garlic clove from Keith’s Farm, and chopped parsley from Eataly) and scraped together over medium heat along with the cooking juices, to collect the brown bits from the bottom, the sauce poured over the steaks, which were then sprinkled with chopped winter savory from Stokes Farm (damn, that stuff really lasts!)
  • about a pound of ‘Gilfeather turnips’ from Alewife Farm (the turnip/rutabaga hybrid is of Vermont origin, which, by one account, “has a mild taste that becomes sweet and a creamy white color after the first frost“), cut as french fries, tossed with about one tablespoon of olive oil, salt, pepper, one clove of garlic from from Tamarack Hollow Farm, minced, and two sprigs of rosemary from Stokes Farm, chopped, spread evenly onto a large, seasoned, unglazed ceramic oven pan, and roasted at 400º for about 25 minutes
  • several celery stalks from Migliorelli Farm (yes, in late January!), their leaves removed and reserved, trimmed, tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper, pan-grilled, finished with the reserved leaves, which had been chopped, and sprinkled with micro arugula greens from Lucky Dog Organic
  • the wine was a New Zealand (Marlborough) white, Mount Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2013
  • the music was Hans Werner Henze’s idiosyncratic 1971, Concerto for Violin no 2