The sea robin was delicious, but I think I overdid the garnish this time. It really didn’t need the bed of arugula, especially since I was sprinkling the fish itself with some torn fresh basil.
I was trying to hard to use the arugula I had in the refrigerator door while it was still sprightly, but also I was distracted by both an unusually smokey kitchen (the oil-tossed squash grilling over a high flame), and my multitasking 2 other very different programs (preparing the fish and vegetables at the same time I was rendering a supply of fresh veal fat in a large pot), all inside a warm kitchen.
[the veal fat, from Consider Bardwell Farm in the Union Square Greenmarket, originated with a calf of their cow milk partner, Lisa Kaiman’s Jersey Girls Dairy (her cow’s are Jerseys, and Lisa is from New Jersey, hence..) in Chester Vermont]
But the air cleared, the breakfast room eventually cooled down, and we enjoyed the meal – and great conversation – including some excellent cheese, great bread, and one of our favorite table wines.
- nine quite small sea robin fillets, or ‘tails’, from Pura Vida Fisheries, rinsed, pat dry, seasoned with salt and pepper, then placed in an oval heavy copper pan of sizzling olive oil, sautéed over medium-high heat for barely 2 minutes on each side, transferred to 2 plates where they were perched on some rocket/arugula (‘wild arugula’) from Migliorelli Farm, a little organic lemon squeezed on top, and small spoonfuls of a olive tapenade sauce made minutes earlier (Gaeta olives, brined wild capers, a salted anchovy, and some chopped fresh thyme) spread over or between the fillets, which were garnished with torn fresh basil leaves from Sycamore Farms
- four small patty pan squash from Alewife Farm, sliced horizontally, tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, chopped fresh garlic from Alewife Farm, part of a hot red Portugal pepper from Keith’s Farm, salt, and pepper, then pan grilled for about 6 minutes, sprinkled with lovage from Keith’s Farm
There was a small cheese course, which included a few sweet cherries from Samascott Orchards.
- three cheeses from Consider Bardwell Farm: ‘Dorset’, a rich, buttery washed-rind cow milk cheese, and their 2 new-ish blues, ‘Barden Blue’, a cow cheese, and a goat blue which I believe has not yet been named [might I humbly suggest ‘Wellen’, as in Bardwell’s ‘Barden’-‘Wellen’?]
- a terrific Hudson Bakery pumpernickel boule from Citarella