The meal was a modest variation on the fried eggs, bacon, and toast we often have on Sunday morning-into-early-afternoon. The chief differences this time were the thick toast and the choice of red micro sorrel as topping and garnish.
The headline reflects the title of one of the pieces of music which accompanied the meal.
- the ingredients included 6 eggs and 8 slices of thick bacon from Millport Dairy Farm; thick slices of a day-old demi-baguette from Bread Alone, toasted on top of the stove on our very retro, ‘Camp-A-Toaster’, (the baguette augmented later by toasts from a loaf of whole wheat farm bread from Rock Hill Bakery); chopped sections of one red scallion from Norwich Meadows Farm, 14 small Sun Gold tomatoes from Stokes Farm, 2 finely-chopped heatless orange Habanada peppers; Maldon salt, Tellicherry pepper, chopped fresh rosemary from Stokes Farm; a dab of an aromatic seasoning blend called L’eKama; and a sprinkling of micro red sorrel from Two Guys from Woodbridge
- the music was an album of organ works of Messiaen, including, ‘Le Banquet Céleste‘ (1928), a title (and a sentiment, if not examined too closely) we thought particularly appropriate for a somewhat rich Sunday breakfast/lunch, even if it the ‘banquet’ in question was to be laid out for a very small band of atheists
Steak and potatoes. And greens. But not just steak and potatoes. And the greens were also very, very good. The thick heavily-marbled pastured and grass-fed ‘Delmonico cut’ beef was from an Amish family’s farm in Pennsylvania, the small juicy fingerlings from a friend’s garden just north of New York, and the sweet collards from the northern Vermont farm of a couple who have become Greenmarket friends
I didn’t have to travel more than a mile from home to harvest all of it.
- a one-pound Delmonico steak from Millport Dairy Farm, dried, pan-grilled to medium rare, divided into 2 pieces, drizzled on the plates with a squeeze of lemon and a little olive oil, finished with a sprinkling of bronze micro fennel from Windfall Farm
- fingerling potatoes from a friend’s garden, ‘Lower Hayfields’, in Garrison, New York, most of them halved, tossed with at little olive oil, some finely-chopped no-heat Habanada pepper from Norwich Meadows Farm, crumbled dried sage and chopped fresh rosemary, both from Stokes Farm, salt, and pepper, spread, cut side down, onto a large Pampered Chef unglazed ceramic pan, roasted at 375º for about 25 minutes, or until both tender and slightly browned
- collard greens from Tamarack Hollow Farm, cut as a very rough chiffonade, then braised in a heavy pot in which crushed ‘German Hardneck’ garlic from Race Farm had been allowed to sweat with some olive oil, the dish finished with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil
- the wine was a California (Calveras) red, F. Stephen Millier Black Label Red Angel Red Blend Calaveras County 2014, from Naked Wines
- the music was an album of electronically manipulated musical, spoken, and natural sounds by Roger Reynolds
This time I strayed so far from the urtext of a recipe, one which I have used many times before, that I won’t even go into its antecedents.
I’ll only introduce the ingredients.
It’s a mystery to me why pollock is always so modestly priced at the fish market, because it really is a great fish, with excellent flavor and wonderful texture, and it’s really easy to prepare. It’s also amenable to any number of creative treatments, although I’d recommend not getting too fancy, or its very real virtues might end up hidden.
The other mystery is the phenomenal shape of Romanesco broccoli, normally unnaturally geometric, but this time, in parts, almost diabolically contorted, and also two-toned!
- two 8-ounce pollock fillets from Pura Vida Seafood, dried, seasoned on both sides with salt and pepper, placed in a buttered copper au gratin pan, spread over the top with a mixture of soft butter, lemon zest, and some chopped red scallions from S. & S.O. Produce Farms [almost any other mild allium could be substituted], and one finely-chopped habanada pepper from Norwich Meadows Farm, baked 12 to 15 minutes at 350º, removed to 2 plates, some micro red sorrel from Two Gus from Woodbridge briefly stirred into the pan juices, which were drizzled on top of the fillets, the dish finished with some more (fresh) micro sorrel
- fourteen sun gold tomatoes, from 2 different growers, Ryder Farm and Stokes Farm, heated with a little olive oil inside a small Pyrex glass pan until they had begun to soften, then seasoned with salt and pepper and added to the au gratin pan after the pollock had been removed, but before the sorrel had been added
- one magnificent Romanesco broccoli head from Berried Treasures, broken up into florets, tossed with a little olive oil (not too much, to guarantee a slightly crispy, slightly carbonized side dish), salt, pepper, and part of a seeded medium-hot red cherry pepper from Oak Grove Plantation, finely chopped, the mix spread onto one of my several Pampered Chef unglazed ceramic pans and roasted at 400º for about 25 minutes [it was necessary to juggle the fish and the vegetable inside the oven on account of the different oven temperatures required], removed from the oven, stirred, and served
- the wine was a California (Napa) white, Matt Iaconis Chardonnay Napa Valley 2015
- the music was Vivaldi’s ‘Armida’, Rinaldo Alessandrini directing Concerto Italiano
The basic recipe for this simple fresh pasta sauce, from Mark Bittman, is one I had cut out of the ‘New York Times Magazine’ 5 years ago, in the first week of August, and while I have associated it with summer, it sure looks summery in the picture, and, yes, it tasted summery, all of the vegetables and herbs were purchased at the Union Square Greenmarket in this last week of October.
One of the most interesting aspects of this preparation, at least for me, is the fact that it calls for neither salt (other than that added to the water in which the pasta was boiled), nor black pepper. Does that betray the peasant origin of the dish, since contadini might have often have had to depend solely on the product of their own fields for ingredients?
I think these tomatoes are betraying their awareness the season is ending; the micro radish greens don’t seem to have a clue however, and they’re probably right if they’re thinking their kind will be around all winter, snug in their high tunnels.
- eight ounces of Setaro penne rigate, from Buon Italia, cooked al dente, then tossed in a large bowl in which 3 heirloom tomatoes, an orange and a red, from Eckerton Hill Farm and a green from Norwich Meadows Farm, cut into rough chunks, had been mixed, just after the pasta water had been places on the range, with 3 tablespoons of a decent olive oil, 3 lightly-crushed ‘German Hardneck’ garlic cloves from Race Farm, one medium-hot green Pasilla pepper from Oak Grove Plantation, a heatless orange Habanada pepper from Norwich Meadows Farm, and about half of a cup of torn basil from Stokes Farm, stirred and allowed to sit until the pasta itself was ready, served in shallow bowls, finished with a sprinkling of homemade bread crumbs that had been browned in a little olive oil, topped with purple micro radish from Windfall Farms
- the wine was an Italian (Piedmont) white, Ioppa Vino Bianco San Grato 2015
- the music was Per Nørgård’s Symphony No. 5, the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by John Storgårds
Lately I’ve been a little truant about visits to the Union Square Greenmarket: I’ve made dinners, on almost successive nights, using fish and meat not even produced inside our national borders. Although not anathema, it’s something I normally try to avoid. I do have some weak excuses however.
On Monday it was Spanish sardines, and last night, Wednesday, normally a fish day for us, it was Quebec pork chops. I had wandered over to the Greenmarket around the middle of the day to pick up something with fins for dinner, but when I got there I learned that the ocean fisher people had not been able to make it that day, and that as a consequence, the freshwater guy had sold out early.
Again, as on Monday, I thought of a pasta entrée, but, again, as on Monday, it was not to be. This time I was at Whole Foods Market, essentially to pick up milk, when I came across something new in the meat case, some very fine-looking organic, pork (“Raised in open barns with outdoor access“) from a Quebec producer I had heard of. Largely because I had vegetables more suitable to a fish or meat dinner, I decided once again that the pasta could wait.
- 2 organic pork loin chops (totaling 1.05 lbs) from the French Canadian producer, duBreton, via Whole Foods, thoroughly dried, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, seared quickly on both sides inside a very hot, heavy enameled cast-iron pan, one small finely-chopped floral-scented orange Habanada pepper (heatless) from Norwich Meadows Farm sprinkled on the top surfaces before half of an organic lemon was squeezed over them, after which the lemon was left on the surface of the pan between the chops, the pan placed in a 425º oven for about 14 minutes (flipped halfway through, the pepper pieces repositioned on the surfaces, the lemon squeezed over the top once again and once again replaced in the pan, the finished dish removed from the oven and arranged on 2 plates, and some red micro sorrel from Two Guys from Woodbridge pushed around inside the pan before the luscious pan juices were spooned over the top of the chops
- two small red new potatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, boiled in well-salted water, drained, dried in the still-warm glass pot, quartered, rolled in a little olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, sprinkled with chopped thyme from Keith’s Farm
- red Russian kale from Keith’s Farm, sautéed in olive oil in which one bruised and halved German Hardneck garlic clove from Race Farm had first been allowed to sweat and barely begin to brown, seasoned with salt, pepper, and a dash of more olive oil
- the wine was a California (Santa Ynez) white, Literally Sauvignon Blanc California 2013
- the music was the album, ‘Complete Mozart Edition Vol 36‘, which includes ‘Zaide’ and ‘Schauspieldirektor’