It was a beautiful day, a beautiful fish, and a beautiful meal.
I love tilefish, and I jump at the chance to enjoy it almost every time I see it in the market.* Yesterday was one of those days, and it turned out perfectly.
I’m getting pretty confident about preparing most fish, so when I finally started to put this meal on the table, realizing how late it was, I improvised, pretty fearlessly. I opted for the simplest – and almost the fastest – approach for the tilefish I could imagine, and did the same with the 2 vegetables. Most of the time spent in ‘cooking’ was devoted to picking out, washing, drying and chopping fresh herbs. Beyond that I just separated them for different applications, mixing them up with the fish, potato, and tomato. All I really had to be concerned about was coordinating the different oven temperatures ideal for each.
- one one-pound tilefish fillet from American Seafood Company, rinsed, dried, halved, seasoned with salt and freshly-ground pepper, placed inside a tin-lined copper au gratin pan in which 3 tablespoons of Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter had been allowed to melt in the pan inside the oven until barely browned, but before a small amount of chopped baby leek (the green part) and at least 3 tablespoons of chopped herbs (basil from Full Bloom Market Garden, and tarragon, both from Whole Foods; and parsley from Gristede), roasted, skinned side down, then turned, for about 12 minutes, or until done, removed to the plates and sauced with the pan juices
- four Backyard Farms Maine ‘cocktail tomatoes’, some from Eataly, some from Whole Foods, halved, then heated gently in a small copper pan, seasoned with slat and pepper, and scattered with a little chopped oregano from Stokes Farm
- a couple handfuls of nutty fingerling potatoes (10?), the last of our stock from a friend’s garden, ‘Lower Hayfields’, in Garrison, New York, halved, tossed with a little olive oil, fresh rosemary from Hoeffner Farms and sage from Eataly, each chopped only a little bit, a small amount of crushed, dark, home-dried heatless Habanada pepper, acquired fresh from Norwich Meadows Farm last summer, salt, and freshly-ground pepper, spread, cut side down, onto a medium Pampered Chef unglazed ceramic pan, roasted at about 425º [ideally 375º, but the tilefish required 475º, so I moslly halved the difference] for maybe 15 minutes, or until the potatoes were both tender and slightly browned
- the wine was an Argentinian (Mendoza) white, Familia Mayol Garnacha Blanca Mendoza 2014, from Chelsea Wine Vault
- the music was by Karel Husa (who died 4 weeks ago at 95), his ‘Music for Prague 1968’ (1969), and ‘Apotheosis of this Earth’ (1970), Jorge Mester conducting the Louisville Orchestra (along with the University of Louisville Choir in the second piece), both in orchestral reworkings of compositions originally composed for concert band
*the photograph of a beautiful fresh tilefish fillet on ice is from an earlier post, in that instance also a purchase from American Seafood