roasted squid, oregano, chili, habanada, lemon; pak choy

It was like they’d known each other all their lives; the cephalopods and the pak choy got along famously last night, after only a few minutes of acquaintance, er, ..prep.

Anything fresh and green is hugely appreciated at farmers’ markets in January, so this beautiful vegetable must have gone fast. It was almost mid-afternoon when I arrived at one of my favorite vegetable stalls in Union Square. Unable to be choosey, I ended up with a complete range of sizes; regardless, they all pretty much cook the same.

  • a large enameled cast iron pan heated until quite hot, its cooking surface brushed with olive oil, and, when the oil was also quite hot, about 14 ounces of rinsed and dried squid from Blue Moon Fish in the Union Square Greenmarket, bodies and a few tentacles, arranged in it very quickly, immediately sprinkled with some super-pungent dried Sicilian oregano from Buon Italia and part of a crushed dried Sicilian pepperoncino, also from Buon Italia, and a very small bit of home-dried heatless, orange Habanada pepper purchased fresh from Norwich Meadows Farm, followed by a drizzle of a few tablespoons of juice from a local lemon from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island, and some olive oil, the pan placed inside a pre-heated 400º oven and roasted for 4 or 5 minutes, removed, the squid distributed onto 2 plates and ladled with their cooking juices after they had been transferred to a sauce pitcher, with halves of another, tiny local lemon-lime served on the side
  • pak choy (also called bok choy) from Norwich Meadows Farm, washed, sliced lengthwise, wilted in olive oil along with 2 garlic cloves from Lucky Dog Organic Farm which had already been browned very lightly in the oil, the greens seasoned with salt and pepper and drizzled with a little more olive oil
  • the wine was an Italian (Sicily, Palermo) white, Corvo Insolia 2015 from Philippe Wine and Spirits, on West 23rd Street less than one block from our table
  • the music was Mieczyslaw Weinberg ‘s Symphony No. 3, Thord Svedlund conducting the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra