pollock, zest, chili, onion, capers; potatoes, chives; spinach

I’ve always described pollock as a wonderful fish, and this time, more than ever before, on Wednesday it looked as lovely as it tasted.

The image above is of one serving of the cooked fish, and below is a picture of what the fillet (already divided into 2 pieces) looked like just before being put into the oven:

If you’re paying any attention at all, you will have noticed what I myself did notice at the time: There doesn’t seem to be any ground black pepper on the top of the fish (there was also no salt, but that’s less apparent in a photo). It seems that I was so absorbed in deciding on what I would include on top of the fillet this time that I forgot the two most essential elements.

The fact that there were so many other flavors and seasonings was almost enough to make us overlook the absence of pepper and salt, but not quite. We added both to the top of the fish after it had been served, but I think the flavor had not been compromised by the delay; in fact, I think I may have enjoyed the cleaner, milder taste, at least this one time.

The vegetables could hardly have been more simple (and I remembered to season them before they reached the table).

  • one pollock fillet (13.25 oz) from American Seafood Company in the Union Square Greenmarket, rinsed, dried, cut into 2 sections, seasoned with salt and pepper [if cook is paying attention (see my introductory paragraph)] and placed in a buttered baking dish, spread with a mixture of some soft butter, zest from a local lemon from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island, slices of a spring onion from Norwich Meadows Farm, and a large pinch of crushed golden home-dried Habanada pepper from Norwich Meadows Farm (acquired fresh last season), baked for about 15 minutes at 350º, removed to two plates, spread with the cooking juices, if any, and sprinkled with a small number of salted capers along with the oil in which they had earlier been heated briefly after being rinsed, drained, and dried, the pollock finished with a garnish of snow pea sprouts from Windfall Farms
  • two Dark Red Norland potatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, scrubbed, boiled, unpeeled, in heavily-salted water until barely cooked through, drained, halved, dried in the still-warm vintage Corning Pyrex Flameware blue-glass pot in which they had cooked, sprinkled with freshly-ground black pepper, and a little salt, if needed, stirred with a couple tablespoons of rich Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter, arranged on the plates with the fish and sprinkled with scissored chives from Two Guys from Woodbridge
  • a decent amount of sweet young  spinach rosettes from Phillips Farms, their bases trimmed, washed in several changes of water, drained, gently wilted (that is, not reduced too far) inside a large enameled cast iron pot in a little olive oil in which one large clove of garlic from Healthway Farms & CSA had first been allowed to sweat, seasoned with salt, freshly-ground black pepper, a little crushed dried Itria-Sirissi chili (peperoncino di Sardegna intero) from Buon Italia, drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice
  • the wine was a French (Bordeaux) white, Château Grand Renard Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux Blanc 2015
  • the music was Pietro Antonio Cesti’s 1656 opera, ‘Orontea’, René Jacobs conducting the Concerto Vocale [more on the work here]