breaded marinated swordfish; potatoes; mustard spinach


This was one of the best swordfish entrées I’ve ever had. I can’t account for the reason, taste, texture, and a good appearance came together to present us with a certain kind of perfection. It must have started with the fish’s extraordinary freshness, since I’m aware of the large variable in the number of days between a swordfish catch in deep waters and its arrival in a market stall, even when the fishmonger can be depended on for freshness and the stall is close to the fisherman’s port.

The other obvious variable is the competence – or, often as not, the luck – of the cook. I cook swordfish regularly, and know what I’m doing, but I was really lucky this time.

I had on hand a few tiny potatoes, and I thought this was as good an opportunity as any to make good use of them before they would, so to speak, return to the earth. Even more of a recommendation for adding them to the dinner was the delicate garnish (actually, more than a garnish) of young garlic mustard [alliaria petiolata] which I had picked up the same day as the swordfish.

The green vegetable was something I had never come across before Saturday, but I’ll now be keeping my eye out for it. In addition to its general rareness, Japanese mustard spinach (or Komatsuna)  is apparently unable to withstand summer heat, so it’s available only in the spring and the fall, but it’s well worth the hunt. My Greenmarket purveyor was Gorzynski Ornery Farm, owned, together with his wife and family, by John Gorzynski, a local farmer whose integrity is famous, second to none, for decades a powerful advocate for organic agriculture and small-scale growers.

Mustard spinach is neither mustard, nor spinach, but a member of the enormous Brassica rapa family.