porgy, tomato/olive/herb/lemon salsa; asparagus, thyme

I feel that I’ve already said almost all I can on these pages about Porgy, so I’ll only mention that last night I tried a new approach to cooking it, one which mostly followed a simple Gordon Ramsay recipe. It was very easy, pretty stress-free, really delicious, and the results were more photogenic than they had sometimes been in the past.

Green asparagus spears were even a more familiar sight on this blog, and in their case, so was the recipe I used.

  • a salsa for the fish prepared by heating, inside a small lined copper pan over a gentle flame in 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 5 ounces of halved red cherry tomatoes from Stokes Farm and 2 ounces or so of pitted whole Kalamata olives from Whole Foods Market, seasoning the mix with sea salt and freshly-ground Tellicherry pepper, stirring for 1 or 2 minutes, then setting the pan aside while chopping a certain amount of lovage from Keith’s Farm and an equal volume of leaves off of a basil plant from Stokes Farm, torn (together ending up as several tablespoons), adding the herbs to the salsa, but reserving some for garnish, stirring to combine, then introducing the juice of half of an organic lemon from Whole Foods Market (Ramsey suggests rolling a whole lemon on  board “to soften and release the juices”, but individual circumstances may not always permit that step), once again stirring, the salsa once again set aside to allow the flavors to infuse while preparing the fish
  • four 4-ounce porgy fillets from P.E & D.D. Seafood, their skin slashed with a very sharp knife in 2 or 3 places each, then a bit of olive oil added to a large enameled rectangular cast iron pan over high heat, the porgy added, skin side down, as soon as the oil had become very hot, the fish seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground Tellicherry pepper, cooked for 2 or 3 minutes “until the fish is dark golden and the skin is crisp” (mine did not get crisp, which may mean I was too timid about the intensity of the heat), the fillets turned over (always the risky part), cooked on the other side for 1 minute, basting with the oil in the pan, if any, until just cooked through, finally arranged on the plates in what seems at that moment to be the most natural and aesthetic manner [Ramsey suggests arranging the porgy on the plates on top of the salsa, but, this time at least, I didn’t want to hide its beauties]
  • fourteen thick spears of asparagus from John D. Madura Farm, trimmed, the stems peeled, tossed in a couple of tablespoons of butter and about a tablespoon of olive oil, plus a few branches of thyme from Lani’s Farm, inside a second large enameled rectangular cast iron pan (I’m definitely ‘kitchen pan-rich’), then sautéed over medium high heat while frequently rolling or turning them until they were beginning to brown (about 15 minutes), finished with a sprinkling of Maldon salt and freshly-ground Tellicherry peppercorns
  • the wine was a French (Chinon) rosé, Domaine Jean-Maurice Raffault Chinon Rosé 2016, from Chelsea Wine Vault
  • the music was the album, ‘Bernhard Henrik Crusell: Concertante Wind Works’, with Osmo Vänskä conducting the Tapiola Sinfonietta