bluefish baked ‘Greek style’; okra sautéed with habanada

I’ve now prepared this dish twice, and last night it was at least as delicious as the first time. There is a lot going on in it, but I’ve become convinced that bluefish was made to be richly accompanied: It’s not like this strong fish is likely to be easily overwhelmed by anything, even this combination of tomato, onion, wine vinegar, dark olives, lemon, a spicy pepper, and a couple of herbs.

The okra looked very good inside the farmers’ tent in Union Square, and I picked it to accompany the fish, because, as something of a Hellenic staple, it would pair well with a fish preparation described as Greek.

I would usually add a bit of pepperoncino to the okra, but since I was using some with the fish, I decided to substitute a bit of dark dried habanada; the results were subtle, adding a complexity to what is normally a pretty straight-forward green vegetable.

  • two two bluefish fillets (a total of 14.5 ounces) from P.E. & D.D. Seafood, rubbed I with olive oil a little Columela Rioja 30 Year Reserva sherry vinegar, placed inside an oval tin-lined copper au gratin pan, sprinkled liberally with a very pungent dried Sicilian oregano from Buon Italia, a bit of dried peperoncino Calabresi secchi, also from Buon Italia, covered with some thinly-sliced red onion from Norwich Meadows Farm, one very ripe thinly-sliced red heirloom tomato, also from Norwich Meadows Farm, some chopped fresh oregano from, again, Norwich Meadows Farm, 8 pitted and halved Kalamata olives from Whole Foods Market, and more than half of an organic lemon from Whole Foods, again, sliced thinly, the fish baked at 425º for 15 minutes, served sprinkled with buds of fresh oregano from Norwich Meadows Farm, and fresh dill flowers from Eckerton Hill Farm
  • a couple handfuls of okra from Norwich Meadows Farm, sautéed over a high flame in a very large cast iron pan with a little olive oil and a good part of one dark dried habanada pepper, seasoned with sea salt
  • the wine was a California (Lodi) rosé, Karen Birmingham Rosé Lodi 2016, from Naked Wines
  • the music was the album, ‘Alexander Goehr: Marching to Carcassonne / When Adam Fell / Pastorals’, with Peter Serkin, the BBC Symphony, the London Sinfonietta, and the conductor Oliver Knussen