‘gilded hake’, sage, lemon, parsley, lovage; choy sum, garlic

I’ve prepared essentially this same meal a number of times before. Although there are always small variations among the secondary ingredients, if not in both the fish and the greens, I have no idea how one of those meals can end up as exceptionally delicious as the one I put together tonight.

If I had to make a guess, I’d say it was because this time I had incorporated a fairly generous amount of fresh habanada pepper in the coating for the fish, and that these particular Chinese greens, which I had never used before, were pretty extraordinary.

In a related note to file, this cook asks, ‘whatever did cooks do before lemon?’

  • * two 8-ounce hake fillets from P.E & D.D. Seafood, dredged in local North Country Farms Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour which had been seasoned with plenty of sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, then dipped into a shallow bowl in which one egg from Millport Dairy Farm, about a tablespoon of Trickling Springs Creamery milk, and one chopped fresh habanada pepper from Norwich Meadows Farm had been beaten together with a fork, the filets sautéed in 2 tablespoons of Organic Valley ‘Cultured Pasture Butter’ along with 5 or 6 large sage leaves from Phillips Farm inside a heavy rectangular enameled cast iron pan for about 7 minutes, turning the hake half of the way through, sprinkled with organic lemon juice from Whole Foods Market and the small amount of pan juices that remained, arranged on 2 plates, garnished with chopped parsley parsley from Norwich Meadows Farm and chopped lovage from Two Guys from Woodbridge, served with lemon wedges on the side
  • * purple yu choy sum from Lan’s Farm, washed several times and drained, roughly chopped, wilted inside a large enameled cast iron pot in a tablespoon or so of olive oil in which 2 bruised and halved cloves of Rocambole garlic from Keith’s Farm had first been allowed to sweat and begin to color, the greens seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, arranged on the plates and finished with a squeeze of lemon juice and more olive oil drizzled on top
  • * slices from an organic multigrain baguette from Bread Alone
  • the wine was a California (Lodi) white, Jacqueline Bahue Albarino California 2015, from Naked Wines
  • * the music was a tour de farce, exciting virtuoso performances of an exciting series of baroque arias written by 1733 for Johann Adolf Hasse’s, ‘Siroe, Re di Persia, George Petrou conducting Armonia Atenea, with  Julia Lezhneva, Franco Fagioli, Mary-Ellen Nesi, Max Emanuel Cencic, and others