grilled fennel-chili-coated tuna, micro kohlabi; kale, garlic

I’m nursing myself back to health by continuing to cook every day, and last night I started to get back to serious start-from-scratch cooking with a really simple meal. Actually, the desire for simplicity was driven at least as much by a consideration of the short time I had for preparation, since we wouldn’t return from the theater (the Civilians’ ‘The Undertaking’) until after 9:30.

We were sitting down to this meal less than an hour later, even though I had taken my time putting it together, and we enjoyed a drink first, while talking about Steve Cossen‘s terrific play.

  • one 11-ounce yellowfin tuna steak off of Scott Rucky’s fishing vessel, ‘Dakota’, from American Seafood Company, cut into 2 pieces, rubbed, tops and bottoms, with a mixture of a dry Sicilian fennel seed from Buon Italia that had been crushed in a mortar and pestle along with a little dried peperoncino Calabresi secchi from Buon Italia, then sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, pan-grilled above a brisk flame (for barely a minute on each side), finished on the plates with a good squeeze of the juice of an organic lemon from Whole Foods Market and some olive oil, served with micro kohlrabi from Two Guys from Woodbridge

There were green vegetables at the Union Square Greenmarket on Saturday – and this was near the end of January! I had already picked up both Savoy and red cabbage earlier in the week, but now I took home some Brussels sprouts, on the stalk, and a large bunch of kale.  I could probably make it through an entire week with these stocks, and then I could start dreaming of the earliest wild spring green stuff.

Because it would be slightly less time-consuming than roasting the sprouts, and probably a better match with the tuna, I decided it was to be the kale that would go into this meal.

  • winter kale from Hoeffner Farms, washed, drained, 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, freshly-ground black pepper, and arranged on the plates and a little more olive oil drizzled on top
  • pieces of a whole wheat baguette from Runner & Stone Bakery
  • the wine was a California (North Coast, Lodi and Clarksburg) rosé, Evangelos Bagias California Rose 2016, from Naked Wines
  • the music was Handel’s gorgeous 1709 (Venice) opera, ‘Agrippina’, John Eliot Gardiner conducting the English Baroque Soloists, with Donna Brown, Anne Sofie von Otter, Julian Clarkson, Michael Chance, Derek Lee Ragin, Della Jones, Alastair Miles, George Mosley, and Jonathan Peter Kenny