roasted squid, oregano, chilis; tomatoes, thyme; collards

Roasted whole squid: It’s pretty awesome, every time, and the recipe asks for very little oil. It comes from ‘Italian Easy: Recipes from the London River Cafe‘, the most dog-eared of the 3 great cookbooks written by the owners of London’s River Cafe that I own. For convenience, I call it ‘the silver book’; the others are ‘the blue book’ and ‘the white book’, the appellations corresponding to the colors of their dust jackets. They’re all terrific.

  • one large rectangular enameled cast iron pan heated on top of the stove until quite hot, its cooking surface then brushed with a thin coating of olive oil, and once the oil had also become quite hot, one pound of rinsed and carefully dried squid from P.E. & D.D. Seafood in the Union Square Greenmarket, both bodies and tentacles, arranged inside the pans without touching, if possible, and immediately sprinkled with some super-pungent dried Sicilian oregano from Buon Italia, one small crushed dried pepperoncino Calabresi secchi from Buon Italia, and a section of a home-dried heatless, darker-orange/gold Habanada pepper (from my purchase of a number of the peppers from Norwich Meadows Farm last fall), some sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, followed by a drizzle of a few tablespoons of Whole Foods Market organic lemon and some olive oil, the pan placed inside a pre-heated 400º oven, roasted for 5 minutes, removed, the squid distributed onto 2 plates and ladled with a bit of their cooking juices that had been transferred into a class sauce boat, garnished with micro chervil from Two Guys from Woodbridge
  • slices of a French-style sourdough Levain from Bread Alone Bakery in the Union Square Greenmarket
  • eight Backyard Farms Maine ‘cocktail tomatoes’ from Whole Foods, halved, combined inside a small black La Chamba Colombian baking dish with a a bit of some very-thinly-sliced green leek ends from Phillips Farm, a little olive oil, half of a teaspoon of chopped thyme from Citarella, sea salt, and freshly-ground black pepper, placed almost half an hour ahead of the squid in the same 400º oven for about 20 minutes, removed and arranged on the plates, their own juices drizzled on top
  • a small bunch of collard greens from Norwich Meadows Farm, washed 3 times, drained, some of the water retained and held aside, to be added as the greens cooked, if necessary, the stems removed and the leaves cut roughly, then braised until gently wilted inside a heavy medium-size vintage, high-sided, tin-lined copper pot in which 2 halved Rocambole garlic cloves from Keith’s Farm had been allowed to sweat over a low flame with some olive oil, finished with sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and a small drizzle of olive oil
  • the wine was a Spanish (Bierzo) white, Cobertizo ‘El Blanco’ Bierzo 2014, from Astor Wines
  • the music was Bruckner’s Symphony No. 1, in C Minor, (1891 Vienna Version), Yannick Nezet-Seguin conducting the Orchestre Metropolitain de Montreal