garlic-oregano-citrus zest-marinated John Dory; broccolini

We’ve enjoyed some sea creatures lately that I hadn’t seen in the market for a while (fish have seasons too). On Saturday we will be having dolphinfish, but Friday night’s entrée was pretty special too: John Dory (aka  Peter’s Fish, Saint-Pierre, San-Pierre, Petersfisch, Pez de san Pedro, and Pesce san Pietro, just for starters)

The fish was gleaming, but the vegetables were absolutely vivid.

  • two seven-and-a-half-ounce John Dory Fillets from American Seafood Company in the Union Square Greenmarket, marinated inside the refrigerator for about 30 minutes in a mix of an inch of a spring garlic stem, sliced, from Berried Treasures, a teaspoon of chopped fresh oregano from Neversink Farm, the zest from much of one mandarin from Whole Foods Market (the original recipe specifies orange zest, but I had always used lemon until now), more than half of a teaspoon of La Tourangelle walnut oil, sea salt, and freshly-ground black pepper, removed from the refrigerator and allowed to come to room temperature for about 15 minutes or more, placed skin-side down inside a large (17″) seasoned vintage oval steel pan (scroll down for the image) that had been heated over medium-high heat with enough olive oil to coat the surface, the heat immediately reduced slightly, flipped after 3 minutes and cooked for just about 2 minutes more, removed and arranged on warm plates, whatever juices remained in the pan poured over the fillets, garnished with some chervil from Campo Rosso Farm
  • slices of an organic multigrain baguette from Bread Alone
  • 20 small ripe, very sweet grape tomatoes from Kernan Farms, each punctured once with a small metal trussing pin to prevent it from exploding when using a fork to pick them up on the plate, rolled in a small bit of olive oil inside a small vintage Corning Pyrex Flameware blue-glass pan until they had begun to soften, sprinkled with sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and chopped flowering sage, arranged on the plates, a few blossoms sprinkled on top
  • a stash of Campo Rosso Farm’s broccolini (a hybrid cross between broccoli and Gai Lan, aka Chinese broccoli), washed and drained a couple times in fresh cold water, chopped roughly, sautéed/wilted over a low flame by gradually adding them to a heavy large antique copper pot in which a good size section of the same spring garlic stem used in the fish mariande, sliced, had first been heated until it had begun to soften, seasoned with sea slat and freshly-ground black pepper
  • the wine was a California (Sonoma) white, Scott Peterson Rumpus California Chardonnay 2016, from Naked Wines
  • the music, bearing in mind that it was the Friday before Memorial Day, which is virtually the opening ceremony for the summer insect free-for-all, was David Rothenberg’s ‘Bug Music’