herb-marinated, breaded swordfish, sugar snap peas, mint

This rather simple meal was one of the best I’ve ever put onto a table.

Both the fish and the vegetable were extraordinarily fresh, which is a great start, and I’d already worked with both of the recipes fairly often.

Swordfish had been a favorite of mine since I was quite young (I can hardly believe we enjoyed it as often as we did, in 1940’s and 1950’s Detroit), and I’ve always been fond of peas, except when they arrive in metal.

When I was growing up there was only one kind of pea, pisum sativum, and it usually arrived in the kitchen as a frozen box, an innovation of Clarence Birdseye had introduced almost a hundred years ago. Years later, along with other Americans, I discovered snow peas [pisum sativum var. saccharatum], which I still associate with wok cookery, although they had been cultivated in Europe since the nineteenth century, and it seems like only yesterday that the sugar snap pea [pisum sativum var. macrocarpon] arrived on the scene, although apparently it was actually the late 70’s.

  • one thick 13-ounce swordfish steak from Pura Vida Seafood Company in the Union Square Greenmarket, halved marinated for more than half an hour in a mixture of olive oil, a tablespoon of a mix of fresh spicy oregano from Windfall Farms, a small amount of crushed dried pepperoncino Calabresi secchi from Buon Italia, about the same amount of crushed dried golden/orange habanada pepper, and a thinly-sliced section of a spring red onion from Norwich Meadows Farm, after which it was drained, covered on both sides with a coating of homemade dried breadcrumbs, pan-grilled over medium-high heat for 4 minutes on each side, or until barely cooked all of the way through, removed, seasoned with a little Maldon salt, a bit of juice from a Whole Foods Market organic lemon squeezed on top, a bit more sliced spring red onion, drizzled with a little olive oil, garnished with micro bronze fennel from Two Guys from Woodbridge, lemon wedges on the side

  • small sugar snap peas from Sycamore Farms in the Union Square Greenmarket, washed, their stems and strings trimmed, parboiled for just over a minute inside a large vintage Corning Pyrex Flameware blue-glass pot, drained, dried in the same pot, shaking it over a low flame, then set aside, and just before serving, warmed inside a heavy, broad, tin-lined copper pot in which a small sliced stalk of spring garlic from Berried Treasures Farm had first been softened with a little olive oil over a moderate flame, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, tossed with chopped spearmint from Keith’s Farm
  •  the wine was a Portuguese (Douro) white, Crasto White 2016, from Garnet Wines
  • the music was the album, ‘Antonio Rosetti: Piano Concerto; 2 Symphonies