crawfish remoulade; sweet beet; tomato, spring red onion

salad days

I went to our neighborhood Lobster Place on Monday because I had learned, from the Union Square Greenmarket app, that our neighborhood fish monger usual to that day would not be there this week. Their booking out gave me an excuse, if one were needed, to pick up a few baby octopuses that had flown into New York all the way from Spain (or, more likely, from the waters of the Spanish Protectorate in Morocco, if not those of Morocco itself). Our huge distance from their place of origin should be a caution, if not actually a prohibition of their purchase, but I will occasionally overcome my scruples and briefly broaden my carbon footprint in order to enjoy the delicacy: we really, really love octopoda, and it’s not like there are any swimming within thousands of miles of New York.

The meal was delicious.

All of this brings me to the subject, or rather one of the subjects, of this delicious dinner, which we enjoyed the following day.

While I was at the Lobster Place on Monday I thought also of picking up a container of some kind of seafood I might use as a part of a special salad supper the next day (bonus: no hot stove). Crab meat had first come to mind, but once I was at the shop I saw that my choices were broader than I’d imagined.

Crawfish! I decided it would be Louisiana crawfish, and I’d probably prepare it in some kind of simple remoulade.

Eventually I assembled 2 other salads as well.

Everything was a little red.

  • seven ounces of cooked and cleaned Louisiana crawfish from The Lobster Place, in the Chelsea Market, served as a remoulade, using this very easy and delicious recipe that I found on line when I was rushed that evening, and fortunately I already had everything I needed, except for the scallions, for which I just substituted chopped small spring leeks from Neversink Organic Farm, arranged on a bed of some well-washed leaves of a small head of spring purple romaine lettuce from from Echo Creek Farm of Salem, NY, in the Saturday Chelsea Farmers Market (on the north sidewalk of 23rd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues), lettuce dressed with a little olive oil, Maldon salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and a squeeze of lemon, the salad garnished with micro sorrel from Two Guys from Woodbridge [Note: there was no capsicum to be found anywhere in the meal: the remoulade was delicious, but it could have used at least a little hotness, if only to salute the crawdaddies’ origins; a little chili pepper would not have been out of place in any of the other parts of the meal, particularly since it was a hot summer day, and evening]
  • one awesome sweet ‘Badger Flame’, beet from Norwich Meadows Farm, washed, scrubbed, dried, and sliced as thinly as I could, layered inside a low bowl with a little Whole Foods Market house Portuguese olive oil, Maldon salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and chopped summer savory from Alewife Farm, stirred gently and arranged on the plates where they were garnished with spring shallot blossoms from Keith’s Farm
  • two dozen very ripe, very sweet grape tomatoes from Alex’s Tomato Farm, halved, mixed inside a small bowl along with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, 3 chopped spring red onions, a few drops of white balsamic vinegar, garnished with chopped fennel fronds from Alewife Farm
  • slices of a wonderful Balthazar sourdough rye, purchased that afternoon from Schaller & Weber
  • the wine was a California (Santa Lucia Highlands/Monterey County) rosé, 99 Barrels Derek Rohlffs Santa Lucia Highlands Rosé, from Naked Wines
  • the music was Michael Haydn’s only opera, ‘Andromeda e Perseo’ (1787), Reinhard Goebel conducting the Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Cologne Vocal Ensemble