fennel-grilled tuna; sautéed cucumber, dill; cherry tomatoes

It was very much a summer dinner, and the weather cooperated.

Those aren’t zucchini, but ordinary cucumbers. I love cucumbers, in almost every form, including sautéed.

This time I restrained myself when it came to deciding on garnishes (in the picture above there’s not a single micro green in sight), but I got a bit confused in my rush at the very end, when I had to direct to the right target the single finishing herb I decided to use: I had intended to sprinkle the tomatoes with dill, one of my favorites, but instead tossed the seed onto the cucumbers; that of course is a more familiar, and probably more successful pairing, so maybe my unconscious knew what it was doing, even if I was trying to be perverse.

Everything on the plate was fresh from the Union Square Greenmarket that same day or the day before, the only exception being the purple romaine lettuce that I had bought exactly 4 weeks earlier [yeah], and which, amazingly, tasted as good and as crunchy last night as it did when I brought it home; I’ve become a good indoor husbandman.

Even the wine was fresh, and from a fresh new local winery we had visited the week before, Todd Cavallo and Crystal Cornish’s beautiful small, biodynamic, permaculture-focused Wild Arc Farm, in Pine Bush, New York, below the  Shawangunk Mountains.

  • two 7-ounce tuna steaks from American Seafood Company, rinsed, dried, rubbed tops and bottoms with a mixture of a tablespoon of a wonderful dry Sicilian fennel seed from Buon Italia and a little dried peperoncino Calabresi secchi from Buon Italia, that had first been crushed together in a porcelain mortar and pestle, the tuna pan-grilled above a medium-high flame (for only a little more than a minute or so on each side) and finished on the plates with a good squeeze of the juice of an organic lemon from Whole Foods Market and a drizzle of olive oil
  • three medium cucumbers from Tamarack Hollow Ranch, sliced about 2 centimeters thick, dried, sautéed inside a large seasoned cast iron pan in a little olive oil over a fairly high flame until they began to color, and then joined by several chopped spring red onions from Berried Treasures Farm, seasoned with sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and a pinch or so of dried fenugreek from Bombay Emerald Chutney Company, sprinkled with fresh dill flowers from Alewife Farm
  • more than one handful of a mix of ‘wild Mex tomatoes‘ and heirloom Coyote tomatoes from Eckerton Hill Farm heated in a little olive oil inside a small tin-lined copper pan, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, arranged in the plates on top of some washed leaves of a small head of lightly-dressed spring purple romaine lettuce from from Echo Creek Farm’s stand in the Saturday Chelsea Farmers Market

There was a sweet, mostly because earlier in the day I had decided we were taking too long to finish the cherries I had bought 3 weeks earlier. That afternoon I cut up those that were left to use as a topping for a pound cake or a soft frozen dessert. Later I couldn’t couldn’t find the cake, so frozen dessert it was.