white wine-vinegared fluke, lemon/chervil sauce; rabe, chili

It was a gorgeous fluke.

And it was a very good thing. I think fluke is the tastiest flatfish, and my favorite flatfish, and this was a very special one.

It was a single large fillet, and knowing that it was from a fish caught in local waters only the day before,  I decided to prepare it almost as simply as possible, enabling it to show off its own goodness; I even skipped a flour coating.

Weighing a little over a pound, it was easily divided into 2 pieces lengthwise, making it both pretty easy to handle in the pan, and pretty pretty to look at on an oval platter before it was cooked.

  • one thick 18-ounce fillet from a fluke caught the day before, purchased at the Union Square Greenmarket from the fisherman’s American Seafood Company, rinsed, divided into 2 pieces, dried thoroughly, salted and brushed with a good Italian (Piedmont) white wine vinegar (Aceto Cesare Bianco, from Buon Italia), sautéed, skin side down first, making that side the one seen in the picture showing the finished meal, inside a large rectangular enameled cast iron pan in a mix of some olive oil and a little bit of butter (I managed to get it done absolutely right; I hadn’t timed it, but it might have been 5 or 6 minutes, total) turning once a little more than halfway through, removed to 2 warm plates (they had been inside the oven, turned to the lowest, warming temperature setting), the burner flame turned off, or almost off, the pan wiped with a paper towel and 3 or 4 tablespoons of butter, 3 tablespoons of juice from an organic Whole Foods Market lemon, and a handful of micro chervil from Two Guys from Woodbridge introduced and stirred with a wooden spatula for less than a minute or so while scraping the bottom of the pan, the sauce carefully poured onto the plated fish

  • a few ounces of young, tender flowering broccoli rabe from from Windfall Farms, barely wilted in olive oil flavored with bruised rocambole garlic from Keith’s Farm and some a bit of crushed peperoncino Calabresi secchia from Buon Italia, seasoned with sea salt and pepper, arranged on the two plates and drizzled with more olive oil
  • sections torn from a rich, chewy organic Bread Alone multigrain baguette
  • the wine was a Portuguese (Douro) white, Crasto White 2016, from Garnet Wines
  • the music was an album of Vivaldi’s Concerti Per Viola D’amore, Fabio Biondi conducting Europa Galante