scallops, arugula; fennel/chili-rubbed grilled tuna; greens

(one scallop looks as large as the tuna, but the plates are of different sizes)


The meal was a great success, especially since it had to be cobbled from two different kinds of seafood: When I learned that the fish monger had only one piece of tuna left, one that was a bit small for 2 people, I bought 4 scallops as well.

I decided the scallops and the tuna would work best as separate courses, but because my treatment for each was very simple, it didn’t mean there would be much more work involved.

The tuna was delicious, but for some reason these scallops were beyond my expectations, and I always expect a lot of scallops.

I was able to do most of the modest prep necessary for the second course before I began the first.

  • six one-ounce scallops from American Seafood Company in the Union Square Greenmarket, washed, drained and very thoroughly dried on paper towels (at least twice!), generously seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, pan grilled for about 90 seconds on each side, arranged on the plates, finished with a squeeze of organic lemon from Whole Foods Market and a good Campania olive oil (Lamparelli O.R.O.), then sprinkled with fresh thyme leaves from Keith’s Farm
  • Betsey Ryder’s terrific Ryder Farm arugula, dressed with more of the Campania oil a bit of lemon juice, Maldon salt, and black pepper
  • slices of a Balthazar sourdough rye (quarter) purchased from Schaller & Weber

The greens had already been braised when I began to grill the tuna, which would take less than 3 minutes altogether.

  • one thick small (a little over 10 ounces)dark tuna steak from American Seafood Company, rinsed, dried, halved, tops and bottoms seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper and rubbed with a mixture of a little more than a tablespoon of a combination of 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 steaks pan-grilled above a medium-high flame on a new purchase, a very small (6″ square) Lava ECO enameled cast Iron square grill pan (for little more than a minute or so on each side), finished on the plates with a good squeeze of the juice of an organic lemon from Whole Foods Market and a drizzle of Calabrian olive oil, garnished with micro chervil from Two Guys from Woodbridge

  • a truly beautiful, fresh, and superb tasting ‘braising mix’ (in mid-November!) of many kinds of greens, of the family Brassicaceae, from Keith’s Farm, barely wilted in a little olive oil in which several small rocambole garlic cloves, also from his Farm, had been heated until fragrant and beginning to soften, seasoned with sea salt, and freshly-ground black pepper