tomato/chili-roasted skate, mustard/caper sauce; turnips

Of course they were beautiful; it’s one of the reasons I love this fish.

They were also delicious, but to get there I had to cook them.

  • six Backyard Farms Maine ‘cocktail tomatoes’ from Whole Foods Market, halved, tossed gently inside a shallow bowl with less than a tablespoon of olive oil and less than one crushed peperoncino Calabresi secchia from Buon Italia, arranged, their cut sides down, inside a medium glazed ceramic oven pan and roasted for about 10 minutes, after which two 10-ounce unfilleted skate wings from American Seafood Company with cartilage where they were attached to the main body wholly intact, seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, transferred to the pan, after moving the tomatoes to the edges, then roasted for another 15 minutes or so, when a mixture of a tablespoon of olive oil, half a tablespoon of lemon juice, half a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, and more than a half tablespoon of rinsed salted Sicilian capers that had just been whisked together was poured over the fish and tomatoes, the pan returned to the oven for 2 or 3 minutes, removed, its contents arranged on 2 plates, the tomatoes next to or on the skate, both garnished with micro nasturtium leaves from Two Guys from Woodbridge, lemon quarters placed to the side of the plates

  • one bunch of Hakurei turnips (or ‘Japanese turnips’) from Willow Wisp Farm, their quite tiny roots separated from the beautiful greens, leaving a bit of stem on each, scrubbed, sautéed inside a heavy antique medium-size tin-lined high-sided copper pot in a little olive oil, in which 2 bruised rocambole garlic cloves from Keith’s Farm had been softened, until the vegetables had begun to color, the roots removed and set aside while the washed and very roughly cut greens were introduced to the pan and heated until barely wilted, the turnips then returned to the pan and everything seasoned with sea salt,  freshly-ground black pepper, and a dusting of dried Sicilian peperoncino from Buon Italia
  • the wine was an Oregon (Willamette Valley) white, Scott Kelley Pinot Gris Willamette 2017, from Naked Wines
  •  the music was Stefano Landi’s 1631 opera, ‘Il Sant’Alessio’, performed by William Christie directing the Choir and Orchestra of Les Arts Florissants