spice-rubbed wild salmon on uchiki-kuri; chervil; spinach

A salmon in the pumpkin patch.

While thinking about dinner on Wednesday, I turned up 2 ideas at roughly the same moment: It seemed like it was time to serve Salmon again, and I was anxious to taste a new variety of winter squash I had recently picked up at the Union Square Greenmarket.


I decided to serve them at the same time; I didn’t realize then I would also be serving them in the same space. The combination had seemed totally natural the moment I thought of it, and that had nothing to do with the color they shared. then, once I had begun cooking I thought of really putting them together.

I couldn’t have anticipated just how well the pairing was going to work. The salmon was really fully flavored and dryly piquant, but not spicy as in spicy hot; the amazing chestnut-flavored Japanese squash was equally rich, in a very different way, and very juicy, but surprisingly sweet even for a winter squash (naturally so, since there was nothing but butter, salt, pepper, and heat involved in its preparation).

  • one fifteen-ounce fillet of wild Pacific coho salmon (previously frozen in this case) from Chelsea Whole Foods Market, its skin having already been peeled off on top of the kitchen counter, halved, seasoned on both sides with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, the former skin side pressed with a mixture of roughly ground coriander seeds, cloves, and cumin seed, and grated nutmeg, placed coated side down inside an enameled, oval cast iron pan in a mix of a little olive oil and butter that had been heated over medium-high heat until the fat had shimmered, sautéed for only 2 or 3 minutes or so, then turned over and cooked for another 2 or 3 minutes, placed on the top of an arrangement of roasted squash (see below), both garnished with a little micro chervil from Two Guys from Woodbridge

  • one 5 or 6-inch Uchiki-Kuri Kabocha squash from Norwich Meadows Farm its outside crevices scrubbed with a brush, cut into 1/4″ wedge segments, arranged one side down inside a large seasoned Pampered Chef ceramic oven pan previously coated with a couple tablespoons of melted butter, with almost as much butter brushed over the top, baked at 400º without turning for about 30 minutes, or until tender and beginning to caramelize,  removed from the oven and placed on 2 plates already being kept warm on the top of the old oven, waiting to serve as a base for the sautéed salmon fillet sections (see above)

  • roughly 6 ounces of [mostly] Emperor spinach from Campo Rosso Farm, washed in several changes of water, drained, very gently wilted (that is, not reduced too far, if it can be helped) inside a large, heavy, antique high-sided tin-lined copper pot in a little olive oil in which 3 quartered cloves of Krasnodar red garlic from Kellie Quarton’s Quarton Farm had first been allowed to sweat, the spinach seasoned with sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and a little dried peperoncino Calabresi secchi from Buon Italia, finished on the plates with a little more olive oil
  • the wine was a Spanish (Galicia) red, Guimaro, Ribeira Sacra Mencia 2017, from Landmark Wines
  • the music was live streaming of the awesome octonary WKCR Bachfest 2018