It was late January, but last night’s dinner looked more like summer, thanks to the creativity of our local producers (everything, except for the tomatoes, came from area fields and waters). The delicious large cherry tomatoes came from Maine, which, as an adopted New Englander, I think of as almost local (at least it’s not as far away as the tomato factories in Mexico, California, Florida, or Israel).
- twelve large sea scallops from American Seafood Company, washed, drained, and very thoroughly dried on paper towels (twice), generously seasoned with sea salt and fresh;y-ground black pepper, pan grilled for about 90 seconds on each side, arranged on warm plates, finished with a squeeze of a local lemon, a very sweet small fruit from one of the greenhouses of Fantastic Gardens of Long Island in the Union Square Greenmarket, a scattering of chopped fresh local Goodness Gardens thyme from Orange County, NY, via Chelsea Whole Foods Market, and a drizzle of olive oil
- ten Maine cherry ‘cocktail’ tomatoes from Whole Foods, slow-roasted inside a small seasoned Pampered Chef oven pan after they had been rolled in olive oil, with a generous amount of dried oregano from Norwich Meadows Farm, and 8 tiny, slightly-smashed rocambole garlic cloves from Keith’s Farm
- almost 2 handfuls of a great arugula from Philipps Farms, washed thoroughly, drained and dried, dressed with a small drizzle of a house Portuguese olive oil from Whole Foods Market, a bit of Maldon salt, black pepper [and, had I remembered to add it, a few drops of a Napa Valley red wine (‘Chianti’) vinegar]
- there were some delicious juices on the plates, so I jumped at the opportunity to include slices of a really delicious bread from a Philadelphia bakery new to the Union Square market, ‘Seedy Grain’ from Lost Bread Company (wheat, spelt, rye, and barley organic bread flours; buckwheat; oats; flax sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds; water, and salt)
Note the pretzel sticks on the upper right in the picture below: they’re a reminder of the persistence of Philadelphia’s – and Pennsylvania’s – German heritage, which began more than 300years ago.
- the wine was a really good French (Loire/Sancerre) white, Sancerre, Sommet Doré 2017, from Astor Wines
- the music was Rossini’s 1819 early romantic opera, based on a Sir Walter Scott’s 1810 narrative poem, which premiered when the composer was only 26, ‘La Donna del Lago’, Maurizio Pollini conducting the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the Prague Chamber Chorus, with Dano Raffanti, Lucia Valentini-Terrani, Dalmacio Gonzalez, Katia Ricciarelli, and Samuel Ramey