swordfish belly, garlic, tomato; potato, garlic mustard; kale

It’s not tofu.

It’s swordfish belly, and, inexplicably it’s still almost invisible on the internet. This is the second time I’ve prepared it at home, improvising a separate recipe each time. This one seemed even better than the first one.

What it’s also not, is swordfish ‘bacon’, so just ignore the people describing it that way:  It won’t help in its cooking or its enjoyment.

Another factoid: The word “garlic” appears in the description of each of the 3 segments of this meal, although in one case there is no actual garlic and none of them resembles any of the others.

More interesting is the meal’s locavore slant: Although there had once been an even more local sea salt available here, the enterprise called Urban Sproule (it seems to have now disappeared), with its remarkable product drawn from neighbor Brooklyn, last night was the first time I ever blesssed a meal with a local salt; it was also one of a relatively few number of meals posted here that have featured a local citrus fruit. I’m now looking forward to the next breakthrough: local black pepper and local olive oil (just kidding).

Finally, this meal was more of a collaborative than most, as it was assembled largely through exchanges between Barry and myself (I must have felt more tentative than usual in the kitchen last night).

  • one 1½-inch-thick (there’s significant shrinkage as it cooks) belly steak from a local (Long Island) waters swordfish (16 ounces) from P.E. & D.D. Seafood, brought to kitchen/room temperature, cut into 1½-inch-wide segments and the skin sliced off (although I’m still not sure that would have been necessary), briefly seared, 30 seconds on the first side, 15 on the second, inside a totally dry (no oil or butter whatsoever) large enameled cast iron pan which had been pre-heated above a high flame until very hot, the fish removed and arranged on warm plates, the heat under the pan reduced to a medium flame, a tablespoon or so of olive oil added, and 3 small chopped spring ‘Magic’ garlic bulbs from Windfall Farms introduced, along with 4 halved Backyard Farms Maine ‘cocktail tomatoes’ from Chelsea Whole Foods, the vegetables pushed around inside the pan until they had softened, then arranged on and around the swordfish, everything seasoned with local Long Island sea salt, also from P.E. & D.D. Seafood, finished with a squeeze of a small local Persian lime that had been raised by David Tifford of Fantastic Gardens of Long Island, a farmer (mostly of decorative plants, which he sells in the Union Square Greenmarket, garnished with roughly chopped fresh oregano from Phillips farms
  • just under a pound of pinto potatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm in the Union Square Greenmarket, scrubbed, boiled whole and unpeeled in heavily-salted water until barely cooked through, drained, dried in the still-warm large vintage Corning Pyrex Flameware blue-glass pot in which they had cooked, then halved, and a tablespoon or so of olive oil added, the potatoes tossed with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, arranged on the plates, sprinkled with chopped fresh garlic mustard from Norwich Meadows Farm
  • the second half of the bunch of baby cavolo nero, lacinato kaleor black kale, from from Migliorelli Farm, remaining from a meal on Friday, briefly wilted with olive oil and 4 smallish garlic cloves from Mexico via Whole Foods Market, the garlic first having been heated in the oil until almost beginning to brown, the greens finished with salt, freshly-ground black pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a drizzle of olive oil
  • the wine was a wonderful surprise, a French (Corsica) rosé using the native Sciaccarellu grape, Domaine Eric Poli Sciaccarellu Rose Île de Beauté, from Foragers Wines
  • the music was a new, absolutely gorgeous album, ‘La Morte della Ragione‘ (The Death of Reason), in which the brilliant Italian ensemble Il Giardino Armonico performs 15th through the 17th-century instrumental music