swordfish, roasted tomatoes, kale, cake/ice cream/rhubarb

The meal was designed for guests: We were entertaining two new friends visiting from Berlin, so new that we had never met them before (they were good friends of good friends), and I hoped to not be distracted from conversation.

We enjoyed snacks (breadsticks and taralli from Buon Italia) and a sparkling wine before the main course.

The main course was easy to prepare, and for me, literally notably so, because I was interacting with guests all along.

The sweet roasted tomatoes could be prepared before anyone arrived.

  • two beautiful 15-ounce swordfish steaks purchased from Wade at his family’s P.E. & D.D. Seafood in the Union Square Greenmarket, each halved, then marinated for about 45 minutes, turning once, in a mixture of a few tablespoons of olive oil, more than 2 teaspoons of winter savory from Keith’s Farm , a bit of peperoncino Calabresi secchia from Buon Italia, a small piece of a home-dried habanada pepper, plus the chopped white sections of 2 or 3 spring ‘Magic garlic’ from Windfall Farms, after which the swordfish was drained, both sides covered with a coating of homemade dried breadcrumbs, pan-grilled over medium-high heat for 3 or 4 minutes on each side, or until not quite fully cooked to the center, removed from the pan and arranged on 4 plates, sprinkled with a little local Long Island sea salt, also from P.E. & D.D. Seafood, some of the chopped green section of the scallions, drizzled with a bit of juice from a Chelsea Whole Foods Market organic lemon, finished with a few drops of olive oil poured over the top, garnished with micro purple mustard greens from Norwich Meadows Farm

  • a few dozen of ‘The Best Cherry Tomatoes’ from Stokes Farm, each punctured at least once, mixed with 2 tablespoons of dried Sicilian oregano from Buon Italia, 3 tablespoons of Whole Foods house Portuguese olive oil, and and a couple fresh garlic bulbs from Lani’s Farm, slow-roasted at 325-350º inside a vintage rolled edge sheet steel baking pan lined in parchment paper fro about 35 minutes, removed and allowed to rest until served at room temperature

  • more than a single bunch of purple Russian kale from Eckerton Hill Farm, washed, drained, wilted inside a large enameled cast iron pot in a tablespoon or so of olive oil in which several chopped spring garlic bulbs had first been allowed to soften, the greens seasoned with salt and black pepper, arranged on the plates where a little more olive oil was drizzled on top
  • the wines with this course – and a little beyond – were an Italian (Sicily) white, Caruso & Minini – Inzolia Terre Di Guimara 2017, from 67Wine, and another Sicilian white, Corvo Bianco 2017, this one from Philippe Wines

There was a dessert.

  • halved slices of cardamon pound cake from Bread Alone, with dollops of La Loos goat milk ice cream, ‘Snowflake vanilla’, from Whole Foods, drizzled with a luscious rhubarb-cardamon seed-star anise compote made with tiny (1/3 to 1/2-inch thick) early (late winter?) rhubarb stems from Hoeffner Farms
  • the wine was Blandy’s 5 year old Bual Madeira


  • the music throughout the meal was conversation (and birdsong)