feta, shishito; baked cod, potato, tomato; cucumber, celery

I’m leading with an image of the main course, even though it had been preceded by an appetizer, only because the image of the former is a little splashier.

That almost didn’t happen however, because the heirloom tomatoes that account for much of the color on the plate in the picture above had already been so ripe when I bought them that afternoon that they didn’t make the short trip home intact. I spite of my best security efforts, they had apparently felt ‘crushed’ (so to speak) inside their plastic bag, and expelled their juices before I arrive home. I made a recovery that evening however, because, while they didn’t have their original integrity, they were delicious.

  • one 14-ounce cod fillet from P.E. & D.D. Seafood Company in the Union Square greenmarket, washed, rinsed, and quartered (to arrive at pieces of equal size and thickness for 2 diners), placed inside a platter on a bed of coarse sea salt, with more salt added on top until the cod was completely covered, then set aside while a bed was prepared for them composed of 12 ounces of Adirondack red potatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm sliced to a thickness of roughly 1/4″ and tossed into a bowl with olive oil, salt, black pepper, and a pinch of a dried smoked serrano pepper from Eckerton Hill Farm, the potatoes arranged overlapping inside a rectangular glazed ceramic oven pan, cooked for 25 minutes or so in a 400º oven, or until they were tender when pierced but not fully cooked, then, the cod having already been thoroughly immersed in many fresh changes of water to bring down the saltiness, the pieces were drained, dried, and placed inside the pan on top of the potatoes, drizzled with a little olive oil and sprinkled with black pepper, blanketed with thin slices (or more like pieces) of one red and one green heirloom tomato from Norwich Meadows Farm, the tomatoes seasoned lightly with salt and pepper, and the pan returned to the oven for about 8 or 9 minutes (the exact time depends on the thickness of the fillets), when the cod was removed with the help of 2 spatulas, along with as much of the tomatoes and potatoes as can be brought along with each piece, and everything arranged on the plates as intact as possible
  • slices of two very small stalks of celery from Norwich Meadow Farm, together with thicker slices of one green cucumber from Stokes Farm and 3 yellow cucumbers from Alewife Farm, all sautéed in olive oil inside a large antique copper pot until tender, browned, and slightly carbonized, seasoned with salt and black pepper, sprinkled with some of the celery leaves, plus some chopped dill from Lucky Dog Organic Farm

The appetizer had come about because I had some a little sheep milk feta remaining from the night before, and while at the Greenmarket on Monday I was looking around for ideas about how to use it while I when I spotted some shishito peppers.

  • a few ounces (10 count) of shishito peppers from Alewife Farm sautéed over medium-high heat in a little olive oil inside a heavy seasoned cast iron pan for 4 to 5 minutes, or until blistered, tossing only occasionally, sprinkled with some local P.E. & D.D. Seafood sea salt and combined gently with a scant 2 ounces of cubed New York Hidden Springs Farm sheep milk feta from Eataly Flatiron, 8 or so pitted and halved Kalamata olives, half a tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme leaves from Stokes Farm, and about a fourth of a cup of olive oil, allowed to marinate at room temperature for at least 30 to 60 minutes before serving
  • slices of a loaf of ‘Seedy Grains’ bread (wheat, spelt, rye, and barley organic bread flours; buckwheat; oats; flax sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds; water, and salt) from Lost Bread Company