oregano/chili/lemon-roasted squid; turkish eggplant, mint

Words fail me here; I can only say it was absolutely delicious, all of it, but at least the colors can speak for themselves.

Okay, ‘juicy’. Juicy is easy to say.

  • after the oven had been heated to 400º, exactly one pound of very fresh, cleaned, quite small and very tender baby squid from P.E. & D.D. Seafood Company, bodies and tentacles (at least some of the latter were from grownup cephalopods claimed by earlier customers, maybe for stuffing the bodies), were rinsed, then very carefully dried, very quickly arranged inside two large rectangular enameled cast iron pans (these little ones had a large footprint, so I needed more than one) but only after a little olive oil that had been brushed on the pan surfaces, heated until they had become quite hot, had itself become hot, the squid then immediately sprinkled with a heaping teaspoon of super-pungent dried Sicilian oregano from Buon Italia, some crushed peperoncino di Calabria from Buon Italia in the Chelsea Market, and a pinch of the powdered remains of some light-colored home-dried habanada pepper I had purchased fresh from Norwich Meadows Farm back in 2017 (still awesome), sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, followed by 3 full tablespoons of juice from an organic Chelsea Whole Foods Market California lemon, and a splash of olive oil, the pans placed inside the hot oven and the squid roasted for just 3 minutes, because they were smaller than the usual, which I cook for 4), by which time their bodies had ballooned somewhat, removed and arranged on 2 plates and ladled with the cooking juices from a footed glass sauce boat and sprinkled with scissored bronze fennel blossoms and buds, from Rise & Root Farm
  • we used a bit of a powerful Brazil wax pepper-infused olive oil as a condiment (the fresh pepper had come from Eckerton Hill Farm
  • a handful of plain, unseasoned perky and peppery red watercress from Dave’s Max Creek Hatchery in the Greenmarket

  • five medium (they’re a small breed), Turkish eggplants, 17 ounces total, from Norwich Meadows Farm, each cut horizontally into 4 slices, mixed with a little olive oil, one large chopped ‘Chesnok Red’ garlic clove from Alewife Farm, sea salt, and black pepper, pan-grilled on an enameled cast iron ribbed pan over 2 burners above a brisk flame, turning once or twice, then tossed inside a bowl with some torn peppermint leaves from Lani’s Farm and arranged on the plates, drizzled with a bit of olive oil, garnished with more mint
  • the wine was an Italian (Sardinia/Sassari) white, Vigne Surau Vermentino di Gallura DOCG 2018, from Philippe Wines
  • the music was the 2009 surrealistic chamber opera, ‘Döbeln’, by the Finnish composer Sebastian Fagerlund (we’re now both fans), performed by the Kokkola Opera Festival Orchestra, conducted by Sakari Oramo