smoked scallops, arugula; duck breast, treviso, balsamic

I suppose it was surf and turf last night, but I can never forget that in the middle ages some ecclesiastical authorities considered some waterfowl to be fish, when it came to observing some religious fasts.

  • six smoked scallops from Pura Vida Seafood Company in the Union Square Greenmarket, brought fully to room temperature, arranged on a bed of large arugula from Windfall Farms, with the addition of some finely chopped baby celery stems and leaves from Norwich Meadows Farm, drizzled with a good olive oil from Whole Foods Market, Renieris Estate ‘Divina’ (Koroneiki varietal olives), from Hania, Crete, seasoned with local sea salt from P.E & D.D. Seafood and freshly ground black pepper, a squeeze of an organic lemon from Westside Market, a bit of scissored bronze fennel from Rise & Root Farm scattered on top

Since there had been a fairly rich first course, the entrée could be kept pretty simple. I did have a relatively extravagant amount of treviso radicchio on hand, but then we love chicory of any kind.

  • one 14-ounce duck breast from Hudson River Duck Farm, the fatty side scored in tight cross hatching with a very sharp knife, after which the entire breast rubbed, top and bottom, with a mixture of local sea salt, fresh black pepper, and a little turbinado sugar, and left standing on the counter for about 45 minutes to an hour before being pan-fried, fatty side down first, inside a small oval enameled cast iron pan over medium heat for a total of about 9 or 10 minutes, draining the oil after the first few minutes (the fat strained can be used in cooking at another time, if desired), and turning over once, removed when medium rare, cut crosswise into 2 portions and checked for the right doneness in the center, which means definitely no more than medium rare, and maybe even a bit less (the tenderloin had been removed at the beginning of the preparation, but seasoned like the rest of the breast, then fried very briefly near the end of the time the larger section was cooking, the tenderloin then halved), left to sit for several minutes before drizzled with a little juice from an organic Westside Market lemon and some olive oil, transferred to the 2 warm plates that had been sitting on top of the oven where the vegetable had been roasting, dusted on top with a small amount of garlic chive seed from Space on Ryder Farm (Betsy Ryder’s old farm), micro red amaranth from Two Guys from Woodbridge arranged on the side

  • one (11 or 12 ounce?) head of treviso from Campo Rosso Farm, rinsed, drained and wiped off, cut lengthwise into 6 sections, arranged one cut side up on a Pampered Chef unglazed ceramic oven pan (after securing the leaves of each with a toothpick, covered with thyme branches from Phillips Farms, seasoned generously with sea salt and black pepper, drizzled with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, baked in a pre-heated 400º oven for 18 minutes or so, turned over more than halfway through onto the other cut side, arranged on the plates and drizzled with a very small amount of balsamic vinegar
  • the wine for the second course was a South African (Swartland) red, Carmen Stevens Angel’s Reserve Shiraz 2018, also from Naked Wines