fennel/chiles-crusted tuna; tomato, leek; lacinato; garlic

I was still recovering from a bug, and hadn’t been doing much real cooking for a few days. Although during that period we had only ordered one Mexican takeout and one pizza (both really good), by Saturday I was more interested in preparing a real grownup meal myself than coming up with another food delivery choice, no matter how basic the preparation would be or how good the takeout could be.

I walked one block west to the 23rd Street greenmarket that afternoon and selected what was probably the most easily prepared entrée, and a vegetable that would be even more easy to put on the table.

  • one modest 11.5-ounce tuna steak from American Seafood Company in the Saturday Chelsea’s Down to Earth Farmers Market on 23rd Street, rinsed, dried, halved, tops and bottoms seasoned with local P.E. & D.D. Seafood Company, sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, ‘paved’ with almost 2 tablespoons of a mix of some incredibly pungent dried Semi di Finocchietto Ibleo [wild Sicilian fennel seed], harvested in the Iblei Mountains, from Eataly Flatiron and a little dried peperoncino Calabresi secchi from Buon Italia in the Chelsea Market [both first crushed together in a porcelain mortar and pestle], plus one finely chopped small aji dulce seasoning  pepper (no real heat) from Eckerton Hill Farm, the steaks pan-grilled above a medium-high flame for little more than a minute or so on each side, finished on the plates with a good squeeze of the juice of an organic lemon from Chelsea Whole Foods Market, scissored garlic chive seeds from Space on Ryder Farm, and a drizzle of Chelsea Whole Foods Market Portuguese house olive oil
  • one medium red/orange-veined/striped heirloom tomato from Jersey Farm Produce Inc. in the same Saturday market, halved crosswise, the cut sides seasoned with salt and pepper, placed inside a small copper skillet in a little olive oil over a medium flame until softened, arranged on the plates and sprinkled with some chopped green sections of baby French leeks from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm in the Union Square Greenmarket, drizzled with a small amount of olive oil
  • one large bunch of cavolo nero (aka lacinato, Tuscan kale, or black kale, among other names as well) from Alex’s Tomato Farm, also in the Saturday Market, the leaves stripped from their stems, wilted briefly inside a large heavy antique tin-lined copper pot in a tablespoon or so of olive oil after several cloves of ‘Chesnok Red’ garlic from Alewife Farm had first been heated inside it until fragrant and softened, the greens seasoned with salt and pepper and drizzled with a little more oil
  • the wine was a French/Touraine/Loire) white, Francois Chidaine Clos de la Grange Touraine Sauvignon 2018, from Chambers Street Wines
  • the music was the Neos label album, ‘Musica viva, Vol. 33: Peter Ruzicka’, with works performed by the Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and the Vocalconsort Berlin