cod roasted with potatoes, smoked pepper; radish greens

Warm comfort, on a December evening, drawn from a cold earth and a still colder sea.

  • one 16-ounce cod fillet from P.E. & D.D. Seafood Company in the Union Square greenmarket, washed and rinsed, carefully halved, placed in a platter on a bed of coarse sea salt, with more salt added on top until the pieces were completely covered, then set aside while a bed of potatoes was prepared for them by slicing lengthwise (to a thickness of roughly 1/4″) a pound of potatoes, a mix of red thumb and la ratte from Norwich Meadows Farm, 6 ounces each, plus 4 ounces of purple Peruvian from Tamarack Hollow Farm, tossing them inside a bowl with a little olive oil, sea salt, a freshly-ground mix of black pepper, and a pinch of smoked serrano pepper from Eckerton Hill Farm, arranging the potatoes, overlapping, inside a well-seasoned 9″ x 12″ La Tienda rectangular terra cotta cazuela, or glazed ceramic oven pan, cooking them for 25 minutes or so in a 400º oven, or until they were tender when pierced, but not quite fully cooked, then the cod fillets, having already been removed from the platter and their salt covering, thoroughly immersed in many fresh changes of water to bring down the saltiness, drained and dried (the soaking process somehow gives the fish more solidity, which can be easily felt while it’s being handled it at this point; it’s also weird how this Marc Bittman recipe totally turns inside out the ancient tradition of salting cod, which is an ancient response to the desire to preserve seafood over long periods and great distances), placed inside the pan on top of the potatoes, drizzled with a little olive oil, sprinkled with black pepper, the pan then returned to the oven for about 8 or 9 minutes (the exact time depends on the thickness of the fillets), or, again, until just cooked through, the fish carefully removed with a spatula (or, better, 2 spatulas), along with as much of the potatoes as can be brought along with each piece, everything arranged as intact as possible on the plates, including any potatoes remaining onthe pan, the servings garnished with micro scallion from Two Guys from Woodbridge
  • the greens cut from one bunch of breakfast radishes from Eckerton Hill Farm wilted in olive oil in which one  large halved rocambole garlic clove fromKeith’s Farm had been allowed to sweat in a little olive oil for a bit, seasoned with salt, pepper and a bit more olive oil
  • the wine was an Italin (Piedmont) white, Gavi ‘Vecchie Vigne’ Francesco Rinaldi 2018, from Astor Wines
  • the music was Mozart’s ‘La FInta Giardiniera’, René Jacobs conducting the Freiburgh Baroque Orchestra