fennel and chili-paved grilled tuna; sautéed tomato; potato

It was a steak, and while it looks like beef in the light recorded by the photograph above, it was tuna, and it tasted like tuna, which is to say, very good.

Looking for music to accompany the meal, Barry turned up 2 very interesting composers totally unfamiliar to either of us until that night.

  • 15-ounces of yellowfin tuna steak (in 2 pieces) from Pura Vida Seafood, rinsed, dried, tops and bottoms seasoned with local sea salt processed by the fisherman, Phil Karlin of P.E & D.D. Seafood, on the grounds of his Riverside home, and freshly-ground black pepper, then ‘paved’ with a mixture of less than a tablespoon of some incredibly pungent dried Semi di Finocchietto Ibleo [wild Sicilian fennel seed] harvested in the Iblei Mountains, purchased from Eataly Flatiron, and a little dried Itria-Sirissi chili, pepperoncino di Sardegna intero from Buon Italia in the Chelsea Market (both first crushed together in a porcelain mortar and pestle), plus a very small amount of dried habanada pepper, 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 California lemon from Chelsea Whole Foods Market, garnished with micro ruby red chard from Windfall Farms, finished with a drizzle of Chelsea Whole Foods Market Portuguese house olive oil
  • some purple viking potatoes from Lucky Dog Organic Farm, scrubbed, boiled unpeeled in a generous amount of generously-salted water until barely cooked through, drained, halved, dried in the still-warm large vintage Corning Pyrex Flameware blue-glass pot in which they had cooked, tossed with a little olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and sprinkled with scissored Brooklyn chives (Square Roots) from the 23rd Street West Side Market  
  • one windowsill-ripened late season orange heirloom tomato from Eckerton Hill Farm, halved horizontally, the cut sides sprinkled sea salt, black pepper, a bit of chopped fresh marjoram from Willow Wisp Farm, sautéed on both sides, then arranged on the plates, garnished with more of the herb and small drizzle of olive oil 
  • the wine was an Italian (Marche) white, Tenuta Ugolino, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Piaole 2018, from Flatiron Wines
  • the music was Britta Byström’s ’10 Secret doors’, Johannes Gustavsson conducting the Vasteras Sinfonietta, but later we listened to work by Anders Erik Birger Eliasson, which sent both of us looking for more information on both, quickly turning up a nugget from Eliasson, writing about Stockholm’s “modernist fortress” during the period of his musical studies, and citing an example of a composer whose work has been under-appreciated (almost painfully so, for me), both during and after his early death*


*”It was a time of unbearable self-denial. Metrical rhythms, melodies, even particular intervals were all taboo in contemporary music. This was a catastrophe for the human voice and the human ear – was then, and still is.” Anyone stepping out of line, he said, was immediately banished. He mentioned an example from Sweden, Allan Pettersson.” – Anders Erik Birger Eliasson (1947-2013) [from his Wikipedia entry]


[the image of Allan Pettersson, via my blog, from a site that no longer exists]