sea bass with mussels, tomato, saffron; tardivo, rosemary

Surf and surf.

There wasn’t enough sea bass left in the bucket at the market, so, beating Paul to the punch this time (he usually asks, “anything else?” even when I’ve already selected 2 full portions of something, I added a bit of shellfish that had also been harvested from our local waters.

It’s now been 3 weeks since I prepared this meal, and I don’t remember whether I had found the recipe that I ended up (mostly) using while I was still at the fish stand deciding on whether to buy the mussels, or that evening, when I was ready to prepare the meal. My memory of the details of the cooking are also necessarily a little sketchy, but I can describe the origin of most of the ingredients:

  • two 5-ounce portions of local sea bass fillet from Pura Vida Seafood; eight ounces of local mushrooms, also from Pura Vida Seafood; fresh thyme from West Side Market (Uncle Vinny’s brand). two medium orange local heirloom tomatoes that I’d ripened on the windowsill, from Eckerton Hill Farm; a stalk from the greens of a celery root from Norwich Meadows Farms substituting for fennel; equal parts Millport Dairy Farm yogurt and a local Organic Farms whole milk substituting for double cream; a bit of wild cress from Lani’s Farm substituting for the samphire or sea beans; micro celery from Two Guys from Woodbridge
  • tardivo from Willow Wisp Farm, washed under cold running water, the moisture shaken off, cut in 4 sections lengthwise and a V-cut made most of the way through the root end, allowing that part to cook more rapidly, tossed with a little olive oil, sea salt, and freshly-ground black pepper, arranged inside an enameled cast iron pan over medium-high heat, one of their cut sides down, each covered with a couple of rosemary sprigs from Stokes Farm, cooked for a few minutes then turned onto a second cut side and cooked for a few more, and finally turned and cooked briefly onto the third, before they were arranged on the plates [this beautiful chicory can be served warm or room temperature after cooking]
  • the wine was a Portuguese (Vinho Verde/Monção and Melgaço) white, Quinta do Regueiro, Regueiro Alvarinho Reserva 2018, from Flatiron Wines
  • the music was Berlioz’s ‘La Damnation de Faust’, John Nelson conduting the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, with singers including singers Michael Spyres, Joyce DiDonato and Nicolas Courjal