roasted cod, dried smoked pepper, potato, tomato; lacinato

I do this dish, or variation of it, more often than any other in my kitchen practice. There is good reason: It’s simple, always delicious and, for us at least, extremely good comfort food.

I don’t know why I’m posting it now when I’m so far behind, and also otherwise distracted, except that this was one of the best versions ever.

  • two 6-ounce cod fillets from American Seafood Company in the Union Square greenmarket, washed, rinsed, placed inside a platter on a bed of coarse sea salt, with more salt added on top until completely covered, then set aside while a bed was prepared for them, composed of 12 ounces of of French fingerings (aka Roseval potatoes) from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm sliced to a thickness of roughly 1/4″ and tossed into a bowl with olive oil, salt, black pepper, and a pinch of a dried smoked serrano pepper from Eckerton Hill Farm, the potatoes arranged overlapping inside a rectangular glazed ceramic oven pan, cooked for 25 minutes or so in a 400º oven, or until they were tender when pierced but not fully cooked, then, the cod having already been thoroughly immersed in many fresh changes of water to bring down the saltiness, the two fillets were drained, dried, and placed inside the pan on top of the potatoes, drizzled with a little olive oil and sprinkled with black pepper, blanketed with thin slices of 2 ripe Italian heirloom tomatoes from Shushan Farm, the tomatoes seasoned lightly with salt and pepper, and the pan returned to the oven for about 8 or 9 minutes (the exact time depends on the thickness of the fillets), the fillets removed with the help of 2 spatulas, along with as much of the tomatoes and potatoes as can be brought along with each piece, and everything arranged on the plates as intact as possible
  • flowering lacinato (aka cavolo nero, Tuscan kale, or black kale, among other names) from Norwich Meadows Farm, with stems so tender that the leaves were stripped only from the thickest sections, wilted briefly inside a large heavy antique tin-lined copper pot in a tablespoon or so of olive oil after two cloves of garlic had first been heated inside until fragrant and softened, the greens seasoned with salt and pepper and drizzled with a little more oil
  • the wine was a California (Russian River) white, Ondine Chattan Russian River Chardonnay 2018, from Naked Wines
  • the music was Handel’s 1734-1735 opera seria, ‘Ariodante’, with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, conducted by Nichkolas McGegan, soloists including Rufus Müller, Jörn Lindemann, Nicolas Cavallier, Lisa Saffer, Jennifer Lane, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, and Juliana Gondek