fennel rubbed tuna, payqu; open brussels sprouts; tomato

This entrée would have been totally familiar on our table, and so also here on this blog, if it weren’t for two of its elements: the herb that garnished the tuna, and the unusual form of some otherwise common green vegetable.

  • 15-ounces of yellowfin tuna steak from Pura Vida Seafood, rinsed, dried, halved, 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 Calabrian peperoncino from Buon Italia in the Chelsea Market] (both first crushed together in a porcelain mortar and pestle), plus a very small amount of dried aji dulce pepper from Eckerton Hill Farm, the steak halves 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 lemon juice, garnished with chopped payqu (aka epazote) from Lani’s Farm and finished with a drizzle of Chelsea Whole Foods Market Portuguese house olive oil
  • two Italian heirloom tomatoes from from Shushan Hydroponic Farm, seasoned with salt and pepper, sautéed briefly in a little olive oil, sprinkled with torn basil from a live plant from Central Valley Farm
  • a small basket of what appeared to me to be immature, open-bud Brussels sprouts that I found at Lani’s Farm (I did not ask at the farm stall, because of the awkwardness of the  current distancing arrangements within the Union Square Greenmarket, and I can’t find anything that resembles them on line), sautéed very gently in a little olive oil, tossing in some chopped spring garlic, also from Lani’s Farm, and the tiniest amount of balsamic vinegar, and they were delicious
  • the wine was an Italian (Sicily) white, Stefano di Blasi Sicilia Zibibbo Catarratto 2018, from Naked Wines
  • the music was a brilliant performance of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, followed by his Seventh Symphony, with Anne-Sophie Mutter, Yo-Yo Ma, Daniel Barenboim, and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra