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shishito; savory butter-baked pollock; tomatoes, basil buds

We’ve been big fans of pimientos de padron for more than a decade, later including Shishito peppers, their east Asian cousins, in the same category.

The excellent Pollock is a very different thing, and in its case our modest fan club only goes back about 18 months, but we’re as fond of it as we are of the peppers. Curiously, the American general public’s awareness of the beauties of our genus pollachius is today roughly at the same level as the peppers were to us, and, I would say, to many others, when we first tried them in 2007: Most people are something of a state of ignorance about Pollock, mostly because they never hear about it.

I decided that was a respectable excuse for including the two in the same meal.

  • a couple handful of Shishito peppers from Alewiife Farm, washed, drained, dried, then sautéed over medium high heat in a broad cast iron pan for a few minutes, stirring, then salted and served on plates, more, Maldon salt added
  • slices of a sesame baguette from Bread Alone Bakery (they’ve decided to put the sesame inside, apparently to reduce defections of the seeds)

The pollock showed up for the main course.

  • two 8-ounce white-fleshed pollock filets from American Seafood Company, rinsed, dried, halved, and seasoned on both sides with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, placed skin side down inside a buttered oval tin-lined copper gratin pan, spread with a mixture of softened unsalted Organic Valley ‘Cultured Pasture Butter’ that had been mixed with zest from most of an organic Whole Foods Market lemon, a little chopped, almost mature Rocambole garlic from Keith’s Farm, slices of a section of one young red onion (something like a red scallion) from Berried Treasures Farm, a bit of a finely-chopped aji dulce pepper (with a mild, smoky flavor, and sweet, not hot) from Eckerton Hill Farm, the fish baked for about 15-17 minutes at 350º, removed to 2 plates, the little bit of cooking juices that had accumulated poured over the top, and a teaspoon or so of Sicilian salted capers, which had first been rinsed, drained, dried and heated briefly inside a small antique enameled cast iron porringer in a bit of olive oil, scattered while still warm on top of the fillets, along with the oil in which they had been heated, the pollock finished with a garnish of what looks in the image like green fireworks ‘brocades’, but was actually only sprays of dill flower buds from Willow Wisp Farm

bluefish ‘Greek style’, micro fennel; romano beans, dill buds

We weren’t certain when, or absolutely certain where, we would be eating last night. We were invited to a friend’s birthday party, in Boerum Hill, where we celebrated earlier in the evening, and we lingered longer than we had expected to. I must however have assumed all along that I’d end up cooking dinner, since I had purchased a beautiful big section of a bluefish fillet in the Greenmarket that afternoon, and I would never have even thought about waiting untio the next day to cook it.

We always eat late, and this was the weekend, so it wasn’t entirely incredible that we wouldn’t be sitting down to eat until 12:20 in the morning. What would have been less credible was any liklihood that it would be one of my best meals ever.

We began supper at 12:20 in the morning and it was one of my best meals ever.

  • one 21-ounce bluefish from Pura vida Seafood, rinsed, cut into 2 sections, rubbed with olive oil and a little Columela Rioja 30 Year Reserva sherry vinegar, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, placed inside a vintage oval tin-lined copper au gratin pan, sprinkled liberally with a very pungent dried Sicilian oregano from Buon Italia and a bit of dried peperoncino Calabresi secchi, also from Buon Italia, then covered/layered with thin slices of one small red onion, thin slices of one ripe medium heirloom red tomato, and more than a tablespoon of chopped fresh oregano buds, all from Norwich Meadows Farm; plus 8 or 9 pitted and halved Gaeta olives from Eataly; and several thin slices of a Whole Foods Market organic lemon, the pan placed inside a 425º and baked for just under 20 minutes (rather than the usual 15 minutes, because the fish was thicker than those I had cooked in the past), arranged on the plates and garnished with micro bronze fennel from Two Guys from Woodbridge
  • romano beans from Berried Treasures Farm, parboiled for a few minutes, drained, dried, reheated in olive oil inside a heavy seasoned vintage cast iron pan, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, tossed with fresh dill buds from Alewife Farm, arranged on the plates, more dill and a drizzle of olive oil added
  • the wine was a California (Mendocino and Lake counties) white, Scott Peterson Rumpus California Sauvignon Blanc 2017, from Naked Wines

There was a sweet, and it seemed made to follow this Mediterranean entrée.

  • an unadorned scoop or so of incredibly delicious Old Mother Hubbert Dairy lemon basil gelato (ingredients: non fat dry milk, lemon juice, orange juice, fresh basil, lemon zest), produced at the Back to the Future Farm, near Middletown, NY, that I had picked up at Rose Hubbert‘s stand at the Union Square Greenmarket


artichoke ravioli, garlic, heirloom tomato, marjoram buds

I had a pound or so of heirloom tomatoes, less than a third of which were super ripe (which is good, when it comes to heirlooms). I was determined to use them in Sunday night’s meal, but the amount wasn’t going to be enough to serve with the pasta I had in mind to prepare. The remaining tomato was pretty big, but I couldn’t include just some of it, so the dish ended up less like a ravioli con tomate and more like a ravioli en brodo.

  • two sliced fresh garlic cloves from Alex’s Tomato Farm and a thinly-sliced section of a stem of a flowering spring shallot from Keith’s Farm heated together in a little olive oil over medium heat inside a large tin-lined high-sided copper pot until the alliums were pungent, and just before that moment part of a dried Habanada pepper, crushed, was introduced into and the pot and stirred for a minute, then several heirloom tomatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, roughly chopped, and some chopped fresh marjoram flower buds, also from Norwich Meadows Farm, were added to the the mix and stirred a little before a 10-ounce package of Rana artichoke-filled ravioli from Eataly Flatiron that had been boiled for barely 3 minutes before being drained was tossed into the pot, the pasta carefully stirred over medium heat for a while to reduce somewhat what was basically tomato liquid, and served, when ready, inside 2 shallow bowls, additional marjoram buds tossed on top
  • the wine was an Italian (Calabria) white, Scala, Ciro Bianco, 2017, from Flatiron Wines

There was a dessert, basically the one we didn’t get to at dinner the previous evening.

  • a scoop of Talenti Vanilla Bean Gelato from Whole Foods Market dropped into a hollowed-out deseeded core of half of an Asian/Korean melon from Norwich Meadows Farm, some raspberries from Berried Treasures Farm scattered over the top, and finished with some of the berries, mashed with a little turbinado sugar and a splash of Toschi Orzata Orgeat syrup


artichoke ravioli, heirloom tomato, olive oil, oregano buds

This was the very best artichoke-filled pasta I’ve ever had. Among its other virtues, there was no ‘ricotta extender’, so the artichoke flavors were not watered down – or buried by the heirloom tomato sauce.

The quality of those tomatoes was also a big factor in the dish’s success.

  • two sliced garlic cloves from Lucky Dog Organic Farm, heated in a little olive oil over medium heat inside a large tin-lined high-sided copper pot until the garlic was pungent, joined just before that moment by part of a dried Habanada pepper, crushed, which was stirred for a minute inside the pot, followed by 2 heirloom tomatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm (one a deep red, the other a mottled orange), roughly chopped, and some chopped fresh oregano flower buds, also from Norwich Meadows Farm, the mix stirred a little before 10 or 12 ounces of house-made carciofi-filled ravioli, boiled for barely 3 minutes before being drained, were tossed into the pot with some reserved pasta cooking water, the pasta carefully stirred with the sauce over medium heat for a while to emulsify it, and when ready, served inside 2 shallow bowls, a bit of olive oil drizzled around the edges [the pasta filling was composed of artichokes; olive oil; cacio de roma, a semi-soft sheep’s milk cheese made in the Roman countryside; parmigiano; anchovy; tomato; parsley; and basil]
  • the wine was a California (Clarksburg) white, Richard Bruno Clarksburg Chenin Blanc 2016, from Naked Wines
  • the music was from the Deutsche Grammophon/DGG album, ‘haydn, “sturm” und “drang”, paris & london symphonies’, the pieces performed by the  Orchestra Of The Age Of the Enlightenment, and the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Frans Brüggen conducting both

porgy, herbs, oxalis; garlic-oregano eggplant, fennel buds


Only after I had plated fish and the vegetables did it occur to me that they would have looked so much better had I thought ahead and included some color, like any one or more of the tomatoes in various colors sitting on the window sill across from the table. Still, even unembellished, the entrée was scrumptious; I don’t think it could have been improved.

Porgy is a magnificent fish, as I’ve written here before, and these pale-green long eggplants (I did not get their name from the farmer, but I will ask) were incredibly juicy and sweet.



  • two 5 1/2-ounce Porgy fillets from P.E. & D.D. Seafood, dried, seasoned with salt and pepper, pan-seared, along with a thinly-sliced red scallions from Rise & Root Farm, over medium heat inside an oval copper pan in a bit of butter and a little olive oil, the fish basted, using a small brush, with the the scallion butter and oil for about 2 minutes, more or less continually, then carefully turned over, the heat reduced to low, a cover (I used aluminum foil) placed on the pan and the filets cooked for about another minute before the cover was removed and 2 or 3 tablespoons of mixed fresh herbs thrown in (I used parsley, lovage, tarragon, savory, thyme, and mint this time), after which the basting continued for about another minute, or until the fish was cooked through, at which time the fillets were arranged on the 2 plates, and a small handful of stemmed oxalis from Alewife Farm was thrown into the pan, stirred for a few seconds, scooped up with the juices and sprinkled on top (the recipe has been slightly modified from one written by Melissa Clark)
  • three medium long pale-green eggplants from Campo Rosso Farm, split lengthwise, scored, brushed with a mixture of oil, finely-chopped garlic from Keith’s Farm, and chopped fresh budding oregano from Stokes Farm, seasoned with salt and pepper, pan-grilled for a few minutes, turning once, then sprinkled with fennel flowers from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm [the basic recipe is here]


There was fruit, for a simple dessert.

  • six small green figs (unfortunately, their origin unknown) from Eataly