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grill: mako shark, herbs; tomato, fennel; eggplant, oregano


I didn’t buy it because it was shark, but because it looked so incredibly good in the fishmonger’s bucket, 2 weeks in a row. last week I chose triggerfish instead, because it is likely to appear in the market more rarely. This time it was the mako shark’s turn.

I have nothing against sharks; I like them, well, at least in the right environment, one of which I will now avow, is the dinner table.

I neglected to photograph the shark before I cooked it, but think of a swordfish steak, looking especially moist, and, this one at least, the color of a pale rosé wine.

The fish was extraordinarily fresh: At Rick Lofstad‘s Pura Vida Fisheries stall on Friday Lea Mansour showed me this short video, taken the day before, of the shark on the deck of their boat, the Olivia Jane, out of Hampton Bays, Shinnecock, only moments after it was caught. The deck is covered in squid, which appears to be the catch intended that day.

“Do you wanna try and sell this thing?”

The thing was absolutely delicious.

I used a recipe I have occasionally used with swordfish, and it worked beautifully, allowing the slightly sweet, moderately-strong taste of the shark to shine.

The preparation of the other 2 elements of this meal was already pretty familiar territory on this blog. As with the recipe for the fish, there were only slight adjustments in the herbs used this time.

  • one 13-ounce (1 1/4-inch thick) mako shark steak from Pura Vida Seafood, rubbed with a mixture of fresh herbs (here lovage and dill from Keith’s Farm; tarragon, rosemary, savory, and sage from Stokes Farm; spearmint from Ryder Farm; parsley from Phillips Farm), all from various Greenmarket farmers) chopped together with sea salt, some freshly-ground black pepper, juicy garlic from Norwich Meadows Farm, and lemon zest, and a bit of olive oil added to moisten the herb mix, most of which was spread onto the surface of the fish before it was pan-grilled, basted throughout the cooking process with some of the reserved rub mixture, removed while still not quite fully cooked in the center, divided onto 2 plates, finished with a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, and served with lemon quarters
  • one firm but ripe non-heirloom tomato (I’ve forgotten the proper name) from Down Home Acres, halved, placed face-down on a plate spread with salt and pepper, removed, dried slightly with a section of paper towel, placed on the same grill pan as the shark, halfway through its cooking, turning once, removed, and finished on the plates with a bit of olive oil, a few drops of white balsamic vinegar, sprinkled with dill flowers from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm
  • two medium Japanese eggplants from Berried Treasures Farm, split lengthwise, scored with a very sharp knife, brushed with a mixture of oil, finely-chopped garlic from Keith’s Farm, and chopped fresh oregano from Stokes Farm, seasoned with salt and pepper, pan-grilled for a few minutes, turning once, arranged on the plates and sprinkled with micro purple basil from Two Guys from Woodbridge [the basic recipe, absent the topping, is here]
  • the wine was an Italian (sicily) rosé, Fuori Strada Off Road Rosato 2015, with Nero d’Avola grapes, from Bottlerocket Wine

There was dessert.

  • slices from a Lambkin melon, aka Santa Claus melon, and sometimes known as Christmas melon or piel de sapo


shishito; oregano/chili/shallot-rub mako; eggplant, basil

The meal was a bit Spanish, -ish. Or maybe it was just Chelsea Mediterranean. But it was also definitely local.

  • a generous number of large shishito peppers (all were juicy, some were actually sweet, none were fiery, or even suggested fire, and every one was delicious), the gift of a friend, from her garden, ‘Lower Hayfields’, in Garrison, New York
  • slices of 12 grain bread from Bread Alone
  • the music was Bang on a Can’s album, ‘Summer Marathon Mixtape 2018’
  • a 17-ounce mako shark steak from Pura Vida Seafood, the bloodline removed, cut into 2 portions, marinated in a mixture of olive oil, a tablespoon of chopped fresh oregano buds, a small amount of crushed peperoncino Calabresi secchi from Buon Italia, and thin slices of the stem of a fresh bulbous shallot from Tamarack Hollow Farm, allowed to rest for a little more than half an hour, the first 15 minutes in the refrigerator, drained well and covered with a coating of dried homemade bread crumbs, pan-grilled over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, removed to the plates, seasoned with a little sea salt, drizzled with a little lemon juice, dusted with a pinch of some wonderful Italian wild fennel pollen from Buon Italia, and dsome freshly, very-finely-chopped scallions tossed on the top
  • a bit of wild red cress from Dave Harris at Max Creek Hatchery

  • five small Japanese eggplant from Campo Rosso Farm, each halved lengthwise, brushed all over with a mixture of a little olive oil, 2 finely-chopped medium size rocambole garlic cloves from Keith’s Farm, sea salt, and freshly-ground black pepper, pan-grilled on a cast iron ribbed pan above a brisk flame, turning twice, adding more of the material from the marinade the second time, then arranged on the plates where they were tossed with torn basil leaves off of a plant from Two Guys from Woodbridge and drizzled with a bit of olive oil
  • the music was Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, Marin Alsop conducting the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra


grilled eggplant; hammerhead shark; tiny corn; wild tomato

it’s a bucket of hammerhead shark steaks (I’d already picked out mine)


I’ve never seen a hammerhead shark steak in the Greenmarket.

In Friday I saw a hammerhead shark steak in the Greenmarket.

That night I cooked the hammerhead shark steak I saw in the Greenmarket.

It was a special occasion, since we were entertaining a friend visiting from Berlin, and I’m pretty sure there are no hammerhead shark steaks in Berlin. I was really intrigued, they looked beautiful, and I couldn’t resist buying some. It didn’t occur to me that I was taking a chance, especially sharing it with company, since I had never cooked hammerhead before, and neither of us had ever even tasted it.

Once home, I couldn’t find anything on line that seemed useful as a cooking suggestion, but something told me I could do worse than just treating it like swordfish, since I had done exactly that 2 years ago with a very different member of the shark family.

Fortunately I hadn’t really looked deeply into what was there on the internet until the next day, when I went back on line to learn more about what we had eaten the night before. It seemed that almost no one had anything good to say about the taste of hammerhead shark, and in fact much of the conversation was pretty frightening, especially when it got into the uric acid thing. One of the more positive comments read, “They are edible if you are starving.”

Well, we weren’t starving, and they were far more than merely edible. Maybe ours was a young one, and maybe the fisherman knew what he was doing. I would say that if there were any shortcomings, it was in its texture, or its dryness, both of which may have been my doing, although hammerhead flesh is described everywhere as meaty and firm. Still, I may have used too high a flame, and/or kept it on the heat a bit too long.

I’m willing to prepare it again, if I ever come across another, but most sharks of any kind appear in markets as a byproduct in a search for other fish, so it may be a while before I get a chance.

The vegetables were stars throughout the meal, and almost as exotic as the hammerhead.

Before we got started that night there was an aperitif.

And also an appetizer.

  • ten or 12 Japanese eggplant (or possibly ‘orient charm’ Chinese eggplant?) from Alewife Farm, each halved horizontally, brushed on all sides with a mixture of a little olive oil, 2 or more finely-chopped rocambole garlic cloves from Keith’s Farm, sea salt, and freshly-ground black pepper, pan-grilled on a seasoned, large double burner-size cast iron ribbed pan over a brisk flame, turning once or twice, sprinkled with chopped spearmint from Keith’s Farm, drizzled with a bit of olive oil, arranged on a serving platter with some pitted kalamata olives from Whole Foods Market, and garnished with more torn mint
  • slices of an organic multigrain baguette from Bread Alone
  • the wine was a Spanish (Catalonia/Terra Alta) white, áureo by Joseph Puig (100% Macabeo/Viura/Macabeu), the gift of our guest

The shark was just about the easiest part of the meal to prepare, once I had decided to treat it more or less like swordfish steak, using the same recipe I had sought out when I had cooked mako shark 2 years ago.

For the curious, or the ambitious, this is a pretty good video demonstrating how to fillet, maybe a 5-foot long hammerhead shark (it’s probably best to have a garage if you’re going to try it yourself).

  • three 7-ounce thick (1 3/4″) hammerhead shark steaks from Pura Vida Seafood, rubbed with a mixture of fresh herbs (parsley, lovage, spearmint, and sage from Keith’s Farm; dill buds from Willow Wisp Farm; tender rosemary from Lani’s Farm; summer savory, from Stokes Farm), all chopped together with sea salt, some freshly-crushed black pepper and a large rocambole garlic clove from Keith’s Farm, some zest from an organic Whole Foods Market lemon, with a bit of olive oil to moisten the mix, most of it spread onto the surface of the fish before it was pan-grilled, basted throughout the cooking process with some of the reserved mixture, removed, ideally, while barely fully cooked in the center [I had gone a little further in this case; I blame it on my huge social distractions], arranged on the plates, finished with a squeeze of the lemon used for the zest and a drizzle of olive oil, garnished with bronze micro fennel from Two Guys from Woodbridge, served with lemon quarters
  • twelve ears of shucked baby bicolor corn from Alewife Farm, sautéed inside a large heavy vintage oval copper skillet in which a little butter and a little less olive oil had been heated until quite hot, sprinkled with Maldon salt, black pepper, and a little chopped aji dulce pepper from Eckerton Hill Farm, finished with fresh chives from S. & S.O. Farm
  • some tiny ‘wild’ tomatoes (‘Matt’s Wild Cherry’?) from Windfall Farms, warmed in a little olive oil inside a small vintage Pyrex skillet, seasoned with salt and pepper, sprinkled with dill blossoms from Willow Wisp Farms, arranged on the plates on top of some local Bowery Farm arugula from Foragers Market dressed with olive oil , lemon, salt, and pepper
  • the wine was a  wonderful Spanish (Galicia) white, Valdesil, Godello Sobre Lias, 2015, from Flatiron Wines

There was a dessert, basically the classic American ‘cake and ice cream’.

  • an scoop of 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, resting on top of a slice of sour cream cheesecake from Bread Alone, also purchased in the Greenmarket

triggerfish, dill; potato, lovage; sweet potato green; tomato


I was about to pick out a couple of gorgeous pink mako shark steaks at the Pura Vida Fisheries greenmarket stand when I noticed some beautiful triggerfish fillets in a bucket nearby.  Paul and his wife also seemed more excited by the latter, visitors found in local waters far more rarely than the shark. That fact, together with my memory of our having really enjoyed triggerfish on the one occasion I had prepared it, won the day – and last night’s meal. Triggerfish it would be.

By the way, triggerfish is subtly sweet (they dine on crustaceans) and the texture of the fillets alone would put it in a class by itself: unlike that of any other fish I can think of right now, the flesh is both quite firm and beautifully flaky when cooked properly. The picture above suggests as much, but out of sight is the ease with which I was able to run the fillets over, and then remove them to the plates.


The sweet potato greens however were entirely new to me. I had tasted them raw at some time in the week before, and I thought they were pretty wonderful, but that moment I had already bagged all the vegetables I needed.

On Friday, as soon as I spotted these beauties I knew what I would serve with the triggerfish. They’re probably delicious in almost any state of cooking, from raw to par-boiled and sautéed, and I’m going to try to find out for sure whether that’s the case, with what I expect will be repeat purchases. My only concern would be dealing with the stems, since they don’t soften as quickly as the leaves. On the other hand, a certain amount of chewiness isn’t really a problem for me.

  • four 3-ounce triggerfish fillets from Pura Vida Fisheries, rinsed, dried, seasoned with salt and freshly-ground black pepper, sautéed inside a large, heavy oval, tin-lined cooper pan in olive oil over medium-high heat for only about 90 seconds on each side, removed to 2 plates, drizzled with a little fresh organic lemon juice, immediately sprinkled with chopped fresh dill from Keith’s Farm, with more dill tossed into the pan along with a few drops of olive oil, pushed around with a narrow wooden spatula, those juices then drizzled over the fish
  • a third of a pound of sweet potato greens from Alewife Farm, washed, drained, sautéed, then briefly covered until wilted inside an oval enameled, cast iron pot in olive oil in which one chopped garlic and a small amount of slivered cherry bomb/red bomb pepper from Norwich Meadows Farm had first been softened, seasoned with salt and pepper, sprinkled with a little organic lemon juice, and drizzled with olive oil
  • 2 tiny new potatoes (probably red Norland) from Central Valley Farm, boiled, drained, dried in the pan, rolled in olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and scattered with chopped lovage from Keith’s Farm
  • one yellow heirloom tomato from Eckerton Hill Farm, cut into bite-size pieces, mixed with good Campania olive oil, Maldon salt and freshly-ground pepper, a few drops of white balsamic vinegar, and torn bits of basil leaves from Keith’s Farm, served in oval dishes at the side of the plates
  • the wine was a California (Lodi) white, Karen Birmingham Sauvignon Blanc Lodi 2015
  • the music was 2 early nineteenth-century works by Nicholas von Krufft, in the album, ‘Sonatas For Bassoon And Fortepiano’, with Wouter Verschuren’s 1810 Cuvillier bassoon, and Kathryn Cok playing a copy of an 1805 Walther and Sohn fortepiano

cod, smoked chili potatoes, tomato; eggplant, garlic, mint

When I texted Barry from the Greenmarket asking whether he wanted me to pick up swordfish, flounder. cod, sole, hake, bluefish, mako shark, or clams, he replied that cod sounded good, especially since the evening would be cool enough for the terrific hot oven recipe. I had been thinking clams, but he was absolutely right, and fortunately the meal turned out absolutely right.

I bought clams the next day, this time from the market in the next block, and with his full agreement. I had already been thinking clams, but I texted anyway:

me: swordfish or clams?

Barry: clams and pasta

But first there was cod, and before the cod itself, potatoes.

And eventually tomatoes as well.

  • a one 14-and-a-half-ounce cod fillet from Pura Vida Seafood Company in the Union Square greenmarket, washed, rinsed, sliced down the center to make 2 long sections, of exactly the same weight, as it turned out (not always so easy), placed inside a platter on a bed of coarse sea salt, with more salt added on top until the cod was completely covered, and set aside while a ‘bed’ was prepared for them composed of 12 ounces of yellow-flesh, floury cooking Augusta potatoes from Norwich Meadows 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 hickory smoked Jamaican Scotch bonnet peppers from Eckerton Hill Farm, the potatoes arranged overlapping inside a rectangular glazed ceramic oven pan and cooked for 25 minutes or so in a 400º oven, or until they were tender when pierced but not fully cooked, then, while near the end to that time the cod pieces were rinsed of the salt and thoroughly immersed in many fresh changes of water to bring down the saltiness, drained, dried, and placed inside the pan on top of the potatoes, drizzled with a little olive oil, sprinkled with black pepper, blanketed with thin slices of heirloom tomatoes from both Race Farm and Rise & Root 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 always depends on the thickness of the fillets, but this was perfect for these), when the cod was removed with the help of 2 spatulas, along with as much of the tomatoes and potatoes as could be brought along with each piece, and everything arranged on the plates as intact as possible before it was garnished with chopped chives from Stokes Farm