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epazote/garlic-stuffed scallops; tomato, red cress ‘salad’

They were small, but they took grill marks like never before.

  • eighteen smallish sea scallops (14 ounces total) from American Seafood Company, rinsed, dried, slit horizontally with a very sharp knife almost all of the way through to accommodate tiny spoonfuls of a mixture of some fresh chopped fresh epazote and a bit of spring garlic, both from Lani’s Farm, a pinch of crushed dried aji dulce pepper from Eckerton Hill Farm, a little local P.E. & D.D. Seafood Company sea salt, and a bit of whole black pepper, all having been first chopped together very finely then removed to a small bowl where just enough olive oil was added to form a paste [the ‘stuffed’ scallops not rolled around on a plate with a little more olive oil as the original recipe had specified and I had done in the past, so that this time there really were serious ‘grill’ marks], drained, pan grilled in an enameled cast iron pan for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side, removed to 2 dinner plates, finished with a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil
  • something like a salad of dressed red watercress from Max Creek Hatchery combined, as a last minute thought, chopped with one very ripe mahogany-colored heirloom tomato from Shushan Hydroponic that had been heated in olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and sprinkled with a few chopped leaves of an oregano plant, also from Shushan Farm, then sprinkled with some toasted fresh breadcrumbs remaining from an earlier meal
  • the wine was a French (Loire/Anjou and Saumur/Anjou) white, Anjou Blanc ‘Les Grandes Brosses’, Château de la Roulerie 2018, from Astor Wines
  • the music was an album that included Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8, Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Rimini overture, and Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Piano Concerto, in performances by the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin  



April 15

smoked scallops, sauced, wild dandelion; potatoes; tomato

I’m writing shorter posts here, at least for a while, since I had neglected publishing anything at all for weeks. I may later go back and resurrect a few of the more interesting meals that never made it in print here in February and March, but I’m making no promises to myself that I will take the time to do it.

This meal was unusual, not just because it involved smoked scallops (although these are not unfamiliar inside our kitchen), but because this time I had ‘cooked’ the bivalves (lightly) and served them with a bit of a sauce. In fact this was the second time I had done this, but the first time had been during the Food Blog ‘blackout’).

As always, almost every part of the meal came from local producers selling in the Union Square Greenmarket.

  • only about 9 ounces of smoked scallops from Pura Vida Seafood, warmed inside a heavy copper pot in a bitof utter, heated through, briefly, removed and kept warm, replaced by about 4 ounces of white wine, half an ounce of fresh lemon juice, a bit of chopped thyme, and a teaspoon of chopped garlic, the flame turned up and the liquid reduced until almost gone, 3 tablespoons of cold butter added, one at a time, and swirled in until melted, and just before the last one was introduced, some finely sliced green sections of spring garlic, and a bit of chopped peppermint mixed in, the scallops returned to the pan, tossed to coat, served immediately on a bed of wild baby dandelion, including some tight buds (they looked and crunched like fresh capers), the sauce spooned over them
  • a few Peter Wilcox potatoes, from Windfall Farms, boiled, halved, tossed with a little butter, garnished with chopped baby fennel fronds
  • two Italian heirloom tomatoes from Shushan Farm, halved, seasoned with salt, pepper, and a pinch of dried aji dulce pepper, heated in a little olive oil
  • the wine was a Basa Rueda blanco 2017, from North Village Wine
  • the music was  Beethoven’s 1st string quartet, and his 1st and 2nd piano sonatas, the quartet performed by the Miró Quartet, and the sonatas by Igor Levitt

smoked scallops, lettuces; thyme-grilled quail; pole beans

Once I got going with specialness, bringing home a super shellfish appetizer from the Greenmarket (where, incidentally, seafood always wild game, except for the delicious farmed trout from Dave Harris’s Max Creek Hatchery) the idea of a main course of grilled quail (delicious, but actually almost always ‘farmed game‘, when it comes to the experiences of most of us) seemed pretty natural.

The little birds didn’t come from our local Greenmarket this time, but they did arrive from our local Eataly, via our own little local home freezer.

  • six smoked scallops (a total of 7 ounces) from Pura Vida Seafood Company arranged on a shallow bed of lettuces, a combination of red leaf buttercrunch from Fledging Crow and some flat leaf red salanova lettuce from Lucky Dog Organic Farm, the greens dressed with a good Greek olive oil (Demi, from the Peloponnese, Laconia, Vellesa, a bit of Columela Rioja 30 Year Reserva sherry vinegar, some sea salt, from P.E. & D.D. Seafood, and freshly ground black pepper
  • slices of a 7-grain boule from Citarella
  • the wine with the scallops was a French (Savoie) white, Jean Perrier et Fils, Vin de Savoie Abymes Gastronomie 2018, from Flatiron Wines

The main course was almost as simple to assemble as the first, and equally delicious.

  • four partially-boned (a tweak that’s always a treat for cooks and diners) farmed quail, weighing just over one pound together, from Buon Italia in the Chelsea Market, rinsed, dried on paper towels, rubbed with sea salt and a judicious amount of crumbled dried Itria-Sirissi chili, pepperoncino di Sardegna intero, also from Buon Italia (I don’t remember now, over a week later, whether I also included any seasoning pepper), placed breast-side-down over medium-high flames on top of a heavy 2-burner seasoned cast iron ribbed pan, a number of sprigs of fresh thyme from Keith’s Farm scattered over each, grilled for about 5 minutes, then turned over and, ensuring that the thyme branches were now resting on top of the thyme, grilled for another 5 or 6 minutes, served on the plates with a squeeze of an organic California lemon form Chelsea Whole Foods Market, and a drizzle of olive oil
  • garnished with micro red kale from Windfall Farms

grilled scallops, scallion; boiled potato, thyme; kale, garlic

It was a straightforward version of my usual treatment of sea scallops, and the vegetables were also pretty simply cooked.

  • eighteen Hampton Bays sea scallops (14 ounces total) from American Seafood Company, rinsed, dried very thoroughly with paper towels then placed in a paper plate to prevent condensation, seasoned with local Long Island sea salt from P.E. & D.D. Seafood and freshly-ground black pepper, grilled briefly (90 seconds on each side) in a very hot enameled cast iron pan, finished with a squeeze of juice from a Whole Foods Market organic California lemon, and a drizzle of Greek olive oil, ‘Demi’, produced in Laconia, Velles, in the Peloponnese, purchased from John at the 23rd Street Greenmarket last summer, arranged on the plates with a sprinkling of micro scallion from Two Guys from Woodbridge of Windfall Farms
  • half a pound, maybe more, of scrubbed unpeeled Chieftain potatoes from Keith’s Farm, boiled, drained, dried inside the still-warm vintage Corning Pyrex Flameware blue-glass pot in which they had cooked, halved, rolled inside the pan with a little olive oil and one very finely chopped fresh Brazilian yellow wax pepper, further seasoned with salt and pepper, tossed with a little fresh thyme from Keith’s Farm
  • some Winterbor kale from Savoie Farm in the Union Square Greenmarket, the leaves stripped from their stems, washed in several changes of water, chopped roughly, wilted in a little with olive oil in which 2 garlic cloves from Chelsea’s 8th Avenue Foragers Market, flattened, then sliced in half, were allowed to heat until pungent, the greens seasoned with salt and a pinch or so of dried Itria-Sirissi chili, pepperoncino di Sardegna intero from Buon Italia, drizzled in the plates with fresh olive oil
  • the wine was a California (Dry Creek Valley/Sonoma) white, Ferrari-Carano 2018 Fumé Blanc from Philippe Wines
  • the music was Jordi Savall’s ‘Mare Nostrum’ (time to hear it again, since we’d last heard the recording in 2018), with music of the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish cultures which were in dialog across the Mediterranean from the middle ages into the early modern era

smoked scallops, greens; roast veal chops; potato; greens

I had put them together in this meal for other reasons, but the smoked scallops and the roasted veal seemed to somehow share a real affinity, something that was barely apparent to me until I was sitting down to the second of those courses last night.

  • six smoked scallops (a total of 8 ounces) from Pura Vida Seafood Company arranged on a shallow bed of greens (mesclun from Windfall Farms, along with red dandelion from Wilow Wisp Farm, and Radicchio Variegato di Castelfranco from Campo Rosso Farm) dressed with a good olive oil, a bit of Columela Rioja 30 Year Reserva sherry vinegar, local P.E. & D.D. Seafood sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper
  • slices of an enkir (aka einkorn, or farro piccolo) baguette from Eataly Flatiron (it’s an ancient grain that first appeared in the Middle East 12,000 years ago, here using Mulino Marino Organic Artisan Enkir Farro Flour)
  • the wine was a California (Clarksburg) white, Miriam Alexandra California Chenin Blanc 2018, from Naked Wines

I wanted to keep the main course more abbreviated, but, mostly for aesthetic reasons, I couldn’t resist including the 2 remaining red potatoes potatoes I had in the larder

  • two veal rib chops (12 ounces each) from Consider Bardwell Farm, seasoned with sea salt and black pepper, placed inside a ceramic oven pan to marinate for about a half hour in a mixture of one tablespoon of olive oil, the zest from more than one organic Whole Foods Market California lemon, one small chopped fresh habanada pepper from Alewife Farm, and one tablespoon of thyme leaves, removed from the oven pan then seared in a combination of 2 or 3 tablespoons of melted butter and one tablespoon of olive oil inside an oval enameled cast iron pan over a high flame until darkened, the chops removed, the fat discarded and the pan wiped with paper towels, the veal returned to the pan, another tablespoon, or a little  more, of butter over them, seasoned well, the pan placed inside a400º oven for 15 minutes or possibly a little more, until done, served with a salsa verde (whose assembly is described in the same volume, but I used parsley, winter savory, oregano, olive oil, garlic, capers, anchovy, Dijon mustard, and red wine vinegar)
  • two medium red potatoes from Willow Wisp Farm scrubbed, boiled unpeeled in generously-salted water until barely cooked through, drained, halved, dried in the still-warm small vintage Corning Pyrex Flameware blue-glass pot in which they had cooked, halved, mixed with a little Trader Joe’s house Portuguese olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and tossed with scissored fresh chives from Phillips Farms
  • some greens from an unidentified variety of turnip (they had been torn off and left on the farmers’ table by a customer) from Norwich Meadows Farm, washed in several changes of water, wilted in olive oil along with 4 small ‘Chesnok Red’ garlic from Alewife Farm which had been lightly-browned in the oil just before, seasoned, and drizzled with olive oil
  • the wine was an Italian (Campania) red, Mastro Aglianico Campania IGT Mastroberardino 2017, from Philippe Wines