Oh so good.
On my way home from the Greenmarket with these Cephalopoda on Wednesday I thought about how many people think of squid only as an appetizer, usually batter-coated and deep-fried, which can be awesome, but that we almost always enjoy them at home as the special main event I think their goodness deserves.
- one pound of rinsed and carefully dried baby squid from American Seafood Company, quickly arranged inside a large rectangular enameled cast iron pan that had been heated on top of the stove until hot and its the cooking surface brushed with olive oil, and once the oil itself was quite hot, immediately sprinkled with a heaping teaspoon of super-pungent dried Sicilian oregano from Buon Italia, a good section of a peperoncino Calabresi secchia from Buon Italia, and a section of light-colored home-dried habanada pepper (purchased fresh from Norwich Meadows Farm), sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, followed by 3 tablespoons of juice from an organic Chelsea Whole Foods lemon, and a splash of olive oil, the pan placed inside a pre-heated 400º oven and the squid roasted for just less than 5 minutes, by which time their little bodies had ballooned, then removed, the squid distributed onto 2 plates and ladled with the cooking juices, once they’d been transferred to a footed glass sauce boat
- seven or eight ounces of loose spinach from Tamarack Hollow Farm washed in several changes of water, drained, very gently wilted (that is, not reduced too far) inside a large, heavy, antique high-sided tin-lined copper pot in a little olive oil in which 3 quartered cloves of ‘music garlic’ from Windfall Farms had first been allowed to sweat, the spinach seasoned with salt, pepper, and a little dried peperoncino, finished on the plates with a little more olive oil
- slices of ‘table bread’ from Philadelphia’s Lost Bread Co
There was a cheese course, at least partly as a reward for my success in getting dinner started earlier than usual.
- two cheeses, a semi-firm Riverine Ranch water buffalo ‘farm stand cheese’, and a “mammuth’ goat milk cheese (camembert style) from Ardith Mae, with a little roughly pounded black pepper and some Maldon salt on the plate
- more slices of Lost Bread’s ‘table bread’
- the wine throughout the meal was a Portuguese (Barraida) white, Sidonio de Sousa Reserva Branco 2016 (an equal blend of Bical [pictured above, in their own vineyard] and Cercial, with around 5% of Maria Gomes, unoaked), from Foragers Market Wine
- the music throughout the meal was one of the most beautiful works, probably the most beautiful piece by Louis Andriessen I’ve ever heard, his stagework, ‘Theatre of the World‘, recorded live in 2016 by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, with conductor Reinbert de Leeuw and director Pierre Audi, and we didn’t even have access to the spectacular images that should accompany it (and unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be a DVD available)
[the image of the bical grapes is from this 2018 Eric Azimov New York Times article; the image from the Los Angeles Philharmonic fully staged world premiere of Andriessen’s ‘Theatre of the World’ from the blog, Louis Andriessen]