Tag: Buon Italia

dinner, January 1, 2010


I had originally planned a slightly more extensive meal for New Year’s Day, one which would have begun with a terrific-looking and sounding terrine of game, pink peppercorns and ginger.  I had purchased it at the Dickson’s Farmstand Meats in Chelsea Market the same afternoon I picked up their rolled lamb belly, which was also the day I spotted the chartreuse holiday lights across the street from the Market.

As it happened, and with some irony, once I was back home I became engaged in writing the previous dinner post and wasn’t watching the clock.   I remembered to put the miniature roast into a medium oven, but before I knew it I realized there was only enough time to prepare the vegetables which were to accompany it.  We wouldn’t be sitting down to a first course.  We’ll have the terrine tonight instead.

With the exception of the Auslese and the espresso, last night’s meal was entirely French-inspired;   in fact I confess I was gently guided by Julia Child and her collaborators.

  • roasted boned and rolled lamb belly which had been painted hours before with a mix of dijon mustard, soy sauce, mashed garlic, ground cardamom and oil;   garnished with torn dandelion leaves originally intended to lie with the terrine; accompanied by Pommes de terre sautées au beurre, or potatoes sauteed in butter;  and Choux de Bruxelles étuvés au beurre, or Brussels sprouts braised in butter [the small white potatoes from Garden of Eden; the sprouts from Marlow & Daughters]*
  • espresso cafe

* although the image shown above is actually of an earlier purchase (December 16) from Van Houten Farms at the Union Square Greenmarket

dinner, October 27, 2009

I’ve always been fond of skate, and it probably has little to do with the fact that I’m surprised to learn over and over again just how much the taste is unlike that of most any other fish.   But it does, and it is.  Prepared along the lines of an old Mark Bittman posting in the New York Times, tonight’s entree both looked and tasted very little like fish and more like very light whipped potatoes dribbled with a delicate but complex brown sauce (gravy).   Bittman writes that halibut steaks and fillets, or most any other firm, white-fleshed fish will respond to the same treatment, “but the substitution is not perfect”.

Tonight it was perfect;  the fish was very fresh, the other ingredients in its preparation just about the best possible.

The accompaniments were mostly a matter of what looked good in the market (Manhattan Fruit), and although they seem to me now an odd choice, they worked very well together.  I think we were dining somewhere in Savoy/Savoie/Savoia/Savoyen.

Have you ever noticed how a skate wing, when stretched to its limit, looks exactly like the wing of a bird?  This afternoon was a first for me.

  • locally-caught skate fillet (one wing, expertly separated from the cartilage by the fish seller at Lobster Place inside Chelsea Market) quickly sauteed in a pan and removed, with butter and [Linden] honey added to the pan first, swirled briefly until browned, followed by some very large Lipari capers (Buon Italia, also in Chelsea Market) swirled into the pan, the thickened sauce then poured over the fish and the pan returned to the range where a few drops of Chardonnay vinegar were added, swirled and also poured over the fish, which was then garnished with some chopped parsley and lovage;   baked pommes frites  (medium red new potatoes);   sauteed cavolo nero (black cabbage)
  • wine:  Sauvignon Blanc, a white Loire (Chavignol), Petit Bourgeois 2008 from Henri Bourgeois