Tag: lovage

Portuguese pork, wax beans 09/26/10

We may have thought a bit more than usual in choosing an appropriate wine for this meal.  An Alentejo would have been appropriate, and probably super, but we didn’t have a Portuguese red in our rack.  We ended up opening this Crianza from Bierzo, an area of Spain just 50 miles north and east of its Iberian neighbor, although I think we chose it mostly because, having had it before, we knew it was very good.

Also, the pairing of the rich, peppery pork and the faintly-crunchy wax beans, which were rendered even sweeter by my serendipitous addition of the ground cherries and lovage I had on hand, was a match made in heaven, if not actually in either Portugal or Spain.

  • Roberto grissini, spicy red radishes from the Greenmarket
  • Portuguese-style cheese-stuffed pork tenderloin, here meaning a tenderloin purchased from Eataly and prepared according to a recipe in David Leite’s beautiful and scrumptious “The New Portuguese Table“, where the small loin is stuffed with grated Parmesan cheese, coated in a classic “Amped-up Red Pepper Paste” (with a few substitutions), left to marinate in the refrigerator for six hours, browned in duck fat ten minutes or so, and roasted in the oven for ten more, finished with a sauce made by deglazing the browning pan with white wine and some good beef stock (as well as a dollop of duck demi-glaze, left over from the same recent meal from which the duck fat was salvaged) the liquid then reduced, and finished with a generous garnish of chopped Titan parsley (Italian-type, but dark-green and more bushy-looking, with leaves slightly curled on the edges), from the Greenmarket’s adventurous Paffenroth Gardens; accompanied by par-boiled wax beans briefly reheated in oil and then tossed with halved ground cherries and shredded lovage leaves (the beans and “cherries” from Berried Treasures Farm, the lovage from another farmer, both stalls in the Greenmarket);  and slices of a very sturdy ciabatta, made with unbleached whole-grain wheat flower, bread from Bobolink Dairy, also in the Greenmarket (the bread is from their brand-new oven)
  • wine:  Spanish, Leon, Flavium Crianza Bierzo 2006, from from Phillipe Wine
  • (because we had neither Aguardente nor Bagaço, yet some kind of “digestivo” seemed like a very appropriate followup to this course) grappa, here a golden form (aged 12 months in French oak), Grappa Velia, from Mastroberardino, a surprising survivor from a trip we made to Naples too many years ago

tuna, turkish eggplant, grilled 9/23/10

  • red radishes, grissini
  • tuna steak from Citarella, covered on both sides with a mixture of crushed fennel seed, garlic and oil, seasoned, then briefly pan-grilled, and finished with drops of oil and lemon juice; accompanied by colorful Turkish eggplants, from Keith’s Farm in the Greenmarket (note:  I haven’t been able to locate anything that looks like these beauties on line), which had been halved, scored and brushed with a mixture of oil, garlic, shiso, and lovage (the garlic, shiso and lovage used in this meal all came from the Greenmarket), seasoned, then also pan-grilled
  • wine:  California, Parducci Pinot Noir 2008, Mendocino
  • green figs from Eataly, served with a bit of balsamic vinegar

mussels with tomatoes, lovage 8/30/10

Yes, it really was hot, both inside the apartment and out, but assembling this simple meal didn’t add anything to the temperature of the kitchen last night (the thermometer was already showing 86 degrees at 10 o’clock, but it didn’t register any higher after I was done cooking).

The flame under the covered pot was on for only about two or three minutes, so little of the heat it generated escaped into the room.   Also, we had two efficient fans in the dining area near the window, so within only a few minutes after I had thrown everything into a large enameled cast-iron pot we were able to enjoy a perfect late-summer supper.

When we had finished this course I realized we had still had some wine (we must have been really busy with the bivalves), so I brought out a sampling of some excellent light cheeses.  We followed that small course with some luscious plums.

By the way, while I’ve had a lot of shellfish casualties in the past, there were almost none this time:   Of the two pounds I started with, not one mussel was lost after making it into the pot (although three, which had already opened, had been rejected while I was cleaning them).   O Canada!

I want to say one more thing about this meal:  I’m crazy about lovage.   I have to restrain myself, or I’d probably try to introduce this herb into at least half of the things I put together.  This time however the recipe, by Jerry Traunfeld (which I found in a piece by Sara Dickerman in the Times Magazine four years ago), already called for it.

  • small mussels (farmed in Canada, somewhere in the Maritimes) from Citarella, steamed with a third of a cup of dry Vermouth, a little butter, 2 cups of diced “Black” (mahogany-brown) heirloom tomatoes from Bill Maxwell’s farm, ground pepper, chopped shallots, and generous amounts of lovage, also from Maxwell’s;  served with crusty long (Italian?) bread from Citarella
  • cheese:  from the Greenmarket, two wonderful soft-ripened goat types, “bigelo” and “doolan”, from Ardith Mae in Hallstead, Pennsylvania
  • wine:  Tuscan, San Quirico Venaccia di San Gimignano 2008, from Appellation Wines
  • three varieties of ripe plums from New Jersey’s  Tree-Licious orchards, picked up in the Greenmarket three days before