Looking north from Fire Island

Looking north from Fire Island
Continuing the cooking articles I write every summer

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sauteed Pork Filet in a Mosaic of Pita

My friend Andy got me to use dried pita bread to sub for bread crumbs. The advantage is it remains crunchy, while soaking up the delicious pan juices of oil, butter, herbs and meat juices. I let the pita dry, crush the pieces to smithereens, Instead of fine crumbs, I end up with tiny pieces of flat read. Click on the photo to see a close up of what I mean.

Pound a pork chop, or chicken breast in plastic wrap until really thin. Season and flour, dredge in beaten egg, then again in more flour, egg, and press the crumbs onto the meat. Press quite hard, even use a pl;astic bag, and let the meat rest a few minutes. I use my bare hands to do this, then rinse them afterward. It will be somewhat messy. Nothing beats hands as reliable kitchen tools.

Into a non stick skillet, some olive oil, an equal amount of butter, and some fresh rosemary and crumbled sage. Fry the meat, turning when the meat is done and the bread coating looks golden. Serve with lemon slices on the side.

So here's what makes it great: The bread forms a mosaic pattern on the meat, which is both tasty and crunchy. Very crunchy. That flavorful, buttery crunch adds a new dimension to the dish. The sage gives a sharp, exciting note to balance the meat. I urge you to try it. There are no rules, as long as you remain in touch with what you’re doing, and create something you like. Your own good instincts will guide you.

Remove the meat to a warm plate, finish the sauce in the pan with a few tablespoons of tarragon vinegar, and drizzle over the meat. Serve with slices of fresh lemon on the side.

Chicken Fried Steak with Coffee Gravy

This was inspired by a Texas classic I love. I learned the recipe calls for cubed beef, which is not cubes of beef, but steaks of tough, lean beef which have been run through a shredder to break up the muscle fiber. The shredder never got it tender enough for me, so my meat mallet had to do the rest. Noise and rattling utensils drove the dog out of the kitchen, but brought the cat. Once I got the meat as thin as I could, I hit it lightly and repeatedly along its entire length with the back of my chef's knife to further disguise its identity. A few minutes in a plate with buttermilk to further tenderize it. Now a double coating of flour, salt and black pepper. I also like a grating of fresh nutmeg.

Lay the steak into a non stick pan with hot corn oil, turn once, cook to medium rare, and remove to a warm plate. Pour off all but a tablespoon of oil. Add a TB of flour, stirring well. Add a cuppa coffee, some milk, salt, pepper, a teaspoon of good mustard, a few dashes of hot sauce, and whisk over a high fire until the sauce thickens. Use your instincts to get the consistency you like. The more you cook, the thicker it gets. If it's too thick, add some milk and whisk some more. It's a no-brainer.

Cover the bottom of a plate with the sauce, top with the steaks, garnish with a dab of mustard, and serve at once.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Braised Beef Short Ribs with Macaroni

Bone and trim the meat. Flour, salt, pepper, brown in oil, remove from pot. Some oil should remain in the pot.
Have ready: two thick carrots, scraped and cut in two inch lengths, two onions peeled, cut into sixths top to bottom. 7 peeled cloves of garlic. One green apple, cored, cut into eighths, then cut again in half to give sixteen pieces. A small can of Spanish tomato sauce, or two huge TB tomato paste. Four Fire Island Bay leaves, 1/2 Tsp thyme, a branch of rosemary, minced, one Tb beef concentrate, two big TB tamarind paste, 2 TB flour.

With the fire at medium, hopefully with some oil remaining in the pot, add the carrots, onions, garlic which you have crushed and sliced, cook for ten minutes, turning a few times. Then add the tomato product on a cleared off area of the pot. Cook the tomato and then add enough water to just cover everything. Add the beef concentrate, tamarind, bay leaves, rosemary, and thyme. Return the meat to the pot, bring to a covered simmer. No boiling. You don’t want to see more than a very few bubbles. Cook until the meat is almost tender. Add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes. Add the apples, and cook until the meat is done. When the meat is tender delish, boil up a pot of salted water for pasta. Don’t use noodles, but instead use a short hollow kind, like Barilla mezzi rigatoni.

Put two TB flour into a bowl, and add enough water to make a loose paste called a slurry. With the meat is at a low boil, add the slurry, bit by bit, not all at once, to thicken the gravy. It must come to a boil. Not too thick, please. Now lift the cooked al dente pasta from the boiling water, and add it to the braised beef. Stir, correct the seasoning, and add a few spoons of grated parmesan cheese. Finally, drizzle some EVOO on top, generously.

This is serious food that goes straight where you live. A big, fat, red wine from Sicily or South Africa is best.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Jamie's Mince Pie

You have to see this, at least to understand what I admire in the guy.


Here we see his "cheat" for the Christmas classic.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Succulent Beef Brisket

Beef brisket which has been cured in salt and spices is called corned beef. The name comes from the corn kernel size pieces of salt they used to use. Most of the time it's not corned. No matter, it is still one of the delicious cuts of beef. Texas BBQ is always beef brisket. Jewish cooking often uses this cut, as does Middle Eastern cookery. The meat is highly marbled with the rich kind of fat that melts in your mouth, giving a juicy quality to the meat. It rewards patience; it needs long, slow cooking to soften the collagen tissue, and melt the fat. Higher heat melts the collagen out of the meat, and you have a dry piece of brisket.

This time, I'm writing about the not-corned brisket. What I do is simple: Have ready a pile of carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, and peeled garlic. Slice the garlic, cut the veg's into hunky sized pieces. Into a heavy casserole you have heated to screaming hot, add a few glugs of oil, and sear the meat on all sides. remove the meat to a plate, and sear the vegetables. Now you add a few tablespoons of tomato paste, which you cook in the bottom of the pot. Stir to cook the tomato paste, add back the meat, and add stock or water to barely cover the meat. Lower the fire to the barest simmer, cover, and leave it alone. Go away. Turn it over after an hour. An hour later, a test with a chef's fork will tell you if it needs more cooking. Test the vegetables for doneness, and remove them to a plate when they appear tender. Remove the meat and vegetables to a dish and cover with foil.

I love cabbage; any excuse to have some, I go for it. At this point I can cut a savoy cabbage into eighths and plunk them into the pot. It adds time to the process, but to me it's totally worth it.

Skim the fat from the liquid, and taste for seasoning. Now, mix some flour with some of the cooled down liquid to make a slurry the consistency of thin pancake batter. Mix until no lumps exist. Add the slurry slowly to the simmering liquid, bit by bit, until the gravy is as thick as you want. Bring the sauce to the boil after each addition to let the flour do its job. How much will depend on your tastes, and the particular nature of the flour, which will vary.

Now that the meat has rested, slicing is next. Note the meat has a grain, like wood. The grain signifies the way the muscles lie, and the meat must be cut across the grain. If cut a you slice, and see the long grain, turn the meat over and slice from the other side. This guarantees you will be enjoying tender brisket and not chewing each bite for half an hour. It takes a bit of experimenting, but well, I'm confident you'll get it.

Serve the meat on a hot plate (the oven) with layers of gravy on top and underneath.

Roasted Root Veggies with Chicken Thighs

It always happens this way. My fridge had root vegetables, carrots, beets with their greens, and some butternut squash. I remembered a side dish I had at Spotted Pig. The roasted beets were near perfect but for being over peppered and over-salted. I also saw Jamie Oliver do something similar, but his way was more to my rustic tastes. Try this, and please vary it with other winter vegetables.

Wash, scrub very well, two times, a bunch of beets, greens attached. Scrape a few huge thick carrots using the back of your knife. I think peelers take away too much flavor. Peel a butternut squash, cut the carrots and squash into large, 1 ½ inch chunks. Preheat the oven to 425, moisten the all the vegs with olive oil. Sprinkle with coarse salt, black pepper and red chili flakes. Use your hands to toss everything around to coat them evenly. Now, into the oven they all go. After around half an hour, lower the temp to 325f. Test them for tenderness. The point of a chef’s fork should easily pierce the thickest part of one of the vegetables. If the rest seem overcooked, don’t worry, they’ll be delish. Click on the photo for a better view.

There were also a few skinless chicken thighs I wanted to deal with. Thighs rock, you can keep the white meat. I made a lateral slice on each thigh from the edge perpendicular to the bone, a slice from each side, he better to expose the meat to the marinade, and cook faster. I poured a cup and a half of buttermilk into a bowl, added a hefty amount of coarse salt, a shot of hot sauce, a quarter teaspoon of cayenne, a few grinds of ground pepper, ground nutmeg, and gave it a stir. I marinated the chicken in the buttermilk for two hours, turning them several times.

The idea of the extra salt was to brine the chicken. It gives chicken --and pork, a marvelous juicy taste. I set a nonstick pan on the range, and placed the chicken in the hot pan. Lots of water appeared when the buttermilk separated, which I poured off. Then into the oven went the pan to cook along with the veggies. I drizzled a few drops of oil on the chicken.

I can tell you the chicken was perfectly moist and flavorful, needing no frying oil or coating. Due to the caramelization of the natural sugars in the vegetables, they were sweet, even without any added sugar. The colors were Technicolor, the flavors real and intense. There was a bonus. The greens almost dissolved in my mouth, leaving only the flavor of the peppers and salt. It was an unusual experience, not unlike my first potato chip.

It was a guilt free, totally satisfying meal. I looked out the window to see snow falling on Greenwich Village for the first time this season. Wood fire smoke was rising from ancient chimneys perfuming the air with a nostalgic, small town scent, just like where I grew up in Massachussetts. A blue-tinted moon was shining through icy thin clouds. It felt good to be here, and to have this hearty dinner.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Eggs and Potatoes - a Hearty Brunch

Red skinned potatoes, poached eggs and Asiago cheese

Wash a few red 2” spuds, poke a few holes. Nuke them until a knife easily pierces, around four minutes at full power, turning once. Give each a sharp smack with something heavy, like the flat side of a wooden spoon. Heat up a cast iron pan to screaming hot, add a few TB of oil, lay in the spuds and break them up with a potato masher. Do not mash them too much; you want texture, pieces. Salt, pepper, chopped thyme, Adobo. Once they brown, turn them over to brown the other side. Salt makes points here.

Meanwhile, two eggs have already gone into a bowl of hot water to remove the chill. The best way I know to make perfect poached eggs that cook evenly and don’t stick to the pot: in a shallow pan, bring some water to a boil, add a few TB of plain vinegar and reduce the fire.

Arrange the hot potatoes in a nest on a warm plate. Grate some Asiago cheese on top of the potatoes. Be generous.

Carefully crack the eggs into the liquid from just above the surface. The point is to almost hold onto the egg while the bottom is in the water. let the bottom of the egg remain in the water for a few seconds before letting go of the rest of it. In half a minute, slide a spatula under the eggs to be sure they aren’t stuck to the pan. Tip the pan to keep the eggs submerged. Poach the whites, but leave the yolks on the soft side. Lift the eggs, slotted spoon, and arrange on top of the potatoes. Grate some more cheese and Spanish paprika on top.

To eat, break the yolks so they run into the potatoes. You’ll have those rich creamy yolks and those perfect potatoes, just ready to soak them up. Perfect. Ahhh.

If you like your eggs well done, go away, or bite the bullet and try these. You’ll thank me.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Brown Sugar

Brown sugar hardens because of evaporation. Instead of wrestling with it in the microwave, or placing apple slices in the jar, just add a teaspoon of molasses to a cup of white sugar in your recipes. It works.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Gia Russa Pumpkin Gnocchi

Thanks to my friend Chef David Ledu, I tried a pound of Gia Russa whole wheat Gnocchi made with pumpkin flour. Damn, it was good.
In a wide pan 2Tb EVOO, saute around a quarter cup of shallots, a few flakes of red chili pepper, and a whisper of fresh grated nutmeg. Then add half cup of white wine, half a chicken bouillon cube, a teaspoon of chopped fresh tarragon, a glug of balsamic vinegar, a grind of black pepper, and some heavy cream. Taste all the while. You do NOT want the vinegar to dominate. It should be mild, with the pumpkin, the excellent pasta, and the cream being the taste you are more aware of. Too much vinegar and you overwhelm everything else, as I did once when I drank too much wine and got cocky.

By now you should have a pot of boiling salted water going. Add the gnocchi, stir well, and when they rise to the top and remain there for half a minute, lift them out and drop them directly onto the prepared sauce. Toss, remove from the fire, and sprinkle with grated Romano cheese. If you only have Parmesan, that's fine. A few more sprinkles of fresh tarragon please.

This is one pasta your taste buds tell you to wolf down, but you shouldn't. Force yourself to eat this slowly, allow yourself to savor the layers of flavor flowing across your palate. The pasta should be chewy, but soft as well. Great pasta has this quality. The beauty of this gnocchi is the way it satisfies, yet leaves you hungry at the same time. I'd drink a fruity red with this.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Better Chicken Than The Kernel's

Most cooks like to put flavor on their chicken, but this technique puts it in the meat where it belongs. Throw out those injector syringes; they’re useless. I made some beautiful grilled chicken last night. It was juicy, tender, and flavorful throughout, not just the outside. Read on.

Since the chicken parts were large, I cut them in half. The thighs across the bone, which needed a cleaver and a mallet. Skinned them too. The breasts were cut in half but skin left on, bones on. Don’t ever bother with skinned and boned chicken. Always cook the meat on the bone for real chicken taste.

The small pieces gave better, faster, more even cooking, more grill flavor on the outside, and were easy to eat with the hands. Careful watching, rotation, and cooking only to the point of just done. Remember meat continues to cook after you take it off the fire.

Then I did two things. I salted the meat using kosher salt, letting it sit for a few hours in the fridge. Sprinkled generously but not buried in salt. Then I marinated it with crushed garlic, oil, and ground black pepper.

Brought up to room temperature, and ready for the grill, it got more oil, and a shower of ground black pepper, and allspice 4:1 . Also a shake of Adobo seasoning. The grill was on low instead of high, letting the meat take its time. Nasty flare ups were at a minimum thanks to the lower fire.

My crappy grill has cool and hot spots. The meat had to be moved around almost constantly. When I saw April grill like that and taste the results, I was sold.

The salt marinade gave the inside of the meat a wonderful, rich flavor. PS, it’s how kosher chicken tastes.

Forgot to mention this is much better the next day, perfect for picnics, etc; don’t try to eat it with utensils. Hands rule here.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Deep Dish Me Apple Pie

Easy as Pie
It is easy, no kiddin’. No one says you have to make your own crust. Buy it, or use bought puff pastry instead. No shame in that, it's the fruit we're after anyway, right? Right now the season offers us apples, peaches if we’re lucky, plums (mmmhhh), blueberries, whatever fruit you like. The filling is a question of how much juice (water) the fruit has, how sweet, and how long it takes to cook it.
Since a deep dish apple pie is my personal killer drug, I’ll focus on that, but the principles are the same for all fruits. Peel core and cut up 9 large granny apples. Each piece should be half of a quarter, or an eighth. Sprinkle the apples with the juice of a lemon, BUT before you squeeze it, take the zest off and mix that into the apples. You will need sugar, and ground cinnamon. A tablespoon of cinnamon, and four of sugar. A pinch of salt, and some nutmeg. Taste an apple slice and correct the sweetness to your taste. I never made a pie with Splenda (ugh), but some have and swear they can't tell the difference. I pity them, and don't say a word.
Mix around a tablespoon of sugar with a tablespoon of flour. Sprinkle over the apples and toss to distribute. The flour will keep the fruit from running out.
If you are using your own pie dish, Pam spray it. Dump all the apples into the pie crust, and cover with the rest of the dough. Cut a vent hole in the top, and place it in a preheated 375f oven. In ten minutes lower the temperature to 350f and bake for around an hour. When you see bubbles, you know it’s about ready. Check out the photo. There's also an egg wash on top and sugar sprinkled on it. Easy to do, but your pie will be wonderful even if you skip these steps, you lazy thing.
And as much as you want to dive in, leave it at room temp for about an hour to let the juices and spices set. Even though it may be out of the oven, it's still cooking. Know what? It's even better the next day, but don't wait. Cheers!

Septober - Beach Plums

Septober – The Bestest Season
"Ya gotta take the bitter with the sweet. Anyone who knows good cookin' knows that." September, the most perfect month of my Fire Island year, still has its down side. I don't mean the hurricanes, they're Nature; they put me in the right perspective, remind me I'm just a puny creature. The season is again drawing to another end, as always too soon. Renters leave in droves, then the birds, the skies get more blue, whites whiter, sunsets get gloriously fire red. Soon I will pack up my little household of me, dog and cat, and hibernate in Manhattan until spring. It's here we live. My herb garden looks tired for lack of sun. This is the best time to harvest all those herbs and dry them for winter use. What can make a winter meal as nice as knowing you grew the herbs last summer?
I spent this perfect afternoon at the home of my friend Mary Cole. Our conversation drifted from food to the changes the island is undergoing. She cares that folks here want to bring the city here. Despite the rush to crush every vestige of it, this is still a magic wilderness fighting for its life against the ravages of folks marching under the false flags of Change and Progress. Those of us who are here because we love this aspect of Fire Island are blessed. We are islanders, and proud of it.
Cooking on Fire Island liberated me from so many rules I thought I needed to follow. I no longer fear making a mistake; I'm human. I never measured a thing except for baking cakes. If I goof, how bad can it be? My dog Blondie will eat everything I make, and she's a tough judge. I've earned the title of Master Chef, but I've never been able to cook exactly the same dish twice. Ever. Where's the excitement in that?
Despite my neighbors' fancy Wolf ranges, my crude thirty year old kitchen serves me well for anything you can conjure. Equipment doesn't matter--at least not in the kitchen. :-) Cooking and eating here under a sky, the sounds of surf and crickets in the background make preparing and eating food here an unparalleled experience. My hope is that my scribblings will encourage you to take bigger steps and try different ways of cooking. Be the individual you are, the person who embraces a place like Fire Island.
My neighbors are harvesting clams, conch, blue crabs, beach plums, and berries, or fishing on the beach for Blues, Wild Striped Bass, and Weakfish. There's more. The list of the bountiful edibles the island yields to us proves we can truly live off the land. That is, until Man destroys this precious, fragile ecology as he has so many others. We approach the time of harvest. We owe ourselves the joy of experiencing our island's bounty. If you make salads, and have fresh herbs, use more of them, just to give you the idea of how much they enhance everything. You only need coarse salt, fresh ground pepper, a drizzle of red vinegar and some EVOO to make the best salad dressing that never needed a bottle. As you eat, the herbs mini-explode flavors on your palate like summer fireworks. Ranch dressing is for kids who hate lettuce. . This is the best time to pick your fresh herbs and dry them on a rack so you can store them in jars back in town. You can also make herb vinegars, hey, Christmas gifts.
If you find yourself overstocked with tomatoes, can them; it's so easy. Choose good ripe tomatoes, skin them in boiling water for half a minute, and push the skinned fruit tightly into sterilized Ball jars, almost to the top. Add a pinch of salt, and a few fresh basil leaves, and a drizzle of EVOO. Cover not too tightly and set the jars into a large kettle to process them for an hour. This means cover with boiling water. Very carefully lift out the jars, tighten the lids, and set on a kitchen towel to cool. When you jar the lids pop, they are sealed and safe for future use. In case the lids don't pop, store the tomatoes in the fridge and make sauce, which you can freeze.
My freezer is filled with rhubarb, basil puree, wild berries. The local strawberries have a fragrance nothing in the whole world can match. They freeze well with some sugar to draw some of the juice. We have till next year to prepare. I'll thaw them this December and serve them on vanilla ice cream. Killer. Skillet cooked pork chops with some of the rhubarb puree mixed into the juices at the end make a good meal memorable.
The bay is now well stocked with clams and Blue crabs, but there are those pesky whelts (spiral conch shells); they eat the clams. The Italians call them scungilli, they are delicious. Eat the enemy. Scungilli Alla Sorrentina: 2 lb Fresh scungilli or conch, 1 Wine cork, 2 TB Vinegar, 4 TB Extra-virgin olive oil, 1 med red onion chopped 1/4" dice, 2 TB fresh thyme leaves, 1 yellow bell pepper stemmed, seeded, chopped 1/4" dice, red is fine, too, 1 cup dry white wine, 3 Italian Roma tomatoes chopped 1/4" dice to yield 3/4 cup, S&P to taste. Place scungilli in a pot and cover with water. Add a wine cork and 2 tablespoons vinegar and gently boil 1 hour until tender. Drain and cool. Remove from the shell, cut off the thin shell-like part. Slice into 1/4-inch rounds and set aside. I have no Earthly idea what the cork is for, but the Italians always do it. In a tall sauce pan (6- to 8-quarts), heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, thyme leaves and bell pepper and cook until softened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add white wine, tomato pieces and scungilli and bring to a low boil. Lower heat to simmer and cook 15 min. Season with salt and pepper, serve in shallow bowls with lemon wedges.
Last summer for the first time I picked beach plums, expertly guided by my friend Gary Sullivan, the Euell Gibbons of our island. We didn't just pick, we cooked and preserved. Gary made jelly, I made jam which for me was easier and has more fruit flavor. The hard part was calculating the mysterious formulation of pectin, sugar, and acid. I think my jam was hit or miss, but it worked the same way that I make soup. Taste as I go. Add a little here, balance there, go slowly, a bit at a time, taste often and pray that I don't have to feed it to the dog. I got lucky. That jam lasted in the fridge for almost one year, and still has the same complex, exciting fragrance and taste of those plums. I'm thinking fine wine. Nothing I ever bought in a store even comes close. And the sweet joy of knowing I made it, well, wow.
The Beach Plums grow in sunny places. The dunes are best, but watch out for the cops. They will write you up just for foraging for food. Bring a bucket. Pick as many as you can, the darker purple ones are best, but also use some greenish ones; they have the pectin we need for jelling. Wash the fruit, pick over it and throw away any that are soft or partly rotted. Now the pits need to be removed, so call a few friends to help this go quickly. Just like pitting an olive, give a sharp smack to the fruit. The broken flesh lets the pit slip right out.
Use a food processor to coarsely chop up the fruit, and mix it with an equal amount of sugar. Place it in a heavy non reactive pot and slowly bring it to a low boil. Pulverize a few cloves, and some cinnamon. if you like, or not. Not so much that you can discern what it is, add them to the pot. My advice is follow the instructions on the pectin package, but never add the pectin to the hot liquid. Lumps. There are powders, liquids, and one where you have two powdered thickeners. Boil one with the fruit, then add the calcium to the pot to instantly thicken the jam. Often they tell you to use so much sugar your teeth ache, remember you can cut back a bit. Trust your taste. That's our golden rule. My way of testing is a teaspoon onto a plate, and leave it in the fridge for a few minutes. Check it, and if it's right you'll know. If not, it might want more thickening. You will need jars. Ball jars are excellent. They come in 6 ounce sizes, and have those special lids that hold a vacuum. A canning rack, a huge pot, and a jar holder so you don't scald yourself while canning are required. I bought some online, and the pectin at Stop n Shop, or at All Star in Sayville. Everything you use in canning food must be spotless and sterilized by boiling. Lay a clean towel on your table, using tongs, hold your jars under the boiling water for a minute, and invert on the towel to dry off. Lids too.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


My name is Michael. I've been writing a cooking column in the Fire Island News for over seven years.
My home is Fire Island Pines, which has transformed me into an Islander. I feel blessed.
I hope this blog will continue my column beyond the summer months.
I welcome comments and exchanges.

Grilled Marinated Whole Fish

Four perfect silver skinned fish showed up in my outdoor fridge last night. Fat, slimy fresh, red gills, proof of freshness, but no note. No matter; I knew Jason left them. He loves to go fishing, and dropped off some of his catch for me. He did some carpentry and electricasl work for me, but we became friends. You know right away when you click with somebody. Guys like him are rare.
But how to cook ‘em? First they had to be scaled. I forgot how messy a job that is, how many scales a small fish can have. The scaling and rinsing done over a strainer in the kitchen sink made it easy to dispatch them. You need to massage the fish to be sure they are all clean.
I wanted to keep things simple, let the fish take center stage, and let the cook--that's me, get out of the way. You really have to trust your ingredients--and yourself, to do that.
I have herbs growing all over the place here. Wild bay, rosemary, thyme, lavender, basil and mint. There are many others but just these were going into the fish. After peeling a few inches of lemon zest, I chopped up a few cloves of garlic, the herbs (thyme, rosemary, basil, mint, lavender, bay leaves), sea salt, olive oil, a generous amount of chopped parsley, and made a paste of them. I cut three gashes in the sides of each fish, stuffing the herb paste into each cut. Then they got a chance to rest while I roasted some corn. This month’s corn here has been sweeter than I ever remembered. Butter and salt only. Period.
Looking back I know I had the fire too high. The skin stuck to the grill in places, nevertheless the fish emerged perfectly moist, delicious. There were flavorful crispy parts I’d usually throw out but they tasted too good. Next time more oil on the fish, and the grill. I did oil the grill, but perhaps not enough. A lower fire would give me more control. I hope it will also produce that crispy, tasty skin. So much food, too much food. I decided to keep some for tomorrow, and made a marinade with sea salt, pepper, EVOO. lemon juice, red wine vinegar. I added some more bruised bay leaves. I gave it a mix around, and poured it over the fish. Next day friend Gary Sullivan pays a visit. We're both hungry. So out of the fridge, I nuked them on LOW power, very slightly warmed, and served them. Like kids, we ate them with our hands. Total perfection. Bliss.