Veal and pork meatballs with fregula and herb broth, inspired by a dish Mike had at Marlow and Sons a couple months back.
This was quite the fun- (and food-) filled weekend for us. We kicked things off with some fun cocktails made with St. Germain elderflower liqueur, and later dined on smoky, crispy soft-shell crab “BLTs” – I sandwiched the crabs between thick-slices of pancetta, and we grilled them over high heat until they were crispy all over. I spread slices of Bread Alone’s wholegrain sourdough with a garlic scape mayo, laid slices of ripe tomato on top, added the pancetta-wrapped crabs and finished each sandwich with a handful of wild arugula to add a nice peppery bite.
We picked up some grass-fed flatiron steaks from Elk Trails while on our regular Saturday food safari, which Mike grilled up for dinner that night. I made a crunchy chopped salad with red butter lettuce, chopped heirloom tomatoes and blue cheese vinaigrette, and I topped our steaks with a pile of onion rings – thin slices of red onion which I had salted and marinated with a tablespoon or two of Sriracha, then tossed lightly with flour and fried briefly until crisp.
I also spent some time on Saturday assembling items for a picnic lunch – we had plans to head to Central Park on Sunday to catch a Summerfest show and would need to get there early, so I wanted our stuff to be ready to go. Mike brought home a loaf of crusty sourdough which I sliced lengthwise and hollowed out. Rather than layering the ingredients as is traditional, I mashed few anchovies into a basic sherry-Dijon vinaigrette and tossed my chopped olives, tomatoes, and capers with that. I mounded it into the hollowed-out bottom bread shell, layered roasted red peppers and arugula on top, added the top of the bread and wrapped it tightly in plastic wrap and foil.
I also put together a pesto of garlic scapes, parsley and chervil to toss with rotini pasta and halved cherry tomatoes. When Sunday came, we grabbed our picnic blanket, packed up our sandwich and pasta salad as well as a lovely little wheel of Capriola cheese from Saxelby Cheesemongers, and set out for the park. The music was great, the food was tasty, and the weather was absolutely gorgeous – what a perfect way to wind down the first weekend of summer.
I was absolutely delighted to get Mike’s email yesterday morning detailing his Greenmarket haul: “CHERVIL, cherry tomatoes, rainbow trout, garlic scapes, snap peas, shell peas” it read, and I knew immediately what I wanted to do with the bulk of it. I was home from work yesterday and had spent some time in the afternoon cleaning and blanching the peas and favas we had left over from Monday’s shopping, so I was already halfway there.
My thought was that I would slice up some baby fennel bulbs we had in the fridge and sauté them with some of the garlic scapes Mike brought home, and then add a splash of white vermouth, some lemon juice, a pinch of salt and the peas and favas. I’d stuff some chervil inside each of the trout, and chop a bit more of the chervil up along with tarragon, chives and parsley from our garden to finish the veggies.
Mike grilled the trout over indirect heat for about 5 minutes per side, and the veggies took just a few minutes to sauté. I stirred in the fines herbes off the heat just before I plated the veggies up, and then placed a whole trout on top. The rich flavor of the trout was a lovely match for the tender, aromatic veggie/herb blend.
A note about the trout: We get our trout from Max Creek Hatchery at the Union Square Greenmarket, and when Mike was there Wednesday morning, Dave Harris, the owner, told him that the only fresh trout he had available was his farmed rainbow trout because he had lost 600 brook trout to mink this week. This is obviously a big dent in his livelihood, so if you’re a fan of trout or would like to give it a try, please go see Dave at the Greenmarket next Wednesday and buy some of his excellent fresh or smoked trout.