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Entries in tomatoes (2)

Tuesday
Oct272009

Dell'Anima, NYC 

Where: Restaurant Dell’Anima, NY, NY
What: Found the restaurant on Yelp on a random Tuesday night, had to give it a try.

Sliced veal with farro, corn and cherry tomatoesThis Search took me out to dinner in NYC. I go out to dinner a lot, but I am so often disappointed by average, overpriced food. I cannot tell you how many meals I have had in NYC that are just not worth it. Restaurants are very expensive, and if I go to a place charging $25.00-$30.00 for a main course, I want to be impressed. I would say most of the time, I am not. But I am never deterred! I am determined to find great places in NYC, well worth the money. So when I found Dell’Anima on Yelp (never been there? Check out www.yelp.com. GREAT foodie resource), I had my doubts despite the great reviews. I was not disappointed.

After a 20 minute wait, we were seated outside on the sidewalk in a small table for two. The table was a little crooked from the sloped sidewalk and it was totally charming. I felt like I was in Italy.

We started with a Bruschetta served with a Broccoli Rabe Pesto. And a glass of a nice, drinkable Rosé wine (don’t remember the name). It was all very tasty. Then we ordered a good bottle of red wine: La Villerina Secca, 2006.

I debated for some time whether or not to get a pasta dish. I try to limit my carbs when I can, cause I’m not exactly getting any younger (or thinner). But there it was on the menu. One of my favorite things to eat, ever: Sea Urchin.

I will dedicate a post to Sea Urchin at some later date. For now, suffice it to say that if something has sea urchin on the menu, I am ordering it. And tonight was no exception. Within 20 minutes, a plate of Homemade Linguini with Cherry Tomatoes, Mint, Chilies and Sea Urchin was placed before me. I know this isn't a great picture, but forgive me. It's hard to take night food photos. Anyway, trust me, it was glorious.
Sea Urchin pasta with chilies and mint.The sauce tasted bright from the mint and a little bit spicy from the chilies. And the creamy, impossibly oceanic and foie-gras-y Sea Urchin coated each strand of pasta in a way that butter never could. It was…Amazing.

But the rest of the meal was also extraordinary. Matt had Trenette pasta with fingerling potatoes, basil pesto and green beans. We shared an Heirloom tomato dish with Shaved fennel and Summer Beans. And then a stunning sliced Veal Loin with Fresh Corn, Nutty and cheesy Farro, Sorrel and Pickled Cherry Tomatoes. For dessert, Almond Cake with Sea Salt Ice Cream. Need I say more?

This restaurant is AWESOME. Go there. You won’t regret it.

Lovely almond cake dessert, eaten on a charming NYC sidewalk

Monday
Aug312009

Fishing for Blues in Montauk

What: Fishing For Blue Fish in Montauk
Where: Montauk, NY
Me and my fishies

This Search took me to a large fishing boat in Montauk, Long Island. The Viking Starship (http://www.vikingfleet.com/). We were supposed to be fishing out in the open sea, but Hurricane Bill had turned the ocean into a total crazy mess of giant waves. We ended up motoring around Block Island Sound; much calmer, but also much more limited in terms of fish diversity. We would be fishing primarily for Bluefish.

Now, I know a lot of people who hate Bluefish. It is frequently described as oily and unbearably fishy. In fact, these haters of Bluefish are so vehement in their dislike of this tragically misunderstood fish, that I have avoided it at all costs. Why eat Bluefish when I could have delicate Snapper or meaty Tuna? Why would I want my fish to taste like...fish?

The truth is, sometimes it is nice to have a fish that's got a little more punch to it. A fish that reminds you of the waters it came from. In the case of the Bluefish we caught, cooked and ate for this post, one could never have described it as tasting fishy. It was as fresh as the sea, clean and briny with a real depth and sophistication to it. It wasn't oily, rather, but moist and meaty. Both delicate and aggressive in flavor and texture. It was Delicious.

Close up of Mr. Blue

But let's back up a little here to the actual fishing expedition. I'm one of those cooks who, though I like to know where my food comes from, I don't like to necessary see it in its living state. I've never gone hunting, and I've only been fishing once, many years ago, and we thankfully didn't catch a thing. As I boarded the Starship at 8am on that fateful Sunday morning, I tried to mentally prepare myself for catching an innocent fish from the ocean and watching it suffocate to death. I was very nervous.

We baited our hooks with very stinky, sticky strips of clam (do fish eat clams?). And then we dropped the lines.

And we waited.

And waited.

I guess fishing is all about waiting. I kept peering into the water, waiting for my victim to appear. But nothing happened.

We moved around the Sound for about an hour, in hot pursuit of our catch. And finally, at our fourth spot, someone at the other end of the boat cried: "FISH!". It was thrilling. And sure enough, after about 2 minutes of tugging and reeling and whatever else you do when "fishing", a large silver fish, about a foot long, appeared. "It's a Bluefish!" The lucky guy exclaimed.

5 more Bluefish were caught, none by me. I was secretly very happy about this.

We took home two big ones for dinner (thankfully cleaned and gutted for us).

 Matt preparing the grill for the ill-fated fishiesI was pretty excited to cook the fish. It was so fresh, with shiny, clear eyes and bright, blood red gills. I stuffed the fish with lemons, parsley and basil and smeared it with olive oil and a hearty dose of salt and pepper. We grilled it over a charcoal fire, for about 8 minutes on each side till the skin was charred and the reddish blue flesh had turned white. (See recipe)

Because I was so afraid of the Bluefish being offensively fishy, I whipped up a quick, pungent sauce of chopped beefsteak tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, basil, vinegar and lemon juice. The sauce worked well with the fish, but it really was not necessary. The fish stood on it's own. As fresh and pure and tasty as a fish can be.

I learned a Delicious lesson while fishing for Blues. You gotta try everything, at least once, even if people tell you something is not worth trying. It would've been terrible for me to have missed out on such a lovely fish, just cause it had a bad rap. Be an adventerous eater! It is essential to your own Search.


Two fishies on a grill...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Finished Blues, ready to be enjoyed