Essential Elements

One of my great joys at lunchtime is the ability to select great ingredients and to prepare them as a relaxed meal without time constraints. Today’s roster had three diverse elements:

  • Wellfleet oysters
  • leftover baked stuffed zucchini
  • a small head of cauliflower

As you can imagine, these three do not easily merge into a dish, so I treat them as independent mini-meals, with all of the best aspects of each on display. The idea is to prepare each one in a way which highlights the best flavor and texture of each element.

The oysters needed very little preparation, only a good brushing of the shells under running water. I just bought a dozen oysters from Sven Fish, and I decided to shuck 4 of them for my lunch. They were relatively small, fresh, and sweet-smelling. All they needed was a splash of lemon juice.

For the wine I was motivated to open the San Pietro Friulano from i Clivi, a delicious wine imported by Gianonni Selections.

The next section was provided by leftovers from last night’s dinner: remaining pieces of stuffed zucchini, based on a rich tomato sauce, homemade breadcrumbs, and plenty of Greek olive oil.

I cut up and ate one of those zucchini boats, and enjoyed the pimenton-flavored tomato sauce immensely.

Now it was time to deal with a small, partial head of cauliflower that needed attention very soon. It looked pale and flabby in the refrigerator, but I decided to steam it into an edible state immediately. I usually find cauliflower to be insipid, but there is a remedy for that when you are looking for “Essential Elements”. The answer included finely-chopped red serrano chili pepper, a few dashes of Red Boat Fish Sauce, and a smattering of TTantta bittersweet vinegar from the Basque region in Txakolina. The third chapter of this meal was as good as the first two.

And the wine was perfect for all three.

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