There are days when I feel like a pinball ricocheting around the city. Today was one of those days.
I started with some early morning emailing from home before dropping my compost off and hopping the B train for an emergency visit to the endotontist in Gramercy. (Friday’s root canal seems to have set off a painful chain reaction.) Armed with a little less tooth and a lot more ibuprofen, I made my way across town in search of Wifi. I spent lunch catching up on emails, mapping an outline for a talk, and chewing with a great deal of care.
Then it was an hour uptown to Teachers College. The 1 train was mercifully uncrowded, so I was able to use the time to put the finishing touches on a paper. It was my last Nutritional Ecology class. While I’m looking forward to a little pleasure reading, I will truly miss the opportunity to study with Joan Dye Gussow, who the New York Times dubbed the “matriarch of the eat-locally-think-globally food movement.” (Please, nobody tell Joan that, for the past semester, my Wednesday lunches have consisted of a boxed sandwich wolfed down on the train while rushing to her class.) Afterwards, I descended Morningside Park’s many steps to meet a donor for a drink and some more food talk.
Another hour on the B train and I was back home in Brooklyn and deserving of a treat. I walked into Mermaid’s Garden just before closing and secured a pound of monkfish, which I thought would hold up well against the red cabbage left from last month’s CSA share. I’d never made monkfish before, but the lovely guy behind the counter assured me that it was almost impossible to overcook. We agreed that I would aim for a quick pan sear and then finish it off in the oven.
Roasted Monkfish with Braised Red Cabbage
- 1 ounce smoked hog jowl (or bacon), cubed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 red onion, sliced pole to pole
- 1/2 head red cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (about 8 whole berries)
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup apple cider that you tragically failed to drink before it started to turn
- salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 450. Bring a large skillet up to medium heat with the pork and olive oil. When the pork is rendered but not yet crispy, add the onion and cook until soft and browned around the edges. Add the cabbage, allspice, red pepper and a healthy dose of salt and pepper. Cook stirring regularly until the cabbage is wilted. Add the cider and vinegar, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and put a lid on it. Continue cooking, stirring every so often, while you turn your attention to the fish.
- 1 pound monkfish, trimmed
- 1 tablespoon horseradish
- 1 tablespoon panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon butter
- salt and pepper
Bring a skillet up to medium heat. Season the fish liberally on both sides with salt and pepper. Combine the horseradish, breadcrumbs and mustard in a small bowl, adding water if needed to form a paste. Press this mixture onto one side of the fish. Add butter to the pan, swirling to coat. Carefully place the fish in the pan with the crust down. Cook for a few minutes until the crust has browned and then gently flip. (If your crust falls off, just stick it back on.) Cook for another couple of minutes and then pop the whole pan in the oven for about 15 minutes. By the time your fish is done, your cabbage should be good to go.
WARNING: Your cat will think you made this for her. She is wrong, but she will not let up until you finish your meal, pack the leftovers away for tomorrow’s lunch, and scrub all of the dishes.