Friday, February 09, 2007

Did He Buy Them, Dear Reader?

April 28
The butcher by the farmers' market tells me about some baby monkfish he has seen at the fish shop. Curiosity gets the better of me. There on the ice is a shoal of young monkfish. Each pearl-white fish is plump, sparkling with freshness and barely longer than a man's middle finger. Yet I cannot imagine there are many fish quite to environmentally unsound. They would be a joy on the grill, their flesh tinged with the scent of lemon, rosemary and charcoal. but they would have been even better in the sea, where each can grow and feed four apiece, or maybe left where they are so we can eat a species less threatened by over-fishing.

Did I buy them, dear reader? Yes I did. Eight of them to feed four of us -- grilled in the open air after an hour in a marinade of olive oil, chopped leaves of young green rosemary and the merest whiff of a garlic clove. When they were done, the outside a lattice of brilliant white and crusted black, we dressed them with lemon-scented olive oil and a dish of fava beans the size of a thumb nail, so young we didn't think to skin them. Once the plates were empty (we started with new asparagus), I brought out a simple salad of crisp lettuce with a timeless dressing of oil and vinegar, though thicker than is usual. We followed with rhubarb fool -- deepest pink fruit from the garden stewed with sugar and a few sweet cicely seeds, then chilled and folded into cream whipped till it lay in soft, dreamy folds. Sometimes appetite gets the better of conscience.
My mouth actually started watering when reading that description.

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