What I had for dinner:
And no ajvar ...
Sunday, I spent most of the day at the lab, missing one of the few truly beautiful days of the summer, so I felt that I deserved a break today; I set up an experiment that would last several hours, and I took the subway downtown; after a quick stop at the McGraw-Hill bookshop I walked up the park to 72nd street. Then, since I was in the neighborhood, I had a red ale at the West Side Brewery (after having tasted a little of their wheat, a sourish, nondescript, uninteresting brew).
Then, off to Fairway. They had fresh cranberry beans, curiously the only fresh beans that I ever see in New York. Considering the astounding number of beans available in America, it is rather disappointing that only one variety is ever available fresh.
With beans, I needed another, lighter vegetable: especially in the summer, a platter of beans can be rather heavy. I settled on sautéed escarole, probably my favorite green-leaf veggie, that I was astounded to see rejected recently at Carmine's by two fellow Mediterannean friends (a Greek and a Turk, no less; quite an ecumenical rejection!).
This combination did not suggest any obvious meat or fish, so I wandered around Citarella for a bit. I saw a cockroach in the fish department, so I gravitated to the meat department. A pork chop would do well indeed.
The beans were steamed in the pressure cooker for about 25 min. Steaming, which works best with fresh beans, allows them to be thoroughly cooked --and therefore more digestible-- without falling to pieces.
The escarole, washed and dried, was sautéed with olive oil in a wok, with the lid on most of the time, until the leaves were slightly caramelized on the edges. Then 3 chopped Habañero peppers and 3 sliced cloves of garlic were added, and cooked briefly.
The pork chop, coated with pepper, cumin, and mace, was pan-broiled , the pan was deglazed with a little beer, and the beans added to soak up some of the juices.