It’s a cold damp night, we’re walking quickly from our glass of wine at Daniel Packer Inn to our dinner reservations just up the street. No coats, because screw coats and this never-ending winter. Heads down, shoulders scrunched up by our ears, laughing about todays awkward (and creepy) dating scene. No thanks we say… into the restaurant we march. The bright light from the kitchen glows like a TV in a pitch black room, my eyes adjust. There he is. Every time I walk through the doors of the Oyster Club, I feel like a teenager in the front row at her favorite boy band. I can’t hide my Chef crush. I smile all silly and say hello as I pass by his window on the way to our table.
My husband sets up the coffee before bed. On weekends I always wake before he does and before his feet even hit the floor, he’s already taken care of me. Damn him. Why aren’t I that thoughtful?! We’re currently working our way through a second bag of Dave’s Honduran Marcala that I first bought simply because its descriptors were Tenacious, Spiced Honey and Sultry…. I’m on my second cup.
Something about beef butter and fried oysters returns to me, how does his mind work? The beef butter tasted of rich creamy marrow, the smell in the house after a rib roast has been in the oven for hours on end. It was inappropriately (but most appropriately) delicious. The oysters, still perfectly delicate inside. Respect the oyster.
C decidedly orders the General Tso’s style Monkfish. I tell her that I made monk earlier in the week and remind myself that I have to type up the recipe. The server returns, never a good sign. Sadly, no more monk. Eel instead? She bravely agrees. I describe the steely shot of Chef Wayman in his walk-in, holding a hotel pan of what I knew was about to arrive on her dinner plate. Awesome. I go for the pork belly, I can’t help myself. They’ve corned it, what?! Yes, give it to me. I have to eat it with my eyes closed, not intentional. We’re all just happy to be around the table together, stealing bites of each others dishes. In OC we trust.
Time to hit the gym and work on that spicy-tenacious-sultry thing…
Dijon Miso Monkfish
Adapted from a Pierre Franey recipe
- 1 + lbs of Monkfish fillets – I buy exclusively from Seawell Seafood
- 2 tbsp pure EVOO
- 2 tbsp organic dijon mustard
- 1.5 tsp organic three-year Barley Miso (I get mine from Fiddleheads in New London)
- Kosher salt + fresh cracked pepper
- 1/4 – 1/2 sweet onion finely chopped
- 1-2 cloves of garlic – adjust to your liking
- 1/3 c of brut or dry white wine
- 1/2 lb of your favorite mushrooms
- 1 tbsp grass-fed dairy butter such as Kerry Gold
- 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley chopped
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
Coat a baking dish large enough to fit your fillets (with space left in between) with the olive oil. Coat both sides of the fish and season well with salt and pepper.
Mix the dijon and miso together, brush liberally over the fish.
Sprinkle the onion and garlic around the fish and place on the stovetop over medium heat. When you hear the oil begin to sizzle, add the wine and the mushrooms. As soon as the wine begins to simmer, pop it into the oven for 15 minutes. Baste each piece a few times and then cook it for another 5.
Using tongs, remove the fish to a cutting board or heat safe surface and briefly let rest. Add the butter to the sauce along with the parsley. I chose to cook the sauce down just a little bit more on the stove but you can use as is. Spoon the sauce liberally over the fish and enjoy.
Note: If you like miso, try adding an additional tsp with the wine to heighten the flavor even more.
Pictured: Leftover whipped potatoes with sautéed garlicky kale mixed in. Ever so slightly sinful