Get a big handful of tender young salad leaves per person, perhaps a mixture including arugula, chard, mizuna, beet tops, frisée — whatever your local farmers’ market has, maybe including a few herbs like parsley, mint, chervil or tarragon and the odd edible flower. You want lots of flavor and impeccable freshness.
For each two portions, rinse and dry a heaping tablespoon of capers and, optionally, grate the zest of half a lemon. Have some sherry vinegar (or other wine vinegar), some chicken or veal stock and some delicious walnut oil or olive oil at the ready.
Get some tasty fish — skate is perfect, and mackerel or bluefish is nearly as good. Salt it, pepper it, flour it. Brown it well on one side in a little clarified butter or olive oil. Turn it over and finish cooking it; remove to a plate. Put the capers and lemon zest in the same pan and cook for half a minute; add a couple of tablespoons vinegar, reduce by half, then add about a quarter cup of stock. Reduce, again, by half. Finish with three tablespoons (eyeball this) of oil –let it bubble over high heat for just a moment to bring everything together. Taste — it should be rich and pleasantly acidic, and now is the time to adjust it if it isn’t right.
Spoon most of this hot salad dressing over the greens, and toss; they will wilt a little. Pile them onto plates, top with the fish and drizzle the remaining dressing and capers over all.
Submitted by Ann Tilley