The secret to this pairing is without a doubt its simplicity. Listening to Reich’s music can feel like sitting in a sonic bathtub, and by pairing it with a dish of few unreserved flavors, we have in essence built a playground for your imagination. While Minimalism can seem unapproachable and repetitive to some, it's our belief through this pairing you will be able to understand what makes this sub-genre of classical music such an enjoyable treat.

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UNA's Crispy Skin Fish with Umami Sauce


-4 6oz Skin on fillets of fish (black bass, striped bass, snapper, salmon)

-16oz Red cherry tomatoes

-4 Cloves garlic

-2 Oil-packed anchovy fillets (I recommend the little jars from either Ortiz or Talatta)

-1⁄2 Stick unsalted butter-1 Bunch chives

-Olive oil

-Salt Pepper

-Flaky salt for finishing (optional)


Preheat your oven to 400f. While the oven is preheating, toss the cherry tomatoes and cloves of garlic with their skins on in a generous splash of olive oil (2-3 tbsp) season with a few large pinches of salt and freshly cracked pepper. Once the oven is hot, add your tomato garlic mixture to a roasting dish or sheet tray and roast for about 20 minutes or until the tomatoes have burst and are starting to break down. Carefully remove the garlic cloves from the tomato mixture and let them cool until you can handle them. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins directly into a blender, add the roasted tomatoes, two anchovy fillets and blend until you reach a smooth consistency. Cut 1⁄2 a stick of cold unsalted butter into cubes, add them to the blender and blend again until a smooth orange sauce comes together. Set your sauce aside and keep it warm while you prepare your fish.

The most important thing to do before you cook your fish is to dry it completely using a towel or paper towels. Once dry, season the fish generously all over with salt and drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a large cold nonstick skillet. Lay the fish skin side down in the cold pan and place over medium heat. Let the fish slowly begin to cook for about 5 minutes and then, using a spatula, press gently but firmly on each fillet to ensure there is good even contact between the skin of the fish and the pan. Let the fish continue to cook over medium heat on the skin side for about 8-10 more minutes until the flesh of the fish is mostly opaque and you start to see some slight browning around the edges.Try not to move the fish at all during this time. Once your skin is crisped nicely and your fish is mostly cooked through, carefully flip it and cook on the flesh side for about 1 minute just to finish off the cooking. Transfer the fillets from the pan to a plate skin side up ensuring not to stack them. The goal is to keep that skin crispy!

Spoon a few tablespoons of sauce on to a plate, and rotate the plate to evenly coat the bottom. Place your fish in thecenter of the plate and scatter thinly sliced chives in a circle surrounding the fish.

Pairing Notes

Before embarking on this pairing it's important to note that minimalism, while aiming to please the same fundamental aspects as most classical music, goes about it in a much more sensitive way. Instead of sweeping you off your feet with dramatic gestures of harmony and pleasing your ears with lighthearted melodies, Steve Reich and other composers of the movement use tactful repetition to evoke similar reactions from their audiences. The result is a piece that leaves much of the fun to you. You’re able to freely interpret the meaning and imagery behind the music while it carries you away through a land without time.

Electric Counterpoint in particular embraces these stylistic devices and uses them to synthesize a landscape consisting only of overdubbed guitar. In a live performance you might hear 12 pre-recorded tracks with the performer playing the 13th, but in the case of Pat Metheny’s recording which is linked below, all 13 tracks have been recorded on top of each other. By keeping the rhythm, texture and “melody” the same, Reich is able to slyly weave together a tapestry of subtle harmonic shifts. To the listener these changes are enough to keep your attention without disrupting the tranquility the music seems to radiate.

To create an edible companion for this piece we looked to the effortless beauty of fish. It’s a flavor that doesn’t need much help to shine and brings with it the soothing texture so present in the music. Underneath we find a tomato umami sauce which marries the acidity of the tomato with garlic, butter and anchovies to give you a sampler of mellow flavors. This gives the fish its context and rounds out the dish into a meal fit for such a transformative piece. At this point you’re ready to close your eyes and delve into an experience we hope will pique your curiosity and find you in a much calmer place than when you began.

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