I made a promise to myself not to let this summer evaporate without spending one night at the beach dedicated to cooking and eating local fare (at a pal's fantastic South Hampton pad). This past weekend I realized said internal commitment and bid farewell to summer with a bountiful feast fueled by seasonal libations. Those of us doing the cooking made sure we had thick and spicy bloody marias laden with caper berries, pickle juice, pommery mustard seeds and garlic-stuffed green olives aplenty at all times.
Guests were greeted with jalapeño sunset margaritas; 36 hand-squeezed limes married with Don Julio, homemade simple syrup reduced with the infusion of local jalapeños and a splash of grand Marnier finished with crunchy cayenne sea salt. To cool the palette we prepared a salad of baby yellow and red tomatoes, red onions, avocado and grilled corn laced with ribbons of basil, olive oil and lime over crusty country bread.
Grilled meats rubbed simply with cloves of garlic and peppercorns were paired with fresh peach salsa: white peaches, onions, waxy honeycomb, olive oil and crisp mint. The simple cuts of grass fed beef yielded a deep ruby center and a velvety texture, which laid next to a terrine of roasted local vegetables and a verdant salad of Bibb lettuce, pan-fried peasant bread croutons dotted with fried sage, crispy red grapes and Humboldt Fog.
Local wines from the North Fork were opened, poured and finished. Even after all of the home cooked, delicious seasonal fare, the highlight of the meal was undoubtedly the Tate's blueberry pie we picked up at the farm that morning. (www.tatesbakeshop.com) Their pies are an ethereal marriage of crushed, sun-fed fruit and crumbling buttery crust. We capped the evening off with a bonfire on the bay and s'mores under the stars. -HH