Lamb Chops and Bleu Cheese Mashed Potatoes

The first time we cycled through Provençal fields of rosemary, lavender, thyme and oregano, we totally understood the culinary concept of Herbes de Provence. This recipe helps to preserve the tradition of serving lamb at Easter using delicate herbs from the south of France.

Read More

WINE OF THE WEEK

As prices for wine from Bourgogne spiral out of the reach of mere mortals, it is comforting to know that we can still satisfy our Burgundy cravings with well-made bottles from appellations that do not fetch the exorbitant amounts of those from more prominent terroir or producers.

Read More

Tapas Bar Seafood Salad

We just returned to New York from Spain (with a detour to France) and we are missing tapas bars already. There is nothing like buying an inexpensive glass of wine--usually around or under $2 US--and receiving a free small plate to enjoy with it. This tapas bar seafood salad, which is also known as salpicon, is one of our favorites. 

 

Tapas Bar Seafood Salad. Photo by Frances Janisch for The Fire Island Cookbook. 

Tapas Bar Seafood Salad. Photo by Frances Janisch for The Fire Island Cookbook. 

Tapas Bar Seafood Salad

 

When you walk into a bar in Spain, you will see a glass-covered case filled with salads and cooked foods. With each glass of wine you order, you will be offered a tapa, or small plate of food—for free!  Cold seafood salad is always a sure bet, especially with a nice, crisp glass of Albariño.

  • ¾ pound cooked crab meat, fresh or canned
  • 1 pound octopus
  • 1 ½ pounds medium shrimp
  • 1 small red pepper
  • 1 small green pepper
  • 1 medium red onion
  • ½ pound green olives, pitted
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Peel the shrimp and remove tails.  In a medium saucepan, bring salted water to a boil over high heat. Boil 3-5 minutes, until shrimp turn pink. Empty shrimp into strainer, and rinse with cold running water.

Boil the octopus in salted water until tender. This may take between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on the thickness of the octopus. After cooking, allow to cool to touch, and cut into ¼ inch slices.

Break the crab meat into ½ inch pieces with your fingers and a fork. Place the shrimp, octopus, and crab meat in a large glass or ceramic bowl. 

Rinse and seed the peppers, and cut into lengthwise into ¼ inch slices, and then cut each slice in half crosswise. Dice the onion. Add peppers, onion, and olives to seafood in bowl. Toss lightly.

Add olive oil and lemon juice to bowl, and mix to coat seafood and vegetables. Lightly salt and pepper to taste. Serve cold. May be refrigerated before serving. This can be made in the morning, and plated and served at dinner time.

Wine Pairing: 

Laxas Albariño, Rias Baixas, Spain

The bracing minerality of this clean white wine is just right with seafood.

Note: You may substitute 1 pound cleaned calamari rings for the octopus. Boil approximately 3-4 minutes, until tender. 

From THE FIRE ISLAND COOKBOOK Copyright © 2012 by The World Wine Guys, LLC published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

 

Tomato Season is Still Going Strong

Days may be growing shorter and evenings just a touch cooler, but tomato season is still going strong. Our stacked Caprese will have your friends oohing and aahing when it arrives at the table, although we promise you it is one of the easiest dishes you will ever prepare. The key is using the freshest tomatoes you can find, so the time is now. 

Stacked Tomato and Mozzarella Caprese Salad. Photo by Frances Janisch for The Fire Island Cookbook. 

Stacked Tomato and Mozzarella Caprese Salad. Photo by Frances Janisch for The Fire Island Cookbook. 

Stacked Tomato and Mozzarella Caprese Salad

 

There are few starters that are as dramatic and so easy to make.  Using perfectly ripe tomatoes and freshly made mozzarella you can create a delicious architectural delight. Although this is a signature dish from the island of Capri, we first had this layered presentation in Porto Palo on the island of Sicily.  Fresh basil, peppery olive oil and sea salt bring out the earthy quality of the delicious tomatoes that grow in the island’s mineral rich volcanic soil. 

  • 8 medium tomatoes
  • 64 well washed basil leaves
  • 2 one pound balls fresh mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • coarse ground sea salt
  • 8 bamboo skewers

 

Wash and dry the tomatoes.  Cut the bottoms off of each (so that they can stand upright on the plate) and discard. Slice each tomato horizontally into four slices.  Keep each tomato together and set aside.  Horizontally slice each fresh mozzarella ball into 12 equal slices, for a total of 24.  Begin assembly by placing the bottom slice of each tomato in the center of a medium sized plate.  Salt lightly.  Top with a slice of mozzarella and two basil leaves.  Add another slice of tomato and repeat until each stacked Caprese salad is complete.  Carefully spear each with a bamboo skewer, garnish with the remaining basil leaves and set aside.  Do not refrigerate if you plan on serving in the next 90 minutes.  When ready to serve, drizzle each with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. 

Wine Pairing:  Frei Brothers Reserve Russian River Chardonnay

Delightful crisp flavors of green apple and ripe stone fruits are accented by a touch of toasted brioche and creamy butter. The creaminess will hold up to the cheese, while strong acidity is ideal with ripe tomato.

From THE FIRE ISLAND COOKBOOK Copyright © 2012 by The World Wine Guys, LLC published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.