As we near the end of the first week of August on the east end of Long Island (and pretty much everywhere in the northern hemisphere) business is brisk, the weather has been great and the fish are landing. So far this summer at the North Fork Table & Inn, where I have loitered in the kitchen with my friend Chef Gerry Hayden, we have featured a number of locally caught yellowfin and bigeye tuna. We have also featured a good amount of locally caught striped bass, fluke, black sea bass and swordfish.
In our opinion beautiful local seafood is best served simply with beautiful local vegetables. The local crop of tomatoes is just beginning. Literally. Tomorrow we will receive, along with other fruits of the earth, our first tomatoes from MarGene Farm in Mattituck, NY. We have also used tomatoes and plants from our friend K.K. Haspel in Southold, NY. K.K. takes a biodynamic approach to growing food and we love it! Her kale, herbs, tomatoes and flowers are delicious and beautiful.
The summer harvest of sweet corn has also begun and the white corn we have been using from Al Krupski at Krupski Farms has been amazing. It is sweet and delicious beyond belief and we have used it in sweet and savory dishes at the restaurant. In the savory part of the kitchen we have prepared a delicious chilled corn soup with crab meat. Claudia Fleming, who is married to Chef Hayden, is one of the most formidible pastry chefs in the world and she has made sweet corn ice cream to go along with a blueberry financier. The blueberries come to us from our friends at Oysterponds Farm.Sweet corn ice cream. Holy shit!
We have been using a large variety of vegetables from our good friend Stephanie Gaylor at Invincible Summer Farms in Southold, NY. Stephanie is the queen of seeds and is as crazy as we are about finding food with a story and a history. Stephanie brings us a shit load of tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables and fruit from around the world. Fennel pollen? No one does it better.
Chicken. Is it the animal protein of choice for the walking dead or is it something to be reckoned with in the restaurant kitchen? I think it depends on who you ask. As a chef I generally like to avoid dealing with such a bland topic. Until now. Now we have Browder’s Birds from Mattituck, NY. Holly and Chris bring us birds of distinction and, at the North Fork Table & Inn, we actually send over vegetable scraps for the chickens to eat before cooking the birds and serving them to our guests. Finally, now, we should talk about beef. Thursday, later in the afternoon, we will be taking on a beef carcus from McCall Wines. Russ McCall grows grapes and makes wine. He also grows Charolais cows. Charolais beef is lean, especially when it is grass-fed and raised naturally. We love it. The slow growth of the cattle means it will taste beefy and delicious. So far it has been a delicious summer and it will only get better as we head in to the fall.