My Food Roadmap to Montauk

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The moment summer sets in on the East End city dwellers, including myself, make the mass exodus to The Hamptons most weekends from late May to early September.  The escape from the grit and grime of the humid city is a welcome respite, allowing me to take in the cooler sea air and get into nature, sparkling S.Pellegrino in hand.

My favorite part of escaping the city to Montauk?  The opportunity to cook in a big kitchen in our summer rental for my boyfriend and friends, relying on goods from my favorite places along Old Montauk Highway on the way from the city to our summer hideaway on the beach.

This past weekend I made a delicious, spicy bouillabaisse (a summer favorite of mine) with a fabulous Caprese Salad made special by the best mozzarella on the East End, and washed it all down with ice cold S.Pellegrino.  This meal combination is one of my favorites during the summer, allowing me to utilize the fresh fish, veggies, and fruit available at my favorite stores and stands in The Hamptons.  The best part about a bouillabaisse?  It essentially cooks itself once you have some of the baseline elements in place.  Lets get into this recipe as I share where I shop along the way!

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Red Horse Market

74 Montauk Hwy, East Hampton, NY 11937

(631) 324-9500

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Red Horse is seriously the best.  My friend Kate, a New York native and visitor to East Hampton for the past 25+ years, introduced me to this roadside market with a cult following.  Why is this place so popular?  It’s all about the cheese, baby.  Specifically the mozzarella which is quite literally out of this world.  It’s hand twisted on-site by Pasquale Langella and sells out every day.  EVERY DAY.  Best to get there early, as this delicious mozzarella plays a critical role in the Caprese Salad featured in my weekend menu.

The mozzarella isn’t the only hot item there however - the market is completely stocked from the top to bottom with delicious salads, sandwiches, and drink options.  I like to pick up a few bottles of S.Pellegrino here and the herbs that I’ll need: the basil for the salad, and bay, parsley, thyme, and tarragon for the Bouillabaisse.

Hampton Seafood Company

17 Race Lane, East Hampton, NY 11937

(631) 324 - 9224

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Once you hit Red Horse, instead of hopping back onto Old Montauk Highway take a right onto Cove Hollow Road towards the East Hampton Train Station.  Here you’ll find Hampton Seafood Company, a favorite of mine for the freshest fish on the East End.  Their daily selects come off of their own boat in Montauk and it’s best to call ahead to get an idea of what’s available.

For my bouillabaisse I make my own fish broth (it’s truly delicious) as the base and then add the meat from the fish (always choose a lean white fish), mussels, and clams.  I get all three of these items at Hampton Seafood, calling ahead so my order is ready once I arrive.

Montauk Farmer’s Market

The Village Green

Thursdays 9am to 2pm

Montauk Farmer's Market

Next stop on my road to a delicious meal is the Montauk Farmer’s Market.  I tend to drive out East on Thursdays and lucky for me, the market is open that day.  The market continues to grow every summer and is a really friendly community experience that’s truly delicious.  The focus here really is on local, seasonal produce and goods and I love to pick up the remaining items on my grocery list here: shallots, leeks, tomatoes, and garlic.

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Bouillabaisse

[ingredients title="Ingredients"]

  • Bones, Heads, Trimmings of 2 lean white fish (about 3 to 4 lbs)

  • 1 cup of shallots, sliced thin

  • 1 cup leek, sliced thin

  • 1 cup white wine

  • Butter

  • Water

  • Bay Leaf

  • Parsley Sprigs

  • Thyme

  • Black Pepper

  • 42 oz (1 1/2 cans) San Marzano Whole Peeled Tomatoes

  • Pinch of Red Pepper

  • 1 Large Fennel Bulb, sliced thin

  • 6 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/2 onion, sliced thin

  • 2 White fish cut into 1/2 inch pieces

  • 20 mussels

  • 20 clams

  • 1 potato (cut into small cubes)

  • Salt

  • Pepper

[/ingredients]

[directions title="Directions"]

  1. The soup base of a bouillabaisse is essentially a well-flavored fish stock.  There are variations on fish stock based on personal preference.  I prefer the classic French way with no carrots in mine.  The prepare, dress a fish by removing the fins, scaling it with the back of a knife, open the belly to remove the gills and intestinal tracts, and rinsing the belly cavity.  At this point you’re ready to remove the filets from both sides of the fish.  Once that’s done, put wrap them and refrigerate.  Take the bones from the fish, the head, and fish and set aside.

  2. In a medium heat pan, saute leeks and shallots in butter for about 5 minutes until they begin to get soft.  Add the fish bones and continue to cook for a few more minutes.  Deglaze the pan with white wine, add 2 bay leaves, parsley stems, 3-4 sprigs of thyme, and black pepper.  Add enough water to just cover the bones and let simmer gently for 30 minutes.  Every once in a while, use a spoon to skim fat and residue off the top of your stock.  Once the 30 minutes are up, strain through a damp cheese cloth over a tight strainer.  Hold to the side.

  3. For the bouillabaisse we’ll use a large, tall pot.  Saute minced garlic, onion, and fennel in butter for 10-15 minutes until the begin to soften.  Add a bit of red pepper flakes, but go easy here - just a few too many and your soup could be ruined.  Add tomatoes and continue to cook gently for a few more minutes. 

  4. Add your fish stock, along with a bunch of tarragon and allow the soup to simmer on low for about 45 min.  At this point add your potato and season your soup with salt and pepper.

  5. Finally, add your fish pieces, mussels, and clams.  Cover the soup for 3-4 minutes until the mussels and clams open up and you’re ready to eat!

    [/directions]

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Caprese Salad

[ingredients title="Ingredients"]

  • 3-4 Large, Heirloom Tomatoes

  • Fresh Mozzarella, sliced

  • 10-12 Basil Leaves

  • Olive Oil

  • Balsamic Vinegar

  • Salt

  • Pepper

[/ingredients]

[directions title="Directions"]

  1. Wash and dry basil leaves and tomatoes and cut into slices.  Slice mozzarella.

  2. Put your salad together by stacking all the elements: tomato, then mozzarella, then basil leaves. 

  3. Drizzle with Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, salt and pepper.

    [/directions]

The combination of the spicy and filling bouillabaisse, the delightfully fresh caprese salad, and crisp, refreshing S.Pellegrino makes a perfectly European meal for a summer weekend spent in The Hamptons.  Enjoy my food roadmap as you make your way out there this summer.  Here’s to eating beautifully!

This post is sponsored by S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water.