07/13/12 1:02pm
07/13/2012 1:02 PM

The lady of this house is in love
with the peach. How gently she places it
on the sill to catch the shaft of sun.
How many times she passes it under her nose
and breathes. So careful she is
not to bruise it, squeezing between finger and thumb,
coaxing ripeness …

While I who am all firm flesh
and smooth skin languish in the vegetable bin,
sandwiched between the stiff carrot and atrocious
onion. I shrivel and grow soft and must be peeled
and chopped, my seeds cast off,
and am tossed in a pot for sauce, beaten
and most horribly mashed with wooden spoon …
‘The Tomato Envies the Peach’  by Diane Lockward

Peaches and tomatoes are the fruits of summer on the North Fork. We don’t usually think of a tomato as a fruit because it is handled like a vegetable in cookery, but peaches and tomatoes have a lot in common: They are delicious whether served raw or cooked; when in season, locally grown and at their peak, they have a pure flavor that needs very little enhancement; and they are both very good for you.

No-Cook Tomato Sauce
Cut out the cores from 2 pounds of ripe tomatoes. Plunge the tomatoes into 2 quarts of boiling water for 1 minute and remove. When cool, peel the tomatoes and cut them into quarter-inch dice, reserving any juice or seeds. Place the diced tomatoes and the juice in a bowl and add 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper and 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. Let sit for 30 minutes and serve with hot pasta such as farfalle or orecchiette. Grate fresh parmigiano-reggiano cheese over it and serve.
Serves 4.

Cooked Tomato Sauce
This recipe, taken from Marcella Hazan’s classic cookbook “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking,” is the simplest of all tomato sauces. When the tomatoes are very fresh and flavorful, it is great to show off the delicious tomato flavor without the traditional Italian seasonings. If possible, serve this sauce over potato gnocchi or fresh homemade pasta.

Cut out the cores from 2 pounds of ripe tomatoes. Plunge the tomatoes into boiling water for 1 minute and remove. When cool, peel the tomatoes and chop them, saving any juices. Place the chopped tomatoes and juice in a saucepan along with 5 tablespoons unsalted butter.

Peel a medium-sized, full-flavored onion (such as a local one) and cut it in half. Add this to the saucepan and season the sauce with 1 teaspoon sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil, uncovered, and let it simmer at low heat for 1 hour.

Gnocchi: While the sauce is cooking, boil 4 Yukon gold potatoes in their skins until fully cooked. When cool, peel them and press through a potato ricer as for mashed potatoes. Stir in 1 cup flour and 1 egg. Season with 2 teaspoons sea salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Dump this mixture onto a floured cutting board and knead into a dough. Cut the dough in half and roll out into 2 long “snakes” about 1 inch in diameter. Cut these rolls into 1-inch pieces and make the gnocchi by pressing them against a dinner fork with your finger and rolling them off of the end of the fork. The little potato dumplings will have indentations in them that help to hold the sauce.

Boil 2 quarts of water and add the gnocchi to cook like pasta. When they rise to the surface and cook for about 2 minutes, they are ready to remove and eat. Place them in shallow bowls and ladle the above sauce over them. Grate fresh parmigiano-reggiano cheese over them and serve.
Serves 4.

Peach Salsa
Plunge 6 peaches into 2 quarts of boiling water for 1 minute. Remove and cool before peeling. Dice the peeled peaches into half-inch pieces and set aside.

Heat a sauté pan and add 2 tablespoons canola oil. When hot, add 2 cups chopped onion, 1 minced jalapeño pepper, 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger. Cook for 5 minutes and add the peaches along with the juice and zest of 1 lemon. Season with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro.

This salsa is really good with char-grilled salmon.
Serves 6-8.

Peach Barbecue Sauce
Plunge 4 peaches into boiling water for 1 minute. Remove, cool and peel. Chop coarsely and set aside.

Heat a sauté pan and add 1 tablespoon canola oil. When hot, add 1 cup chopped onion, 1 tablespoon minced garlic and 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger. Cook 3 minutes and add 1 cup catsup, 1/4 cup peach preserves and the chopped peaches. Simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes and add 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and a few drops of Tabasco.

Brush over grilled pork chops and serve some on the side.
Serves 6-8.

John Ross, a chef and author, has been an active part of the North Fork food and wine community for more than 35 years. Email: [email protected]

06/16/12 11:34am
06/16/2012 11:34 AM

Give me the lettuce that has cooled
Its heart in the rich earth,
Till every joyous leaf is schooled
To crisply crinkled mirth;

Give me the mustard and the cress,
Whose glistening stalklets stand
As silver white as nymphs by night
Upon the coral strand;

The wayward tomato’s glorious head,
Cool cucumber sliced small;
And let the imperial beetroot spread
Her crimson over all.

excerpts from ‘A Ballad of Salad’
by Dylan Thomas

In the beginning of the 20th century, America began a long experience with what is now referred to as “scientific cooking.” The study of nutrition and how foods affected the body was emerging and the home economics movement introduced the notion of control over menus and ingredients that led to a new way of thinking about food. The calorie, the quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of one gram of water one degree centigrade, became a popular way of measuring food intake. Proteins, fats and carbohydrates became part of the conversation. Slowly we came to the realization that greens and raw vegetables contributed to a healthy diet, but they had to be presented in an orderly fashion.

“The object of scientific salad-making was to subdue the raw greens until they bore as little resemblance as possible to their natural state.” (“Perfection Salad,” by Laura Shapiro, 1986)

Salads became popular among the upper and middle classes during the 1900s. “Any preparation that could be served on a lettuce leaf was a salad, and dishes that once would have been treated as savories or desserts took on new importance and dignity as salads; hard boiled egg yolks mashed with mayonnaise, formed into balls and rolled in cottage cheese were called a Golf Salad. …” (“Perfection Salad”).

As the century progressed, we discovered that iceberg lettuce, tomato wedges and sliced cucumber coated with a processed bottled dressing were both convenient and satisfactory to most people. In restaurants we graduated to the salad bar with its many choices of toppings and dressings. Today we realize that eating fresh greens, vegetables and fruits with as little processing as possible and as close to harvest (and home) as possible is not only good nutrition, but an important part of a healthy, happy lifestyle. The role of the chef is to turn these ingredients into modern art, not contrived or forced, but appealing to the senses of taste, texture, color and enjoyment.

Sarah Miller’s Tossed Green Salad
Place one package of pre-washed mesclun greens in a salad bowl to chill. Peel and slice 1 cucumber, scraping out the seeds with a teaspoon and slicing into quarter-inch pieces. Peel, core and cut into pieces 1 Granny Smith apple. Trim and slice 1 bunch of scallions and cut in half 1 container of grape tomatoes. Cut 1 ripe avocado in half, remove the pit, scoop out the flesh with a tablespoon and dice into small pieces. Sprinkle these with a teaspoon of lemon juice.
Set all garnishes aside and make the dressing as follows: Combine in a food processor 3/4 cup grapeseed oil, 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon chile oil, 3 tablespoons roasted pappitas and 1/4 teaspoon each of sea salt and pepper. Process until smooth and pour into a glass container. At service time add the garnishes to the mesclun along with about half the dressing. Toss and serve.
Serves 4-6.

Boston Lettuce, Raspberries
and Almonds
Remove the leaves from the core of 1 head of Boston lettuce. Rinse under cold water and dry in a salad spinner. Wrap the leaves in paper towels and refrigerate.
Place 1/2 cup sliced almonds in a dry sauté pan and cook on medium heat for 4 minutes and set aside. Rinse 1/2 pint of raspberries and set aside.
Combine in a small mason jar 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 3 tablespoons walnut oil, 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon each of sea salt and pepper. Close the jar and shake vigorously.
At service time, tear the lettuce leaves and place them in a bowl. Add half of the dressing and toss the salad before placing on serving dishes. Garnish with berries and almonds. Sprinkle with a little more dressing.
Serves 4.

Roasted Beets, Oranges
and Arugula
Trim off the stem and root from 1 bunch of red or mixed-color beets. Wash thoroughly and brush with canola oil. Place in a casserole and cover with foil. Roast in a 400-degree oven for 45 minutes, or until just cooked. Set aside to cool.
Make the dressing by combining in a Mason jar 1/2 cup walnut oil, 1/4 cup canola oil, the juice and zest from 1 orange, 1/4 cup sherry vinegar, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon minced shallots and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Place the lid on the jar and shake vigorously to blend.
Peel and slice 2 oranges into segments and set aside. Prepare roasted walnuts by placing 1/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder and 2 tablespoons honey in a saucepan along with 2 tablespoons water. Bring to a boil, add 1 cup walnut halves and cook until most of the liquid evaporates. Put the mixture on a small sheet pan and roast in a 400-degree oven for 5 minutes.
Put 1 package of baby arugula in a salad bowl and add 1/4 cup of the dressing. Toss the salad and place on 4 individual salad plates. Toss 1/4 cup of the dressing with the beets and arrange on top of the arugula. Garnish with the orange segments and the candied walnuts.
Serves 4.
This recipe was adapted from a recipe in “Food to Live By” by Myra Goodman.

John Ross, a chef and author, has been an active part of the North Fork food and wine community for more than 35 years. Email: [email protected]

04/06/12 1:20pm
04/06/2012 1:20 PM

Strange beauty, eight-limbed and eight-handed,
Whence camest to dazzle our eyes?
With thy bosom bespangled and banded
With the hues of the seas and the skies;
Is thy home European or Asian,
O mystical monster marine?
Part molluscous and partly crustacean,
Betwixt and between.
Excerpt from ‘Octopus’
by Arthur Clement Hilton

The octopus is one of the most intelligent creatures in the sea. It has the unique ability to hide by changing its colors to match its habitat, wherever it is. It can also move very fast and squeeze its body into small spaces. And when attacked, it can release a cloud of black ink to obscure the attacker’s view. The common octopus is found in temperate waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and Mediterranean Sea. It’s also commonly found in Greek cuisine, along with many fish that are often grilled and served whole. Olive oil, lemon, oregano and olives are some of the ingredients used in Greek cooking. Here are some examples of this ancient seaside cuisine:

Grilled Marinated Octopus
Purchase two 1 1/2-pound octopuses that have been cleaned and frozen. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and rinse. Cut off the head, leaving the tentacles connected. Place the tentacles and head in a large soup pot with 4 quarts of water. Add a sliced lemon, 2 bay leaves, 2 tablespoons coarse salt and 12 peppercorns. Bring to a boil and simmer very slowly for about 45 minutes. Check for tenderness by cutting off a small piece of tentacle and eating it. Drain the cooked octopus and place in a shallow pan.

Combine 1 cup extra virgin olive oil with 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, the juice and zest of 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Pour this mixture over the octopus, cover with plastic film and place in the refrigerator overnight.

At service time, remove the octopus from the marinade and pat it dry with paper towels. Cook on a hot grill about 10 minutes per side and cut the tentacles into half-inch pieces. Slice the head and serve over greens or a chickpea stew (below).

Serves 4.

Grilled North Fork Porgy
Porgy, also known as sea bream, is found in many forms around the world, including the North Fork. It is a popular sport fish and is best when grilled whole because of its bone structure. It has a lean, soft texture with a sweet flavor.

Have 4 very fresh porgies gutted and scaled. Place them in a shallow pan and prepare a marinade as follows: Thinly slice 2 red onions, mince 3 tablespoons garlic and slice 2 lemons. Whisk together 1 cup olive oil, the juice and zest of 2 lemons, 2 tablespoons chopped oregano, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add the vegetables and pour the mixture over the fish, making sure some gets in the cavities of the fish. Let marinate for 1 to 2 hours before cooking.

At service time, cut 4 large pieces of foil and lay them on the counter. Spray the foil with no-stick and place a fish on each piece. Add marinade and vegetables . Fold up each foil package, leaving some space for air. Put these packages on the grill, but not directly over the coals. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Check for doneness by cutting into one of the fish. Serve whole with lemons and parsley.

Serves 4.

Vegetables à la Greque
In a large, deep soup pot put 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 cup white wine, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, 4 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, 4 sprigs of thyme, 12 peppercorns and 1 tablespoon coarse salt. Bring this mixture to a simmer and turn off the heat.

Prepare the following vegetables: Peel and cut 4 carrots into 2-inch sticks; peel and cut 2 red onions into wedges; trim the stems off 2 dozen white mushrooms; cut 1 bulb of fennel into slices; trim the ends off 1/2 pound of green beans; and cut 1 red bell pepper into large slices. Place these vegetables into the broth, cover and cook until just tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup chopped parsley and 1 thinly sliced lemon. Transfer the mixture to a shallow pan and refrigerate overnight. Serve on a platter with parsley and lemon.

Serves 4.

Chickpea Stew
Soak 1 pound of dried chickpeas in 2 quarts cold water overnight. Drain the chickpeas and put them in a saucepan. Cover with water and cook until tender, about 45 minutes. In another saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and add 1 coarsely chopped red bell pepper; 1 bunch of scallions, sliced; 1 tablespoon minced garlic; and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Season with 1 teaspoon ground cumin and 1 teaspoon coarse salt.

When vegetables are soft, add 4 diced plum tomatoes and 2 tablespoons tomato paste. Bring to a simmer and add the cooked chickpeas along with the juice and zest of 1 lemon and 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley. Check for seasoning and serve with grilled fish.

Serves 4.

John Ross, a chef and author, has been an active part of the North Fork food and wine community for more than 35 years. Email: [email protected]

01/29/12 12:00pm
01/29/2012 12:00 PM

Give me my scallop shell of quiet,
My staff of faith to walk upon,
My scrip of joy, immoral diet,
My bottle of salvation,
My gown of glory, hope’s true gage,
And thus I’ll take my pilgrimage.
—Sir Walter Raleigh

The harvesting of wild sea scallops is a huge industry in the United States. In fact, they are the most important shellfish fishery in the U.S., with 53.5 million pounds of sea scallop meats harvested in 2008. The capital of this harvest is New Bedford, Mass., but Atlantic sea scallops are found from Newfoundland to North Carolina.

The only part of the scallop marketed in the U.S. is the adductor muscle, so scallop fishermen clean them at sea, placing 40 pounds of the meats in muslin bags and throwing the remainder overboard. In Europe and Asia the entire scallop is eaten, including the coral and roe. The adductor muscle of the sea scallop becomes large and strong because, unlike clams or mussels, the sea scallop is an active swimmer, clapping its shell to move through the water.

Sea scallops are found in deepwater habitats along the continental shelf of the Atlantic Ocean, especially on Georges Bank, the Gulf of Maine and the mid-Atlantic area. They can live as long as 20 years, while the bay scallop has a maximum life of two to three years. Although previously on the endangered list, sea scallops have made a remarkable recovery due to proper regulation and management techniques.

Consumers are often confused about the terminology relating to sea scallops. Gourmet restaurants describe “diver” scallops or “day-boat scallops” while chefs order “dry seas” or “wet sea scallops.” Finally, “processed” or “previously frozen” scallops appear in some markets.

Dry sea scallops are harvested close to shore, cleaned, placed in bags on ice and marketed the same day. Sometimes they are picked off the bottom by divers and sometimes dragged off the bottom by a small boat — thus the terms diver and day-boat. These scallops have a briny taste of the sea, a sticky texture and a translucent appearance. Chefs love them because of their flavor and the fact that when sautéed in butter or olive oil, they caramelize on the outside and remain moist on the inside. Wet sea scallops are treated, after shucking, in sodium tripolyphosphate (STP), which inhibits the loss of natural fluids and creates a longer shelf life. STP is a safe additive, producing a whiter scallop with a firmer texture, but when cooked it throws off moisture, preventing that delicious caramelized exterior.
Frozen sea scallops are usually blast-frozen in large chunks when received, then thawed in water with STP and refrozen individually so that they can be marketed as “IQF” (individually quick frozen) scallops. We are lucky on the North Fork to be close enough to the scallop grounds to have a wide availability of dry seas year-round.

Chefs love to cook scallops because they can be grilled, broiled, roasted, poached, sautéed and fried — and because they are very flavorful by themselves, but also absorb many flavors from herbs, spices and seasonings. Just sautéing scallops in butter with a little lemon is perhaps most popular, but here are a few more simple recipes:

Sea Scallop Skewers with Rosemary
Purchase 24 large dry sea scallops (about 2 pounds) and a large bunch of rosemary. Strip half the leaves off of each rosemary sprig and soak them in water. Place the scallops in a bowl along with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary, 1 tablespoon minced garlic and the zest and juice of 1 lemon. Season with 1 teaspoon sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and refrigerate.

Trim 4 small red-skinned potatoes of any blemishes and boil them until just tender. Remove, cool and slice into quarter-inch rounds. Hold a rosemary sprig along the length of a metal skewer and alternate potatoes and scallops on the skewer until all are used. At service time spray a grill pan (or an outdoor charcoal grill) with no-stick and grill the scallops about 3 minutes per side. Place on a bed of wilted spinach and serve.

Serves 4.

Sea Scallops and Shrimp au Gratin
In a small bowl, soften 8 tablespoons unsalted butter. Stir into it the juice and zest from 1 lemon. Add 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 2 tablespoons minced shallots and 1/4 cup chopped parsley. Season with 1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt. Fold in 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs. Peel and devein 16 shrimp, cutting them almost in half butterfly style. Place the shrimp and 16 scallops in ramekins, divided equally. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of white vermouth over each ramekin and divide the butter mixture between them, spreading it evenly over the surface of each. Cook in a 425-degree oven for about 15 minutes and serve garnished with chopped parsley and accompanied by brown rice.

Sea Scallops and Bacon Appetizer
Combine 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup soy sauce and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Marinate 1 pound of dry sea scallops in this mixture for 30 minutes. Cut 8 slices of applewood-smoked bacon in half and place them on a paper towel-lined dinner plate. Microwave the bacon for 3 minutes.

Remove the scallops from the marinade and dry with paper towels. Wrap each scallop in bacon and skewer with a long toothpick. Place a grape tomato on the end of the skewer. Repeat with all the scallops and bacon. Cook the skewers in a 425-degree oven for about 5 minutes and serve as a passed appetizer.

The information and recipes above were adapted from an excellent new cookbook called “Scallops” by Elaine and Karin Tammi.

John Ross, a chef and author, has been an active part of the North Fork food and wine community for more than 35 years. Email: [email protected]

11/23/10 9:35pm
11/23/2010 9:35 PM

The waves roll on and gulls above soar high,
Lone foghorns chanting Cape Cod’s solitude.
The dunes at rest beneath the autumn sky
Envelop peaceful beaches once imbued.
Bright foliage adorns the countryside,
Surrounding sun-dried bogs of cranberries.
This summer tourists’ verdant welcome tide
Now boasts majestic hues of burgundies.
Synthetic lakes spew forth from each bog’s moat
Releasing berries for the harvest day,
And buoyant crimson carpets lie afloat
In just abeyance being scooped away
To conjure up a sauce with Ocean Spray
And have with turkey for Thanksgiving Day.

“Cranberry Sonnet”
by Nancy Ness

The cranberry, so much a part of Thanksgiving, is one of only three fruits that are native to North America. The other two are blueberries and the Concord grape. The cranberry is a wild fruit that grows on long vines in sandy bogs and marshes. Native Americans used the cranberry to make pemmican — a mixture of venison, fat and cranberries mashed together — and as a medicine to heal wounds. It is possible that it was served for that first Thanksgiving in 1621.
By the 1800s cranberries were being farmed in the Northeast. Eventually wet harvesting was developed, based on the fact that cranberries float in water. Farmers would flood the bog with water to form an artificial lake. The cranberries would float to the top, where they could be easily scooped up.
The cranberry is a very healthy fruit, being high in vitamin C and other unique compounds. Sailors learned that eating cranberries was a way to prevent scurvy. Fresh cranberries are readily available during the holiday season and can be used in a variety of recipes. Here are a few:

Duck Breast with Cranberries
Cut 2 whole boneless duck breasts (skin on) in half to make 4 portions. Trim any excess fat and score the skin in a crosshatch pattern with the tip of a knife. Season them with coarse salt and pepper and set aside.
Bring 2 cups water to a boil and add 1/4 cup sugar and 2 cups fresh cranberries. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the berries pop. Remove and drain, reserving the cranberries. (The juice can be saved for another use.)
Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat and place in it the duck breasts skin side down. Cook until skin is a rich brown color, pour off excess fat and turn down the heat. Flip the breasts over and cook until medium rare, about 5 minutes. Remove the duck and pour off all the fat. Add 2 tablespoons butter to the pan along with 1/4 cup minced shallots. Sauté briefly and add the reserved cranberries. Stir in 1/4 cup red wine and 1/2 cup chicken broth. Bring sauce to a boil and reduce the liquid by half. Strain the sauce into a small saucepan, pushing as much liquid as possible out of the cranberries. Check sauce for seasoning and slice the duck breasts, fanning them out on the plate, spooning the sauce around them.
Serves 4.

Cranberry-Apple-Pecan Pie
Begin by making a double pie crust. Place 2 cups all-purpose flour in a bowl with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2/3 cup shortening. With a pastry blender, work this into a coarse cornmeal consistency. Sprinkle 1/4 cup ice water over the dough and combine lightly with a fork. Sprinkle another 1/4 cup ice water and combine. Form the dough into two equal balls with your hands and flatten each on a floured surface into a 1-inch-thick round. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate while preparing the filling.
Peel and slice Jonagold apples to make 4 cups. Place them in a bowl along with 2 cups fresh cranberries. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 teaspoon lemon zest to the bowl along with 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 white sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/3 cup flour and 3/4 cup chopped pecans. Stir this mixture together and let it sit while rolling out the pastry.
Roll out the bottom crust on a floured surface and place in a 9-inch pie tin with the sides overhanging. Pour the filling into the pie tin (it will be very full) and roll out the top crust. Paint the rim of the bottom crust with water and place the top crust over all. Crimp and flute the edges and cut slits in the top. Brush lightly with beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with sugar. Place in a 425-degree oven and cook for 55 minutes. Put a loose piece of foil over the pie while cooking to prevent its browning too quickly. Cool and serve.
Makes 8 portions.

Cranberry Oatmeal Pancakes
These are savory pancakes that contain no sugar, but are made with old-fashioned oatmeal and fresh cranberries. They go well with sautéed pork cutlets, turkey cutlets or chicken breasts — all accompanied by cranberry sauce.
Place 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal in a bowl and add 2 cups milk. Let oatmeal soak for 10 minutes. Stir in 3 lightly beaten eggs and 3 tablespoons melted butter. Mix 1 cup flour with 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add this to the oat mixture.
Heat a large sauté pan and add 1/4 cup canola oil. When hot, drop 1/4 cup scoops of batter into the hot pan. Sprinkle fresh cranberries over the pancakes and press them in. Turn when brown and cook another 2 minutes. Remove to a warm oven and continue to cook in batches.

Cranberry Chutney
Add 3 cups fresh cranberries to a saucepan along with 1 cup peeled, cored and diced apple and 1 cup peeled, cored and diced pear. Stir in 1 cup golden raisins and 1/2 cup water. Add 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 teaspoon grated ginger, 3 whole cloves, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup chopped celery and 1 cup chopped walnuts. Bring to a boil and simmer slowly until berries pop, about 20 minutes. Cool at room temperature for 30 minutes and refrigerate. Remove cinnamon stick and cloves before serving.

Cranberry Maple Bourbon Sauce
Bring 2/3 cup maple syrup and 1/4 cup sugar to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Add 3 cups fresh cranberries and cook until the skins pop, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and swirl in 4 tablespoons cold butter, cut in chunks. Finish the sauce by adding 1/4 cup bourbon. Serve warm with turkey, duck or chicken.
Makes 8 portions.

Turkey à la Cranberry Vodka
Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a saucepan and add 2 cups chopped onion. Cook until soft and add 1/4 cup flour. Continue to cook for 3 minutes and stir in 1 cup cranberry-flavored vodka (you can substitute regular vodka). Stir in 1 1/2 cups chicken broth and 1 cup heavy cream. Season with 1 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Sauté 12 ounces of sliced mushrooms in 2 tablespoons butter and add to the sauce. Cut leftover turkey into 1-inch chunks and add to the sauce (about 4-6 cups).
Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil and add 1/4 cup sugar. Add 2 cups fresh cranberries and cook for 2 minutes. Remove cranberries with a slotted spoon and add them to the turkey mixture. Add 1 package of wide noodles to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain and serve with the turkey and sauce.
Note: If you don’t have leftover turkey, cook half a turkey breast in a 300-degree oven for 1 hour. Cool and remove the meat.

John Ross, a chef and author, has been an active part of the North Fork food and wine community for more than 35 years. E-mail: [email protected]

11/10/10 1:39am
11/10/2010 1:39 AM

In Greek mythology when Aprhrodite rose from the sea she skimmed over the Aegean waves on a scallop shell. This foam-borne goddess had a team of six seahorses to take her to the island of Cythera, and the symbol of sexual love and beauty rode in a scallop carriage. The graceful form of these shells has been reflected in art and architecture since earliest times. The scallop is the only bivalve to have a patron saint. The name “coquille Saint-Jacques,” or St. James shell, is on the one hand an umbrella term for a variety of creamy scallop dishes, but it’s also the name used for this mollusk in France.
from A.J. McClane’s
“Encyclopedia of Fish Cookery”

The Peconic Bay scallop is one of the North Fork’s finest culinary treasures. The season begins in November and ends in March. Like oysters, clams and mussels, the scallop is a bivalve mollusk. But unlike them it swims through the water by snapping its shells together with its adductor muscle. Due to this activity the adductor muscle becomes oversized and is the most sought-after part of the scallop to eat.
The whole scallop is edible when very fresh, but the viscera spoils quickly because the shells do not close tightly as do those of clams and oysters. Bay scallop shells are grooved with serrated edges, making them a beautiful serving dish for the scallop. The scallop differs from other bivalves in that it has a life span of only two years, creating the necessity to harvest them before they die. The Peconic Bay scallop has become the signature dish of the North Fork’s cuisine over the past 100 years. Here are a few recipes:

Marinated Sautéed
Bay Scallops
Place 1 pound of Peconic Bay scallops in a bowl with 1/4 cup white wine, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Marinate for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
Put 2 cups of cracker meal (available at supermarkets) in a shallow pan. Remove the scallops from the marinade, pat them dry with paper towels and roll them in the cracker meal. Melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a sauté pan over medium high heat and add the scallops in small batches, cooking each scallop until just browned and opaque, about 2 minutes. Add more butter as necessary. Serve over wilted greens with lemon wedges.
Serves 4.
Note: This recipe is adapted from a recipe by Jules Bond, former Suffolk Times columnist.
Bay Scallop Gratin
Soften 4 tablespoons unsalted butter in a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 2 tablespoons minced shallots, 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 tablespoon Pernod, 1 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir this mixture together with a wooden spoon and fold in 1/2 cup of panko crumbs. Place 1 tablespoon white wine in each of 4 ramekins (or gratin dishes) and distribute 1 1/2 pounds of scallops between them. Spoon the butter mixture over the scallops and place in a 425-degree oven. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the crumbs begin to brown and the scallops are just turning opaque.
Serves 4.

Coquilles St. Jacques
à la Parisienne
Purchase 1 pound of Peconic Bay scallops and 6 shells. Add 1 cup white wine, 1 bay leaf, 2 tablespoons chopped shallots, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to a shallow saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes and add the scallops and 8 ounces sliced white mushrooms. Cover, bring back to a boil, and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove scallops and mushrooms and set aside. Boil the remaining liquid until it is reduced to 1 cup.
In a separate saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter and stir in 1/4 cup flour to make a roux. Cook briefly and stir in the reduced cooking liquid and 1/2 cup heavy cream. Add 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Toss the scallops and mushrooms with three-quarters of the sauce and place in the scallop shells. Spoon the remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with 1/2 cup grated Emmantaler (or Swiss) cheese. Put the filled scallop shells on a sheet pan and place under a broiler until the cheese begins to brown. Serve as a first course over a bed of baby spinach.
Serves 6.

Peconic Bay Scallop Stew
Heat 2 cups milk and 1 cup heavy cream to a simmer. Add 1 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Stir in 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and 1 pound of scallops. Simmer slowly for 10 minutes. Place 1 cup pilot crackers in a food processor and pulse for 10 seconds. Stir into scallop stew and serve.
Serves 4-6.

Peconic Bay Scallop Chowder
Dice 3 strips of bacon and sauté them in a saucepan. Add 1 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup diced celery, 1 teaspoon minced garlic and 1 tablespoon fresh thyme. Cook just until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Separately, set up a double boiler and place 4 cups diced, peeled raw potatoes in it along with 1 cup heavy cream, 1 cup milk, 1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the bacon/vegetable mixture to the double boiler, cover and cook at medium heat until potatoes are fully cooked, about 55 minutes.
While this is cooking, add 2 tablespoons unsalted butter to the first saucepan and place it on medium heat. When the butter foams, add 1 pound of fresh Peconic Bay scallops and cook, covered, until just opaque and they have released their juices. Remove the scallops with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add 1 minced shallot and 1 cup white wine to the pan and turn up the heat. Boil until liquid is reduced to about 1 cup.
When the double boiler mixture is fully cooked, add it to the reduced wine sauce along with the scallops. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped parsley and check for seasoning. Remove from heat and serve.
Serves 4-6.

Kartoffel Klosse mit Muscheln (Potato Dumplings with Scallops)
Boil 4 potatoes in their skins until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain, cool slightly and peel. Place in a potato ricer over a bowl.
Peel and grate 3 raw potatoes into another bowl. Finely mince 1 shallot and add to the grated potato along with 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Place this mixture into a cloth cook’s towel and squeeze out all the moisture that you can. Add this to the cooked potatoes. Stir them together and add 1 beaten egg and 1/4 cup flour. Scoop out 1/4-cup portions onto a cutting board and roll each into a ball. Make a large indentation in each dumpling with your thumb and insert 1 bay scallop. Seal the dumpling and set aside.
Bring 4 quarts salted water to a boil and add the dumplings. Let them simmer for 15 minutes. While they are cooking, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a sauté pan and add 1 cup panko crumbs, stirring until they are golden brown. Lift the dumplings out of the water and roll them in the panko crumbs. Serve the dumplings with broiled or pan-fried fish.
Serves 4-6.

John Ross, a chef and author, has been an active part of the North Fork food and wine community for more than 35 years. E-mail: [email protected]