12/23/12 7:59am
12/23/2012 7:59 AM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Peconic Bay scallops seviche.

The North Fork is a beautiful peninsula of land surrounded by Peconic Bay, Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. The wetlands, varying salinity, tides and temperatures have created a seascape unique in the world. And the well-drained sandy soil and long growing season have favored agriculture for centuries. As the crush of population moves east, many of our long-developed resources have dwindled, but their traditions hang on. I have enjoyed being a professional chef on the North Fork for the past 40 years, year in, year out and year round. The foods that keep appearing over and over again are ducks, oysters, scallops, clams, finfish and myriad plant foods — including the wine.

As time moves on into the 21st century we sometimes forget that duck farming was a major industry, with production peaking at six million ducks in 1968 from over 30 producers. Greenport was once the oyster capital of the East Coast, with production peaking at about 25 million pounds of oyster meats in the 1930s. Commercial fishing has changed as aquaculture replaces the dwindling supply of wild fish. And the large crops of wholesale potatoes, cauliflower and cabbage have been gradually replaced by specialty farms that seek to compete in a changed marketplace.

But our cuisine, or the art of cookery using the foods and traditions of our area, has evolved into a distinct art form based on these wonderful ingredients. This Christmas dinner is a celebration of some of these special foods. The recipes are intended to serve eight people.

First Course

Peconic Bay Scallop Seviche

Combine in a bowl the juice of 3 limes and 1 teaspoon lime zest. Toss 1 pound of fresh bay scallops in this mixture and add 1/2 cup diced red onion, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 1 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover the bowl with plastic film and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours before serving.

At service time, remove the flesh from 2 avocados and cut into half-inch cubes. Lightly toss these in a bowl with the juice of 1 lime. Remove the leaves from 1 bunch of fresh watercress. Cut 1 cup of cherry tomatoes in half.

Place watercress in the bottoms of 8 martini glasses. Add the avocado next and place the scallops and tomatoes on top, pouring the sauce over all. Garnish with a little chopped cilantro.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | A cup of oyster stew is ready to serve on a plate covered in hand painted insects.

Soup Course

Oyster Stew

Purchase 1 pint of fresh shucked oysters. Spray a sauté pan with no-stick and cook 1/4 pound of pancetta at medium heat. Remove to a paper towel, chop coarsely and set aside.

Add to the saucepan 1 tablespoon butter, 2 chopped leeks (white part), 2 minced scallions and 1 cup chopped celery. Season with 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning, 1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook covered at low heat until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.

Add 1 tablespoon flour and stir it into the mixture, continuing to cook another 2 minutes. Stir in 2 cups milk and 1 cup heavy cream and bring to a simmer.

Add the pint of oysters with their juices and gradually bring back to a simmer. Add the reserved pancetta and check for seasoning. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup crushed pilot crackers. Garnish with pilot crackers and serve.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Putting the garnishes on the Long Island duck.


Brined/Steamed/Roasted Duck

Purchase a fresh 6-pound Long Island duck from a local retailer. Remove the giblets and neck from the cavity and remove the surrounding fat. Trim the wing tips, the tail and the flap of skin near the neck. Save these for another use and rinse the duck under cold water.

Prepare a brine by combining 2 cups orange juice with 2 cups water. Add 1/2 cup coarse salt, 12 bruised peppercorns, 1 bunch fresh thyme, 1 bunch fresh rosemary, 1 tablespoon minced garlic and 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger. Heat this mixture just enough to dissolve the salt. Add a cup of ice cubes to cool.

Place the duck in a glass or plastic container and pour the brine over it. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.

Make a glaze by adding to a small saucepan 1/2 cup honey, 1/4 cup cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard. Bring this mixture to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove the duck from the brine and dry with paper towels. Place it on a V-rack in a roasting pan, breast side up. With a sharp pointed knife, cut a diamond pattern of shallow cuts in the skin. Place in the cavity of the duck 1 quartered orange, 1 bunch of thyme and 1 bunch of rosemary. Tie the legs and wings close to the body with butcher’s twine.

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil and pour it over the duck, letting the water end up in the bottom of the roasting pan. Cover the roasting pan tightly with foil and place in a 400-degree oven. Cook for 45 minutes and remove the duck from the oven.

Pour off the water and fat and replace the duck in the roasting pan on its rack. Brush the duck all over with the glaze and put it back in the oven, turning down the heat to 375. Let it cook, brushing it with glaze every half-hour, for 1 1/2 hours. If it begins to get too dark, place a loose piece of foil over the breast area. When finished, the duck should be a dark mahogany color and the legs should move easily when squeezed.

Remove duck from the oven and let it rest, covered with foil, for 20 minutes. Cut off the string and remove the herbs and orange from the cavity. Carve the duck at the table or cut it into eighths and partially debone.

Orange Sauce

Purchase 6 navel oranges and squeeze the juice from 4 of them. Remove the zest from 1 orange and set aside. Peel remaining 2 oranges and cut the sections from the membranes.

In a small saucepan, bring to a boil 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons water. Cook until it begins to caramelize and turns golden. Add the reserved orange juice, 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, 1/4 cup minced shallots and 1 cup chicken stock. Simmer until reduced by one-third and swirl in 2 tablespoons cold butter. Add back the orange sections and the zest along with 1 tablespoon orange liqueur, such as triple sec or Grand Marnier.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Raspberry trifle for dessert.


Raspberry Trifle

Begin by making a plain pound cake. Cream 1/2 pound butter with 2 cups sugar for 5 minutes, using a paddle and a mixer at medium speed. Beat in 5 large eggs, one at a time.

Place 3 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl and combine with a whisk.

Combine 3/4 cup buttermilk and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a small bowl.

Turn the mixer on to slow speed and alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.

Spray 2 loaf pans with no-stick and divide the batter between them. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 55 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from oven, cool slightly and turn out cakes on a rack to cool. Wrap and refrigerate.

To make the trifle, make a syrup by bringing to a boil 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup lemon juice and 2 tablespoons raspberry liqueur (Chambord, framboise). Remove syrup from heat and let cool.

In a bowl, place 1 cup raspberry jam, 2 tablespoons Chambord and 4 cups fresh raspberries. Combine them gently and set aside.

In a mixer, whip 2 cups heavy cream to stiff peaks and fold in 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar.

Slice the chilled pound cake into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Cut the slices in half to make squares. Fill the bottom of a trifle dish with pound cake (some pieces of cake will have to be trimmed) and brush with syrup. Spread the raspberry mixture over this and then a layer of whipped cream. Repeat with two more layers. Garnish the top with 1 cup fresh raspberries and chill for 2 hours.

(The pound cake recipe was adapted from Ina Garten and the trifle was adapted from Martha Stewart.)

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]

10/14/12 8:00am
10/14/2012 8:00 AM

John Ross (center) with two Coast Guard chiefs at his 1967 graduation from the Coast Guard Commissary School.

As I stood on the dock in Greenport watching the U.S. Coast Guard barque Eagle come into port for the recent Maritime Festival, I was suddenly full of memories of a time 45 years ago when I was a cook in the U.S. Coast Guard.

My very first assignment out of boot camp was the 311-foot Coast Guard cutter Mackinac. It was based out of New York Harbor and patrolled the Atlantic from Greenland to Cuba. On my first patrol, in September 1966, we were headed to Guantanamo Bay for training with the Navy when we received an SOS from a ship that had lost power in a raging storm off the Florida Keys.

The storm was Hurricane Inez, one of the most destructive storms on record, causing over 1,000 deaths in the Caribbean. To rescue the ship we headed into giant 30-foot swells and withstood 80 mph winds. The screws of our ship were coming out of the water as the bow was buried in the waves.

In the galley, it was too dangerous to cook hot food, so the crew ate cold cuts and bread. This voyage ended safely and we were able to reach the disabled ship and restore its power. But our ship rarely sailed in calm water, as our mission was to man weather stations and be nearby to help ships and airplanes in distress.

Cooking in this environment required holding on with one hand and cooking with the other. Knives and utensils were always placed on a wet towel to prevent sliding. The galley of the Mackinac was located on the main deck, extending the entire width of the ship, with doors on either side to enhance ventilation. It was equipped with a six-burner stove, a large flat-top griddle, a stack oven, two steam jacketed (trunnion) kettles and a deep fryer with a 12-inch rim around it to prevent splashing. All our equipment was electric, as is common on most ships.

Mr. Ross served on the USS Mackinac in the early 1960s.

Surprisingly, much of our cooking was done from scratch. We made cakes and bread and used fresh produce as long as it lasted into the five-week patrols. In rough seas we would have to make some recipe adjustments, such as reducing the liquid called for in chocolate cake to keep it from rolling out of the pan in the oven. At breakfast we often had to turn the griddle up to 450 degrees so that when we cooked eggs over easy the whites would set immediately, allowing the yolk to roll back and forth while it cooked.

But we cooked some very good food, mostly following the recipe cards developed for the Navy and Marines in 1963. The crew ate meals on the mess deck located below the galley, where tables with benches were bolted to the floor and the food was sent down in a dumbwaiter. Our walk-in freezer and dry stores were located in the hold three decks below and required treacherous trips up and down the ladders.

After a year aboard ship I went to the Coast Guard Commissary School for 16 weeks and was then assigned to the Short Beach lifeboat station near Jones Beach. The station had 21 men and three rescue boats. It was very different from the ship in that I was able to write my own menus and purchase ingredients from local sources.

On weekends during the boating season we had many Coast Guard auxiliary officers on hand to help with law enforcement and rescue operations. These people would often have clambakes on the beach and it introduced me to Long Island’s wonderful bounty of seafood.

After a year at this station I was transferred to Governor’s Island, where I became a food service instructor at the Commissary School. This school consisted of intense four-week segments including classroom theory, meat handling, baking and production, which had us serving meals to the other schools on the island. I was able to teach all four segments and discovered later in my career as a chef that these lessons in the fundamentals of cooking were a great asset. At the time it was just another duty station, although a beautiful one, as my wife and I actually lived on Governor’s Island during the last year of my enlistment.

Here are some updated, small-quantity versions of Coast Guard and Navy classics.

Creamed Beef (‘S.O.S.’)

Spray a large sauté pan with no-stick and place it on medium high heat. Add 1 pound of ground chuck and break it up with a spoon as it cooks. While it is still pink, add 1 chopped onion, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. As the onions cook, add 1/4 cup flour and stir it into the meat to form a roux. Slowly add 2 cups milk, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning.

This dish can be served over toast or buttermilk biscuits.

Serves 4-6.

Stuffed Peppers (‘S.I.S.’)

Begin by making a stewed tomato sauce. Trim the ends off of 6 plum tomatoes and cut them into 1/4-inch dice. Place them in a saucepan along with 1/2 cup chopped celery, 1/2 cup chopped onion and 1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper. Season with 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Let the mixture simmer for 20 minutes and add 1 small can of tomato sauce.

Cut the tops off of 6 bell peppers. For appearance, use 2 green, 2 red and 2 yellow peppers. Cut out the insides and cut the bottoms so that they stand up. Combine in a large bowl 1 pound of ground meatloaf meat (beef, pork, veal) and 2 chopped chorizo sausages. Add to this 1 cup chopped onion, 2 tablespoons catsup, 1 tablespoon chopped oregano, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.

Blanch 1 cup brown rice in boiling water for 15 minutes, drain and add to the meat mixture. Stuff this mixture into the peppers and place them in a deep casserole. Pour the sauce over them, cover and bake in a 350-degree oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Serves 6.

Old-Fashioned Navy Bean Soup 

Purchase 1 pound of dried navy beans and rinse them under cold water. Place them in a soup pot and cover with 2 quarts water. Bring them to a boil and turn off the heat. Cover the pot and let rest for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, dice 4 ounces of salt pork and cook at medium heat in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed soup pot. When it has turned brown and released its fat, add 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped ribs of celery and 2 chopped carrots. Continue cooking and add 2 tablespoons fresh chopped oregano and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme.

Drain the navy beans, saving 2 cups of the cooking liquid. Add the beans to the soup pot along with 4 cups chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add 1 bay leaf, 1 can (15 ounces) of chopped tomatoes and a smoked ham hock. Season with 1 teaspoon black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Cook uncovered at simmering temperature until beans are tender, adding the reserved liquid as the broth evaporates. Total cooking time should be about 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the ham hock, cut off the meat and add it to the soup. Add 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar and a little salt to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley.

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].

09/19/11 8:35am
09/19/2011 8:35 AM

JOHN ROSSS PHOTO | Roasted corn-pumpkin chowder by John Ross

Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps;
And your cider-makin’s over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too!
I don’t know how to tell it — but if sich a thing could be
As the Angels wantin’ boardin’, and they’d call around on me —
I’d want to ’commodate ’em — all the whole-indurin’ flock —
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!
From “When the Frost is on the Punkin” by James Whitcomb Riley

We know that the pumpkin was one of the first foods cultivated by Native Americans. It became known as one of the “three sisters,” which included maize, beans and squash. And even though the apple came much later to America (it was introduced by colonists), we are now the world’s second biggest producer. We also have much folklore associated with the apple, from Johnny Appleseed to apple pie.

Autumn begins today and the pumpkin and apple play a huge part on the North Fork in the fall. Not only do we see the beautiful colors of pumpkins along the roadside, we smell the delicious aroma of apples.
The apple tree is perhaps the earliest tree to be cultivated by man. The wild apple originated in Asia, where Alexander the Great is said to have found them in 328 BCE. The nutritive value of eating apples is legendary. Low in calories, high in dietary fiber, they contain no saturated fat or cholesterol. They are rich in vitamin C, antioxidants and tartaric acid. While they’re best for you when eaten raw with the skin on, we also know that cooked apples are delicious and form an important part of our cuisine. Here are some examples.

Roasted Corn-Pumpkin Chowder

Cut one half of a cheese pumpkin into large chunks. After removing the seeds, take a sharp paring knife and peel off the skin, leaving about 1 pound of 2-inch squares of pumpkin. Toss them in 1 tablespoon of canola oil and place them on a sheet pan. Place 6 shucked ears of corn on the same pan and brush them lightly with oil. Roast at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool slightly and cut the pumpkin into half-inch cubes. Cut the corn kernels off the cob and set aside.

Cook 5 strips of bacon in a heavy soup pot and remove. Chop the bacon and set aside. Dice one Spanish onion and one red pepper and sauté until soft in the bacon fat. Dice 6 or 8 fingerling potatoes (about 3/4 pound), leaving the skin on. Add to the soup pot along with 5 cups chicken broth. Season with 2 teaspoons sea salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1 bay leaf and 3 sprigs of fresh thyme. Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes, and add the diced pumpkin and cut corn. Continue cooking another 15 minutes and add 1 cup heavy cream. Check for seasoning and serve.

Garnish with the chopped bacon and grated sharp cheddar cheese.
Serves 4-6.

Baked Apple Dumplings

Begin by making a sauce. Place 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan with 1 cinnamon stick and 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg. Bring to a boil and stir in 2 tablespoons cold butter. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Whisk together 2 cups flour with 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt. Cut in 2/3 cup shortening with a pastry blender or fork until it looks like coarse meal. Sprinkle 1/2 cup ice water over the mixture and work it in gently with a fork. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead into a smooth dough. Press this into a flat cylinder and wrap in plastic film. Refrigerate while preparing the apples.

Peel 6 small apples (such as Jonagolds), cut them in half through the stems and remove the cores. Put the apple halves in ice water.

Combine 6 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon cinnamon and 1 teaspoon nutmeg in a small bowl. On a floured surface, roll out the refrigerated dough into a 12- by 18-inch rectangle. Cut the dough into 6 equal squares. Hold two apple halves together and place them in the center of one of the squares. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the sugar mixture over the top of the apple and place a small slice of butter on top. Moisten the edges of the dough with water and fold the corners to the center, pinching the seams together. Repeat for each apple and place the dumplings in a shallow roasting pan. Pour the sauce over them and bake in a 375-degree oven for 35 minutes.Remove, let cool slightly, and serve with vanilla ice cream.
Serves 6.

Apple Caramel Rum Cake

Spread 1 tablespoon soft butter in a 10-inch Bundt pan. Dust with flour and set aside.
Whisk together 3 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. With an electric mixer, beat 3 large eggs with 2 cups sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract until pale yellow in color, about 3 minutes. Slowly beat in 1 1/2 cups canola oil and 2 tablespoons Myers’s rum. Incorporate the dry ingredients at slow speed.

Peel, core and grate 4 Jonamac apples and fold into the cake batter. Chop 1 cup pecans and fold into the batter. Pour the batter into the Bundt pan and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes. (A skewer should come out clean and the cake should be receding from the sides of the pan.) Remove and cool for about 15 minutes before cutting around the edge and inverting the cake onto a cake rack.

While the cake cools, place 1/4 pound butter into a saucepan with 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, 1 tablespoon milk and 1 tablespoon Myers’s rum. Bring to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes. The sauce will get thick as it cooks. Spoon the sauce over the warm cake while still on the rack. Place the cake on a plate and spoon any extra sauce over all.
Serves 8.

Buttermilk Apple Rings

Whisk together 1 egg and 1/2 cup buttermilk. Fold in 1 cup flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Peel, core and cut into quarter-inch rings three Jonagold apples. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons canola oil in a heavy sauté pan. Dip the apple rings in the batter and fry in the hot butter until puffy and golden.

Turn and cook briefly on the other side and remove to a plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and serve with ice cream or serve as a garnish for pork chops without the sugar.
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 protected]

10/25/10 2:35pm
10/25/2010 2:35 PM

What ‘meat’ this is, I cannot say,
Upon my plate, a slab of gray.
The texture doesn’t give a clue,
But makes it not much fun to chew.
I wonder, did it cluck or moo?
Or oink or baa? Or bark or mew?
What meat this is, I’ll never know.
It sure is mighty tasty, though!
“Mom’s Meatloaf” by Gregory K.

Meatloaf is one of American’s most popular comfort foods. It is simply ground meat (beef, pork, veal or poultry) formed into a loaf shape and baked in the oven. It can be cooked in a loaf pan like bread or just placed on a sheet pan and roasted. Meatloaf often contains vegetables such as onions, celery, carrots and mushrooms and is bound together by eggs. It is “extended” by the addition of bread crumbs, wheat germ or oatmeal and seasoned with a variety of herbs and spices. Sometimes hard-boiled eggs are placed in the center. It lends itself to many sauces and garnishes, from ketchup to mushroom sauce to tomato sauce.
A precursor to meatloaf in America is scrapple, which was introduced by the Dutch colonists in Pennsylvania more than 200 years ago. Scrapple is a mush of pork scraps and trimmings combined with cornmeal and flour. It is formed into a loaf, chilled and then sliced and pan fried. It is served at breakfast and is still widely available in the Pennsylvania Dutch country near Philadelphia.
The most upscale version of meatloaf is the French “pâté de campagne,” or country paté. Pork and veal are ground along with liver and pork fat. The mixture is flavored with cognac and spices such as cinnamon, coriander, cloves and allspice. It is bound together by a panade of flour and eggs and placed in a terrine mold. Garnishes such as pistachio nuts, ham and tongue are placed down the middle and the terrine is slow-cooked in a water bath. It is chilled and served with cornichons and coarse mustard. More elaborate versions will contain truffles and be encased in puff pastry (pâté en croûte).
Here are some modern recipes for these comfort foods:

German Meatloaf (Falscher Hase)
Place 1 1/2 pounds of fresh ground meatloaf mix (pork, veal and beef) in a large bowl. Place 4 eggs in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, cool under cold water, peel and set aside.
To the ground meat add 1 cup chopped onion, 1 tablespoon coarse-grain mustard, 1 tablespoon horseradish, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1/4 cup chopped parsley, 2 teaspoons coarse salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Add 3 tablespoons cold water and 2 lightly beaten eggs. Mix together thoroughly with your hands.
Place a sheet of aluminum foil on the counter and flatten the meat mixture on the foil. Form it into a rectangle about 8 inches by 10 inches. Place the hard-boiled eggs down the middle and draw up the sides of the foil so the meat forms a cylinder. Press the meat together, wrap it in the foil and place it on a sheet pan. Remove the foil and put three strips of bacon on top of the meatloaf. Roast in a 300-degree oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature reads 165 degrees on a thermometer. Cool briefly and cut into thick slices. Serve with sweet gherkins and sauerkraut if desired.
Serves 4.

Pennsylvania Dutch Scrapple
Place 3 fresh ham hocks in 3 quarts of water along with 1 peeled onion stuck with 6 cloves. Bring to a boil and add 2 pounds fresh pork butt and simmer for 2 1/2 hours. Remove the meat and cool. Reserve the broth.
Separate the meat from the bones and fat and chop coarsely. Set aside 1 quart of broth and add the chopped meat to the remainder. Season with 1 tablespoon coarse salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add 1 tablespoon ground sage and bring to a boil. Mix 3 cups of cornmeal into the reserved broth and add it to the boiling meat. Reduce the heat and stir until it becomes thick. Cover and cook at very low heat for 20 minutes.
Line two 9-inch loaf pans with plastic film and fill with the cornmeal/meat mixture. Cover with the plastic film and refrigerate overnight. Remove and take off the film. Cut into slices and coat with flour. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large sauté pan and fry the scrapple slices. Serve for breakfast with scrambled eggs and toast.
Serves 8.

PÂté de Campagne
Place 1 1/2 pounds of ground meatloaf mix in a large bowl. Dice 4 strips of bacon and add to ground meat. Sauté 1 cup chopped onion and 3 chicken livers in 2 tablespoons butter and cool. Chop the livers and add with onions to the ground meat along with 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon coriander and 1 teaspoon ground allspice. Mix together with your hands until all ingredients are well blended.
Combine 1 egg, 1/4 cup heavy cream and 1/4 cup cognac in a small bowl. Add to the meat mixture and blend it in with your hands. Add 1 cup shelled pistachio nuts to the mixture and blend. Line a 9-inch loaf pan with 8 bacon slices so they overlap on the sides. Fill the loaf pan half full of the meat mixture.
Place 1-inch-thick slices of raw duck breast down the middle (you can substitute ham) and fill the pan with the remaining meat mixture. Fold the bacon slices over the top and cover tightly with foil. Puncture a hole in the top with a skewer to let out steam. Place the loaf pan in a large roasting pan and put it in a 300-degree oven. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan so that it reaches halfway up the sides of the loaf pan. Cook for about 2 hours, or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees when inserted in the middle. Remove the pâté from the oven and place a weight on the top to compress it (small full cans work well). Place the pâté in the refrigerator overnight.
To remove the loaf from the pan, dip the pan in hot water and cut around the sides with a paring knife. Bang it upsidedown on a sheet pan and when it slides out, trim off any waste along the sides and ends. Place it on a cutting board and cut into quarter-inch slices. Serve with little cornichon pickles and coarse mustard.
Serves 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. E-mail: [email protected]

10/11/10 2:24pm
10/11/2010 2:24 PM

“In the storm-tossed Chilean sea lives the rosy conger, giant eel of snowy flesh. And in Chilean stewpots, along the coast, was born the chowder, thick and succulent, a boon to man. You bring the conger, skinned, to the kitchen (its mottled skin slips off like a glove, leaving the grape of the sea exposed to the world), naked, the tender eel glistens, prepared to serve our appetites. Now you take garlic, first, caress that precious ivory, smell its irate fragrance, then blend the minced garlic with onion and tomato until the onion is the color of gold. Meanwhile steam our regal ocean prawns, and when they are tender, when the savor is set in a sauce combining the liquors of the ocean and the clear water released from the light of the onion, then you add the eel that it may be immersed in glory, that it may steep in the oils of the pot, shrink and be saturated. Now all that remains is to drop a dollop of cream into the concoction, a heavy rosé, then slowly deliver the treasure to the flame, until in the chowder are warmed the essences of Chile, and to the table come, newly wed, the savors of land and sea, that in this dish you may know heaven.”
“Ode to Conger Chowder”
by Pablo Neruda

The passion of the poet for his native Chile is not unlike the passion of our chefs for their local chowders. On Sept. 26 at the Greenport Maritime Festival, eight chowders competed in the annual chowder contest and were served to about a thousand hungry patrons. The steaming pots created a beautiful aroma of the sea. And they were all excellent versions of an old North Fork tradition. Here are some recipes from these chefs. (I have made some minor recipe alterations to suit the needs of the home cook.)

Indian Summer
Striped Bass Chowder
A Mano Restaurant, Mattituck
chef Tom Schaudel
Winner — Best in Show
Dice 4 ounces of pancetta and brown at medium heat in a heavy soup pot. Add 2 tablespoons butter along with 1 1/2 cups diced onion, 1 cup diced celery, 1 cup diced celery root, half of a red pepper and half of a yellow pepper, diced. Season with 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves and 2 bay leaves. Cook at low heat until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons flour and cook until roux smells “nutty.” Stir in 5 cups fish stock and simmer until lightly thickened. (Fish stock can be purchased at local fish markets.) Add 1 pound of diced fingerling potatoes (do not peel) and simmer for 10 minutes. Add 2 pounds of skinless, boneless striped bass that has been cut into 2-inch chunks. Simmer another 5 minutes and remove from the heat. Allow to set for 10 minutes.
Make a pumpkin/corn relish to garnish the chowder by heating 1 tablespoon olive oil and adding 1 cup diced pumpkin. Sauté briefly and add 1/3 cup diced red onion, 1 cup fresh corn kernels, 2 tablespoons each of minced red and yellow pepper, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil and remove from the heat. Sprinkle over the chowder at service time.
Garnish the chowder with bread sticks or chowder crackers.

New England Clam Chowder
Townsend Manor Inn, Greenport
chef Ian Crowley
Winner — People’s Choice Award
Brown 4 ounces of diced salt pork in a heavy soup pot. Add 2 tablespoons butter along with 1 cup diced leeks, 1 cup diced celery, 1/2 cup diced scallion and 1 cup diced white onion. Cook until vegetables are soft, then add 1/4 cup flour.
Open 12 fresh chowder clams, reserving the liquor (or steam the clams open in 1 cup water). Add this clam liquor and 2 cups fish stock to the pot, stirring until lightly thickened. Add 2 cups diced Yukon Gold potatoes and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Chop the reserved clams and add along with 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano. Simmer on low heat and add 1 quart half-and-half. Season with coarse salt and black pepper to taste.

Manhattan Clam Chowder
Southold Fish Market
chef Charlie Manwaring
In a heavy soup pot sauté 4 ounces chopped bacon until cooked through. Add 3 stalks celery, diced; 1 medium onion, diced; and 1 diced carrot. Cook until soft. Open 18 chowder clams and reserve the juice (or steam open 18 chowder clams in 2 cups water). Add 1 quart clam juice or broth, 1 diced potato and 1 shredded potato. Simmer until potatoes are tender and add 1 small can diced tomatoes, 4 ounces tomato paste, 1 bay leaf and a pinch of both oregano and basil. Chop the reserved clams and add to the chowder. Add 1 teaspoon ground black pepper and simmer 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning and serve.

Good Ground Clam Chowder
Dark Horse Restaurant, Riverhead
chef Jeff Trujillo
Steam 12 large chowder clams in 1 cup water, reserving both clams and broth. Chop the clams and reserve. Slice 3 strips of thick-sliced, applewood-smoked bacon into quarter-inch strips and sweat with 1 diced Spanish onion until soft but not brown. Add 1 quart water and 4 medium-size russet potatoes cut into quarter-inch dice. Bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes. Cut the kernels off of 3 ears of sweet corn and add to the pot. Add 2 quarts of milk and return to a simmer. Add the chopped clams and their liquid. Season with salt and black pepper to taste and garnish with chopped parsley.
Good Ground is the old name for Hampton Bays.

Corn and Lobster Chowder
The Portly Grape , Greenport
chef John Norton
Split 2 lobsters, removing the head sac and cracking the claws. Shuck 4 ears of corn. Place the lobsters and shucked corn on a sheet pan and brush with olive oil. Roast at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove both from the oven and remove the meat from the lobster and cut the kernels off the corn.
Place the corn husks in a stock pot with the lobster bodies and cover with 1 quart vegetable broth. Add a sachet bag consisting of a bay leaf, 2 sprigs of thyme, 1 sprig of rosemary and 6 peppercorns. Simmer 1 hour and remove corn husks, sachet bag and lobster bodies.
In a separate soup pot melt 2 tablespoons butter and heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 1 cup chopped onions, 1/2 cup chopped leeks, 1 cup chopped celery and 1 cup diced white turnips. Sauté 10 minutes and deglaze with 1/2 cup white wine and 1/4 cup cognac. Add the stock to this mixture along with 1 cup chopped canned tomatoes, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, a pinch of saffron and 1 teaspoon sliced fresh ginger. Add back half the reserved corn (save the rest for garnish) and 1 cup heavy cream. Simmer for 15 minutes and purée in a food processor. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
For the garnish, chop the cooked lobster meat and 4 ounces cooked chorizo sausage. Combine with reserved corn and a little chopped chervil. Sprinkle over each portion of chowder and serve.

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]