Jonathan Waxman: Hamptons Favorites, Summer Salad Recipe
by scott feldman
Chef Jonathan Waxman.
I have had the pleasure of calling Jonathan Waxman a friend for more than 15 years and, after all that time, I’m still inspired by the chef known as the “Obi-Wan Kenobi” of the restaurant industry, a nickname he earned during Top Chef Masters. He’s also an inspiration to chefs across the country thanks to the uncomplicated yet extraordinarily flavorful dishes he’s shared in cookbooks like Italian, My Way. Time spent together is always fun, whether we’re at his famed restaurant Barbuto in New York or out East where you’ll likely find him manning the grill at his home with a glass of rosé in hand or dining with dear friends and family at his favorite restaurant, Nick & Toni’s.
What is your earliest Hamptons memory?
JONATHAN WAXMAN: My first real Hamptons experience was the summer I hired a bus with other cooks, sous chefs, and chefs from New York, loaded it up with food and wine, and headed to the East Hampton House for two days of rest and relaxation. I played tennis with Wolfgang Puck as my partner.
What are your favorite local ingredients?
JW: The local corn is some of the world’s best. Also my favorite, peas, from the little stand on Sayres Path in Wainscott.
What is your fondest East End memory?
JW: I have a picture of my daughter, Hannah, walking with me on the beach near Jeff Salaway and Toni Ross’s house. I am just strolling along, but I know what’s coming: an amazing lunch at Jeff and Toni’s of grilled clams, oysters, lobsters, and my succotash. I don’t think there’s anything better than succotash from Wainscott.
Summer Squash Salad (serves 4)
3 medium summer squashes
1 cup crushed Marcona almonds
Extra virgin olive oil
1 piece Parmesan to grate
Salt and pepper to taste
Lightly toast almonds in a dry pan over medium-low heat for 3 minutes. Immediately season with a pinch of salt. Set aside to cool. Shave summer squash lengthwise 1/16th inch thick on a mandolin. The squash should be thin enough to easily fold but thick enough to hold its shape. Lay almonds between two pieces of parchment paper and gently crush with a heavy rolling pin or a pan. Place squash in a mixing bowl. Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil. Gently toss to keep the squash intact. Gently fold in crushed almonds and grated Parmesan.
Serve, and enjoy.
To read more of Feldman’s interview with Waxman, stay tuned on our East End Eats blog.