Marcus Samuelsson's Summer Salad
by Scott Feldman
For years culinary maestro Marcus Samuelsson has inspired me and others to transcend borders and cross boundaries through incredible food and books like his new memoir Yes, Chef. To celebrate its release, Samuelsson recently hosted a four-course dinner at The Backyard Restaurant at Montauk’s Solé East Resort, and on July 21, you’ll find him whipping up his white gazpacho at the James Beard Foundation’s annual Chefs & Champagne New York event at Wölffer Estate Vineyard and Stables. His favorite East End activity when he’s not in the kitchen? Antiquing with his wife, Maya, in Montauk, a place that’s dear to his heart as “it reminds me so much of summers growing up in Smögen, Sweden,” he says.
Who first inspired you to cook?
My grandmother. Every time I went by her house, she was always in the kitchen or the backyard working with food.
What is your favorite local restaurant out East?
I love the lobster rolls at Clam Bar in Napeague.
You spend a lot of time in the Hamptons at charitable events. What makes them so special?
It’s wonderful to meet local chefs and restaurateurs at events like Chefs & Champagne and the Apollo Theater summer benefit. And I appreciate the laid-back vibe out East.
What is your quintessential summer outing and who is at the table?
Soccer with my buddies, then a barbecue afterwards with our wives and girlfriends.
Tomato and Watermelon Salad with Almond Vinaigrette
2 tbsp. sliced almonds
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tsp. harissa
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. sherry vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 cup watermelon, cut into ½ -inch cubes
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. torn Italian parsley
2 tbsp. torn mint leaves
1 tbsp. capers, rinsed
½ tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper
6 heirloom tomatoes, roughly chopped (about 2½ pounds)
½ cup goat cheese, crumbled
To make the vinaigrette, combine the almonds, garlic, and harissa in a small sauté pan over medium heat and sauté for 3 minutes. Remove from heat. In a separate bowl, combine the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, and shallots. Whisk in the almond-harissa mixture. Toss the watermelon, jalapeno, parsley, mint, and capers in a large bowl. Season with salt and a few grindings of fresh pepper. Add the tomatoes, and toss with the vinaigrette. Garnish with goat cheese, and serve immediately.