Chef Marco Canora enjoys the relaxed pace of the Hamptons and celebrates its bounty with a black rice seafood risotto.
Chef Marco Canora is inspired by the East End’s “terroir”—which is also the namesake for two of his Manhattan wine bars. For him, the Hamptons is about the surroundings, the smell of the salty air, and the beautiful landscape that helps him create simple dishes using classic Italian ingredients like tomatoes, zucchini, and fresh herbs—all staples for the summer season out here.
What has been your favorite experience on the East End? MARCO CANORA: Tom Colicchio’s 50th birthday party in 2012. Roasting whole hogs on a spit, drinking local wine, live music, including Hefe Colicchio playing the guitar. It was the perfect way to spend a summer afternoon.
If you could cook with anyone, who would it be? MC: I’m a bit of a Japan-ophile. To spend a few days cooking with some sushi master like Masa Takayama or Daisuke Nakazawa would be tremendous.
What inspires you in the Hamptons? MC: The terroir—the weather, the landscape, the light.
When you’re not cooking, how do you spend a summer day out East? MC: I am happy frolicking on the beach all day, building sand castles with my daughters, reading, swimming, sleeping, and eating.
What is your favorite place on the East End? MC: I’m partial to the North Fork: less traffic and more chilled-out.
The place to buy ingredients is… MC: The roadside farmstand. Best value and quality for your money.
What is your must-visit Hamptons restaurant? MC: The North Fork Table & Inn is without question the place to go.
Do you have a favorite summer ingredient? MC: I look forward to classic Italian components: tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, basil, and my all-time favorite food—blueberry pie!
Black Rice Seafood Risotto
Serves 4 to 6
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
1 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 dried peperoncini (or ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes), minced
1 medium yellow onion, minced
5 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tbsp.)
2 cups black rice
Fine-grain sea salt
¾ cup dry white wine
1 pound cleaned calamari, rinsed in cool water and cut into 1/8-inch-thick rings
½ pound (21-25 count) shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped into small pieces
1 cup halved grape tomatoes
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Boil 10 cups of water, then reduce heat to a simmer. Pile the lemon zest on the parsley and finely chop them together. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat and add the peperoncini, onion, and garlic, stirring to coat with the oil.
Fry for 1 minute, then reduce the heat to medium-high and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rice and a pinch of salt, stirring to coat the rice with the oil and onions. Toast the rice for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the wine. Let it bubble, stirring for 3 minutes, until it’s absorbed. Add 2 cups of hot water and cook for 12 minutes, stirring and scraping rice from the sides, until the liquid is mostly absorbed.
Add just enough hot water to cover the rice and stir every couple of minutes, until the broth is incorporated and the rice is almost dry, 10 to 12 minutes. Continue adding hot water just to cover the rice, stirring occasionally and waiting until the water is absorbed to add more, about 30 minutes. Stirring more frequently, continue adding the remaining hot water to cover the rice, about ½ cup at a time, about every 5 minutes for 10 to 15 minutes, until it’s absorbed. The rice should be firm but tender.
Add the calamari, shrimp, tomatoes, and a big pinch of salt. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon parsley mixture and the lemon juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOCELYN FILLEY (CANORA); MICHAEL HARLAN TURKELL/HARLANTURK.COM (RISOTTO)