Chef Scott Conant's Locavore Recipes
By Haley Binn
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ZEV STARR-TAMBOR
Scott Conant shops the local farm stand for ingredients
When celebrity chef Scott Conant of Scarpetta (355 W. 14th St., NYC) fame stopped by my friend Michelle Gauthier’s Sagaponack home during his Hamptons visit this summer, an idea hatched: The following evening, he would cook a dinner for 10 guests, but Michelle and I would select the key ingredients.
|Watermelon, Goat Cheese, Tomatoes & Arugula|
The next day, the three of us headed to Pike Farm Stand, and Michelle and I each picked out our favorite fruits and vegetables. As we headed to the register, Scott’s basket was overflowing with spicy arugula, cherry tomatoes, sweet corn, sugar snap peas, crisp asparagus and juicy peaches. With these ingredients, we thought it was obvious what an Italian cook would make, but the resulting menu was anything but expected. The guests had to abide by similar rules: If you were bringing anything to the party, it had to be local. As people started arriving, so did the Tate’s cookies, chilled bottles of Croteaux rosé, bouquets of snap dragons and a sampling of Mecox Bay Dairy cheeses. Like most chefs, Scott spent the better part of the evening at the stove, teaching us how to transform farm-stand ingredients into a five-star meal, one you can readily replicate for your own Hamptons dinner party.
Watermelon, Goat Cheese, Tomatoes and Arugula
8 baby heirloom tomatoes, cut into bite-size wedges
Watermelon (just the sweetest parts), cut in batons
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
11⁄2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp. olive oil
4 tbsp. creamy goat cheese, thinned with
milk if necessary (for pourability)
10 basil leaves, torn
Marinate the tomatoes with the vinegars, olive oil and basil, and salt to taste. Plate with the watermelon and greens, then drizzle with the goat cheese and a touch more of the balsamic vinegar.
Strozzapreti with Corn, Asparagus, Chilies and Pecorino
¼ jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced (about 1⁄8-inch thick)
1 tbsp. red onion, diced
½ cup raw corn, cut off the cob
½ cup asparagus, sliced thin on a bias
2 tbsp. Pecorino Romano, grated
¾ cup Strozzapreti (about 51⁄2 oz.)
2 oz. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. parsley, chopped
Lightly sweat the jalapeño pepper for 30 seconds in a sauté pan with olive oil. Add the red onions and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the corn and asparagus and cook for an additional minute. Add 4 ounces of pasta water, then add the cooked pasta to the pan and allow to finish cooking in the pan with the water. Add Pecorino and parsley, and toss until the cheese is incorporated with the pasta.
Heirloom Tomatoes, Burrata and Peaches
4 mixed heirloom tomatoes
2 peaches, very ripe, cut into eighths
10 basil leaves, torn
Pinch of Maldon sea salt
1 tbsp. truciuleto vinegar
½ tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 oz. extra virgin olive oil
4 oz. burrata
Day-old baguette, grilled and chopped into bite-size croutons
Wash and dry the tomatoes, slice into wedges and arrange on the plate with the peaches. Sprinkle with the basil chiffonades. Give a few turns of the pepper mill over the tomatoes and peaches, then sprinkle with some Maldon salt, vinegars and olive oil. Allow to marinate for 5 to 10 minutes, then top with baby arugula, burrata and chopped croutons.
Moist Roasted Whole Red Snapper with Tomatoes, Basil and Ginger
2 ½- to 3-lb. whole (head on) red snapper, scaled and cleaned
10 whole fresh basil leaves
1 ginger, roughly chopped
4 to 5 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
3 cloves of garlic, very thinly sliced
1½ cups cherry tomatoes (about 8 oz.), cut in half
1 cup homemade or low-salt chicken broth
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Season both the inside and the outside of the fish liberally with salt and pepper. Using a very large (14-inch) sauté pan or a small roasting pan, heat about 2 tablespoons of the olive oil on medium-high until smoking. Add the fish and cook until well browned on one side, about 3 minutes. Flip the fish over and cook on the other side until well browned, about 2 minutes. Take the fi sh out of the pan and wipe the pan clean of the oil.
To the pan, add another tablespoon of olive oil, red pepper flakes, tomatoes, ginger and garlic and cook until the tomatoes begin to lose some of their liquid, about 3 to 5 minutes. Return the fish to the pan, laying it on top of the vegetables, and drizzle with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the chicken broth and cook on the stove another few minutes, basting the fish with the sauce and moving some of the tomatoes on top of the fish.
Finish cooking the fish in the oven, 18 to 19 minutes. Remove the fish from the oven and carefully transfer it to a sided platter, pouring any liquid in its cavity back into the pan, and keep the fish warm. Return the pan to the stove over medium heat and cook the sauce and vegetables for a minute or two to concentrate the flavors. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan along with the chopped basil and season with additional salt if necessary. Pour the sauce and vegetables over the fish and serve.