Winner of Iron Chef America and a judge on Chopped, Alex Guarnaschelli creates fantastic summer fare from locally grown Hamptons produce.
After spending most of her time at her New York City–based restaurant, Butter, and on the set of Food Network’s Chopped, Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli approaches her time in the Hamptons with an open mind and a large appetite. Whether she’s using ingredients from her own yard or fresh produce from Round Swamp Farm or Pike Farms, this East Ender enjoys the splendors of the local seasonal bounty.
Best beach spot: It’s a tie: Sagg Main for the ocean, and Ditch Plains, where I like to drink coffee, daydream, and watch surfers.
Favorite people to visit: Mark Mullett and Keith Bloomfield, because they love to cook and eat great food! And I like the wallpaper in their downstairs bathroom.
Best summer hosts: Chef Marc Murphy and his wife, Pam, because they are wonderful people, and they throw parties with delicious paella, tacos, and great views of the water.
Best farmstand: Balsam Farms for eggplant, kale, and berries, and Round Swamp for tomatoes and its freshly baked pies—evil!
In your spare time… My friends Bruce and Karen Bronster are avid “yarders,” and I find myself addicted to [yard sales, too], like a sport! That and cooking up whatever looks good at the farmstands.
Most-used summer ingredient: Strawberries, rhubarb, and garlic scapes.
This summer’s cocktail: Just had a delicious (and dry) Wölffer Estate Riesling called The Grapes of Roth. A spritzer with that, a dash of honey, a squeeze of lime juice, and sparkling water—beyond refreshing. Otherwise, I’m all about a gin and tonic with a few sprigs of muddled lemon thyme.
Best memory? My first happy hour at Cyril’s Fish House.
Who’s at your table? I neither dine, nor kiss, and tell...
What’s on the table? Tomato salad, kale salad, roast chicken, charred leeks with lemon, grilled littleneck clams with oregano, and blueberry pie.
What’s in your garden this summer? Herbs are big for me and hard to screw up—even if you don’t have a green thumb. I love going out and clipping herbs, then dropping them into the dish as it cooks. I just planted some summer savory, French tarragon, and lemon thyme.
Go-to kitchen tool: My trusty cast-iron skillet. I love an old-school garlic press, too.
Favorite places to eat in the Hamptons: Bostwick’s Chowder House for corn; Hampton Chutney Co. for soup, chai tea, and dosas [sourdough crepes]; Sant Ambroeus for a little artichoke panini and any soup it makes, ever; Sip’n Soda for scrambled eggs and rye toast at the counter.
Best-kept secret? While you may go to Conca D’Oro in Sag Harbor for tasty pizza without fanfare, have you had the eggplant Parm?
Favorite hidden spot out East: While not entirely hidden, Duryea’s Lobster Deck and Seafood Market is one of my faves.