FIGS, PINE NUTS, CHEESE, AND A DRIZZLE OF HONEY

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Recipes - Summer

GRILLED RED PEPPERS WITH BASIL AND CAPERS

A tasty appetizer to serve on crostini, Italian garlic toast.

Yield: about 2 cups



3 to 4 Red and yellow peppers

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or lemon juice

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse (kosher) salt and freshly ground pepper

1 to 2 tablespoons capers in vinegar

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, stacked, rolled and "*ribboned"                                                        


1 narrow French or Italian baguette for crostini

Extra virgin olive oil and halved garlic cloves



1. Grill or broil peppers until skin is charred.

   To grill: place peppers over hot coals or gas grill and  char the skin evenly on all sides, turning as necessary, 10-12 minutes.

   To broil: Place peppers on a foil-lined cookie sheet and broil about three inches from source of heat until skins blister and blacken. Turn peppers around as necessary to char evenly on all sides, up to 15 minutes under broiler.


2. Transfer peppers to a brown paper bag, close tightly and let stand a few minutes to capture the steam. Peel peppers while still warm in a strainer over a bowl to catch the pepper juices. Remove heavy stem and seeds and discard. Clean the peppers as well as possible of the charred skin and seeds without rinsing them as precious flavored juices are lost under the running water. Place on a cutting board and cut into thin julienne strips about 1/8th inch wide.


3. To prepare the vinaigrette add remaining ingredients to the pepper juices in the bowl. Stir to mix and taste to adjust seasoning if necessary. Put into the pepper julienne and stir to mix.


To Prepare Ahead: Follow steps 1 to 3 up to several days ahead. Refrigerate covered in suitable container.


Note: To "ribbon" basil, stack clean fresh leaves, a few at a time, roll tightly then slice as thin as possible.

Want More Recipes? Read Silvia’s recipe column “The Simple Art of Cooking” every week in Dan’s Papers

FIJOLETTES or FASOLAKIA


Green beans and Tomatoes

The Greeks tend to cook their vegetables for a long time. This dish adopted by my Sephardic ancestors while living in Greece was a family favorite despite the long cooking. The flavors meld together beautifully giving the beans a spicy richness.

Serves 6



1 pound long thin string beans

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 to 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 large ripe tomatoes, cored and rinsed

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

About 3 to 4 tablespoons water

1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


1. Top and tail the string bean and rinse clean. Pat dry with paper towels and set aside.


2. Warm oil in a heavy skillet, put in onions and saute 2 to 3 minutes until transparent. Add garlic and saute 30 to 40 seconds longer. Season lightly with salt. Add the beans and cook over medium-low heat, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes. Cut tomatoes into 1-inch pieces and add to beans. Season the mixture with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and carefully stir with two large spoons. Add water; cover pan and simmer over very low heat about 25 to 30 minutes. Check the beans after 20 minutes or so if a little more water is needed in the event evaporation occurs. Sprinkle with lemon juice to taste and serve warm or at room temperature. The dish is even better the second day and reheats beautifully.

The inspiration for this simple salad came when a local friend brought me a basket of ripe, luscious figs from her Hampton Bays backyard fig tree


Yield: 6 servings



6 large fresh figs

1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

1/4 pound natural-rind nutty cheese, shaved (see below for my recommendation!)

Honey to drizzle (again, see below)



        Rinse the figs and pat dry with paper towels. Cut in half lenghtwise and divide        

        equally among six salad plates. Top the fig halves with toasted pine nuts and    

        shavings of cheese. Drizzle about 1 teaspoon of honey over each serving. Serve

        at room temperature.



Shawondasee, a natural, semi-hard rind tome cheese that paris nicely with fruit, is made by Art Ludlow, artisanal cheese maker of Mecox Bay Dairy Cheese in Bridgehampton.


For this recipe, I use honey from Mary Woltz’s Bees’ Needs, which has hives all over the East End of Long Island.

Mary Woltz at work