Let’s Cook! Seize The Summer Day
by Alison Boyd & William Sertl
The asparagus is dead. Long live the peas.
Sugar-snap peas and the regular kind (a.k.a. English peas) are at farm stands right now. For our post-Memorial Day menu, they go into a make-ahead salad with fragrant Basmati rice and might be some kind of compensation for our beloved asparagus going away.
The barbecue, which we’re rolling out for the first time this year, is also some compensation for the missing asparagus. (Who gives a spear about asparagus when up against the thrill of the grill?)
In our recipe, the flavors of soy sauce, lemon, and Dijon mustard take off minutes after marinated chicken lands above the flames.
We were also thinking: What is so rare as a day in June without strawberries? To be safe, we threw them in for dessert.
Long live those strawberries, until the peaches are ripe.
Grilled Lemon Chicken Paillard
Hot-off-the-grill chicken tastes great over greens or sprinkled with herbs. But best is a topping of colorful nutrition-packed microgreens, really packed—little atoms, full of energy waiting to explode. Out East, microgreens are grown by Koppert Cress in Cutchogue; KK’s The Farm in Southold; and Good Water Farms in Amagansett.
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 tsp light-brown sugar
I cup olive oil
Mix the garlic, mustard, lemon juice, soy sauce, and sugar in a bowl and mix well. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until thoroughly blended. Put cutlets in a heavy Ziploc bag, pour in the marinade, and refrigerate for 4-10 hours.
6 thinly sliced chicken cutlets
Salt and pepper
Oil the grate of a gas or charcoal grill and heat to medium. Remove chicken cutlets from marinade and grill over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes on each side until firm to the touch. Remove chicken to a platter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let meat rest for five minutes before topping with herbs, arugula, or micro-greens.
Basmati Rice and Vegetable Salad
Each of the components of this recipe must be made at various times in advance and combined an hour before serving. Think of it as one big make-ahead dish.
Creamy Dill Caper Dressing
2 egg yolks, room temperature
1 Tbs white-wine vinegar
2 tsp pickling liquid from a jar of capers
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup olive oil
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
I small shallot, minced
2 Tbs dill, minced
1 Tbs capers, minced
Place yolks, a pinch of salt, vinegar, caper pickling liquid, and lemon juice in a food processor and pulse until well-blended. Very slowly and with motor running, add the olive oil in a thin stream through the feed tube until the ingredients come together and thicken to the creamy texture of mayonnaise. (Scrape down the sides if mixture is not emulsifying.) Transfer to a bowl and stir in mustard, minced shallot, dill, and capers. Refrigerate at least 8 hours to allow flavors to meld. For a simpler version, add the same amounts of shallot, dill, capers, and Dijon mustard to 1 cup of mayonnaise.
8 oz sugar-snap peas, trimmed
I cup shelled and cooked English peas (or frozen)
2 medium-size carrots, cut into a julienne of two-inch “matchsticks”
2 cups Toscano (Lacinato) kale, finely sliced and with tough ribs removed
6 scallions, thinly sliced, green and white parts only
Blanch the sugar snap and English peas in a pan of lightly salted boiling water for 1 minute. Strain and rinse under cold water to stop further cooking. Refrigerate until cold.
1½ cup Basmati rice
The day before serving the salad, cook the rice and let it cool before mixing it with ½ teaspoon of salt and a ½ cup of dressing. Refrigerate overnight.
At least four hours before serving, place all vegetables in a large bowl. Pour over the remaining dressing and refrigerate. One hour before serving, combine the vegetables and rice. Place in a serving bowl or platter and garnish with dill sprigs.
Strawberry Crumble Sundae
Long live this dessert, which delivers home-baked taste when you don’t have time to make a shortbread or pie. The crumble topping can be made up to 5 days ahead and stored in an airtight container in a cool place (but not in the fridge, which can make it go soggy). Serve the dessert layered in sundae dishes, cocktail glasses, or cut-glass tumblers.
I pint of strawberries, hulled
3 Tbs superfine sugar
1½ cups heavy cream
I pint vanilla ice cream
Slice the strawberries in half. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar and marinate for at least 30 minutes. Whip the cream with 1 tablespoon of sugar, until thick.
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp grated nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon
14 Tbs (2 Tbs shy of two sticks) butter, chilled and cubed
1/3 cup rolled oats
Preheat the oven to 360 degrees. Blend flour, salt, and spices in a food processor until mixed through. Add butter and oats, pulsing to the consistency of coarse breadcrumbs. Spread an even layer of the mixture on a 12×17 baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, until golden brown. (Give a gentle stir halfway through, right on the baking sheet, to prevent the layer from getting too brown.) Remove from oven and cool completely before setting aside.
Place a spoonful of strawberries in the bottom of each glass. Follow with a dollop of whipped cream, a layer of crumble, and a scoop of softened ice cream. Repeat crumble layer and add more strawberries. Top each sundae with whipped cream and a sprinkle of crumble.
Herbed Goat Cheese and Radish Bruschetta
Fresh herbs are another joy of early summer. We went for chives and parsley with a hint of thyme and mint, but dill and basil also hit the right note. Radishes are at their sharp, juicy best. Prepare at least a day in advance and up to three days ahead to allow flavors to meld. Pass these toast rounds around just before lighting the grill.
Goat Cheese Spread
8 oz soft local goat cheese
4 oz mascarpone cheese
2 Tbs heavy cream
2 Tbs chives, finely chopped
¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp mint, finely chopped
½ tsp thyme, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
Blend goat cheese, mascarpone, and heavy cream in a food processor. Add herbs and pulse until mixed through. Add a few twists of black pepper. Taste the spread before adding salt, as some goat cheeses can be overly salty.
Toast Rounds & Assembly
6 red radishes, very thinly sliced into half moons
Extra-virgin olive oil
Slice the baguette into ½-inch rounds and toast lightly on both sides. Cool slightly. Spread each slice with a generous layer of goat cheese spread. Top with radish slices and arrange on a serving platter. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil.
Alison Boyd ran a catering business in her native London before working as a private chef in Bridgehampton. She has since decamped to the North Fork where she cooks frequently with William Sertl, Culture Editor of the Beacon and former travel editor of Saveur and Gourmet magazines. Every Thursday, before their spouses arrive for the weekend, they dine out and plot their next home-cooked meal.