Just because we were working 16-hour days in the hot sun shooting our book for a week…Just because we were in a house full of insomniac women who slept on average 4 hours a night…Just because there was no amount of Tiger Balm and groaning that would relieve our sciatic torture and tingling appendages…Just because we didn’t wash our hair or shave our legs for a week…Just because we looked like Medusa’s less-attractive sister after a binge and a street fight…DOES NOT MEAN WE DID NOT EAT LIKE CIVILIZED LADIES EVERY SINGLE DAY.
That’s right. We may not have looked beautiful, but our food did, and oh! just wait until you see Summer Cocktails.
We ate most of the set food, and took advantage of the grill, breezy evenings, and as much of the fresh produce, local seafood, wine, and spirits from the North Fork’s farms, vineyards, and distilleries as we could.
This is one of the recipes we made (twice!). Note that while lengthy, there are several tips for preparing components a day in advance.
GRILLED LOBSTER with CREAMY GRILLED CORN AND POTATO SALAD
Makes 4 generous portions
FOR THE SALAD
MAKE THE DRESSING: You can do it a day ahead
12 fresh curry leaves
½ cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons masala powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Cholula, Valentina, or Chipotle Tabasco hot sauce (or more to taste)
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
½ cup cilantro leaves and thin stems, chopped
2 scallions, chopped
Finely grated zest and juice of 2 limes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
– Cook curry leaves in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until toasted and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and crush with fingers.
– Melt 2 tablespoons of the mayonnaise in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add masala and cumin and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Scrape into bowl with curry leaves.
– Whisk in remaining ingredients and adjust seasonings to taste with condiments, salt, and pepper.
INGREDIENT NOTES: Fresh curry leaves taste nothing like curry powder. They are smoky and fragrant, adding a unique backbone of flavor to numerous Indian dishes as well as this salad. Find them online, or at a store carrying Indian goods. If unavailable, proceed with recipe, but do try them at some point. Masal powder should be easy to find in the spice aisle of the supermarket. Try the international aisles if you’re having trouble, or go to http://www.Kalustyans.com
PREP THE POTATOES: Get them grill-ready up to 24 hours in advance
24 ounces small new potatoes (red or yellow jackets), scrubbed and cut into ½-inch thick slices, or halved if very small
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
– Place potatoes in medium microwave-proof bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Toss with hands to combine.
– Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and microwave until potatoes are tender, about 8 minutes, stopping halfway through to toss and redistribute potatoes. Be sure to do this with a dish rag or oven mitts as bowl will be hot.
– Carefully remove plastic from bowl, keeping face away to prevent any steam burns. Reserve until ready for grilling.
NOTE: If boiling potatoes, scrub them but don’t slice them. Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water, adding ¼ cup salt to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, and, when cool enough to handle, slice into ½-inch-thick slices, drizzle with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Proceed with recipe.
FOR THE CORN
4 ears corn, shucked
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
– Heat grill to high and with grill scraper and brush, clean grates. Brush corn with oil and season with salt. Grill corn until charred in spots, rotating with grill tongs every 2 minutes. Transfer to wide bowl.
BRING OUT THE POTATOES: Once corn is off grill, carefully transfer potatoes with a slotted metal spatula or spoon in a single layer on the grill. There might be a few flare-ups when the oil drips onto the heat source, so do use grill-appropriate tools with long handles. Grill potatoes until marked, about 3 minutes per side, then transfer to a large bowl and cover to keep warm.
GRILL SAFETY TIP: Always open the grill while standing beside, rather than in front of it. Grill temperatures can soar beyond 500°F when closed and, especially with gas grills, when opened, heat rages out, just like infernal breath from a dragon’s mouth.
When cool enough to handle, hold corn by pointy end in a wide bowl or pie plate and, with a sharp chef’s knife, scrape off kernels by running blade firmly against the cob. Discard cob and repeat with remaining ears.
CLICK FOR A HOW-TO ON COOKING CRUSTACEANS
For this recipe you’ll need:
3 (1 ½- to 2-pound) lobsters
We were at the beach, and, if you are too, cook them in a pot of ocean water for impossibly tender, well-seasoned meat! Otherwise:
Cook lobster in a large pot of water and
½ cup salt
– Cook lobsters for 8 minutes and allow to sit for 5 minutes before you get cracking. Rinse them under cold water as some scum will inevitably have collected.
– Once the lobsters are cooked and you’ve picked out all the meat (it doesn’t matter if you have irregular bits here and there), brush it with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and grill them until bright red and marked, about 2 minutes per side. While grilling, if you like, add 6 scallions, scrubbed and brushed with oil, and 4 jalapeño peppers, scrubbed and brushed with oil, to the fire. Cook them until well charred, chop, and add to salad.
IT’S TIME TO EAT
1 head Boston/Bibb lettuce, washed and dried
1 bunch radishes, scrubbed and sliced
1 cup cilantro
– Whisk salad dressing to recombine. Combine potatoes, corn, scallions, and jalapeños (if using) in a large bowl. Drizzle salad dressing over mixture a bit at a time, stirring gently with a rubber spatula to evenly coat. Add more dressing as needed. Stir in radishes.
– Use lettuce leaves as wraps and fill with potato salad and lobster. Garnish with cilantro and serve with lime wedges. And remember, always have Maldon or other flaky salt at the table for your guests!
Looks absolutely delicious and fabulous – can’t wait to see the book AND YOU, dear Maria!! xoxo
Gorgeous!!! I guess by masala powder you mean garam masala?
Yes @chef mimi
There are different brands, of course, and the flavors are different. I have a few different ones in my cabinet and I really like Rajah brand Tandoori Masala.