It’s definitely going to be a different kind of summer this year, but there’s no reason why it can’t be delicious. My column for the 2020 summer season begins with a bit of an ode to the oyster. Back in late April, after reading the letter by Sarah and Steve Malinowski and the Fishers Island Oyster Farm family about their April Oyster Joy giveaway, I knew I would include their oyster recipes in my next column, just in case you missed them. And I’ve added a few other favorites as well.
Oysters are a succulent and sustainably farmed form of protein and they help keep our ocean waters clean. In a time when Covid has crushed restaurant demand for those tasty bivalves, we need to support Fishers Island’s own local farmers by ordering and eating more of their amazing oysters!
The Fishers Island Oysters website (where you can order oysters) contains a number of tempting recipes, including Jimmy Ski’s Oyster Dipping Sauce, Oyster Stuffing, and Sautéed Oysters with Butter and Chives by Lily Starbuck and photographed by Julie Qiu of In a Half Shell blog. If you’re new to oyster shucking, don’t be intimidated: Just follow these step-by-step instructions on how to open oysters. If you prefer yours raw, but think you’d enjoy going beyond a squeeze of lemon to dress them, try these Three Oyster Accompaniments. If you’d like to avoid the shucking process altogether, here’s a recipe for Easy Grilled Oysters, perfect for a beach picnic or grill night appetizer!
And if you have a hankering for fried oysters, try this recipe for Cornmeal Crusted Oysters with Sriracha Remoulade (that’s basically sriracha mayo), where oysters are dredged in cornmeal and fried in a cast-iron skillet. Have everything ready (chefs call that mis en place) and confirm that the oil is good and hot by dropping in a bread cube when the oil begins to shimmer. If the cube sizzles, the oil is ready for frying.
Pair up your fried oysters with Charlie Bird’s Farro Salad. This recipe is a keeper and one I keep in regular rotation. Farro is an Italian whole grain that has a nice nutty flavor and, together with arugula, radishes and a few other tasty bits, you’re sure to enjoy its preparation here.
A vegan interpretation of a classic, this Vegan Caesar Salad employs a creamy dressing and toasted chickpeas to add texture and crunch. Get more greens with Bryant Terry’s flavorful Napa Cabbage & Kale Coleslaw with Creamy Miso-Ginger Dressing. If, like me, you enjoy collecting cookbooks, you’ll want to add Bryant Terry’s latest title, Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes (Potter, 2020) to your shelf. He’s a visionary on the subject of veggies. As for getting your greens, here’s another one of Terry’s recipes that’s a favorite: his tasty take on Green Rice.
For those hot summer days when you want a salad that’s great for lunch, dinner and leftovers, make a batch of Tabbouleh with Cilantro, Lime & Grilled Shrimp. When zucchini starts flourishing with abandon later this month and into August, serve up a batch of these Zucchini Latkes with Candied Bacon Jam. Enjoy them for breakfast with eggs your favorite way, or as a main course or a side dish at dinnertime. (Hint: They freeze well, too!)
When local corn comes into season by the end of July, be sure to try Spicy Fish Tacos with Fresh Pickled Corn. These tacos can be made in the oven or on the grill and the method for quick pickled corn is easily adaptable to other veggies like radishes or cucumbers if that’s what you have on hand.
For more options at the grill, try these Tofu Skewers with Peanut Sauce or Pork Skewers with Maple Mustard Barbecue Sauce. Remember the Green Rice I mentioned above? It’s yummy and colorful as a side dish for either of these kabob recipes. And enjoy it alongside any fresh-caught fish with a recipe so simple it’s barely a recipe: Baked Flounder Fillets in Lemon-Soy Vinaigrette.
Continuing on the green theme, try Grilled Lamb Chops with Mint Sauce. Instead of my grandmother’s mint jelly to pair with the chops, here you make a sauce with the fresh mint that’s probably overgrown in your garden by now.
My last hit on the green theme is a delicious versatile green scallion sauce. In last summer’s column I espoused the virtues of Salsa Verde, which is still one of my very favorite sauces to accompany just about any grilled or baked protein. But I know you’ll enjoy the new sauce I’m adding to my list of favorites: Frances Lamb’s Ginger Scallion Sauce. The link includes a short video that will give you a laugh while you discover how dead simple this sauce is to make. Then head to the store to grab some scallions and ginger. The sauce will liven up any simple summer fare.
Give a treat to your Covid crew with a delicious homemade dessert! Try Citrus Olive Oil Cake with berries scattered on top and a little whipped cream. Or pair it with Blueberry Frozen Mousse, which makes a tasty and elegant dessert on its own, garnished with fresh blueberries and fresh mint leaves.
Lastly, here are three one-bottle cocktail recipes to enjoy for your distance drinks this summertime season, The Sweet & Spicy Paloma (with tequila), The Moonstone (with vodka) and Barefoot in the Grass (with gin).
Raise a glass to summer in all its beauty, regardless of Covid’s complexities—and please, stay safe!
Genie McPherson Trevor is the founding editor of Edible Rhody magazine, a quarterly food journal that celebrates the local, seasonal bounty of Rhode Island. Edible Rhody is a member of Edible Communities, the James Beard award-winning publishing group with over 80 local Edible magazines in print across the United States and Canada.
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