This column is a continuing series by Chef Peter X. Kelly of Xaviars Restaurant Group which runs every Thursday.
On an absolute spur of the moment my wife, Rica, and I had an opportunity to run up to Martha’s Vineyard for a long weekend. As it turned out it was probably the best weekend weather-wise of the summer.
The offer to visit the Vineyard came at about 1:30 am Wednesday evening at which point I called Rica and asked if she could jump on a flight out of Westchester airport at 10:30 the next morning and travel with a friend of ours. After an initial “are you crazy”, she said she's love to. I agreed to hop on a flight the next day, Friday, after I rearranged some scheduling.
Martha’s Vineyard is only an hour plane ride out of the Westchester County airport but it felt like a world away. Arriving at the airport in Edgartown I was met by our host who picked me up in a little blue Volkswagen four-door, four-speed convertible circa 1988.
The house we were staying at was just a short drive from the airport. As we meandered the country road we stopped several times for “supplies”. We picked up fresh milk and eggs from a woman with a tiny stand at the edge of the road.
Next was Morning Glory Farm where we chose from a selection of items all grown and produced locally. A fresh killed chicken to be roasted with herbs from the garden and garlic. Just picked butter lettuce to be tossed with sherry vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and farm peppers. Huge heirloom tomatoes, green zebra’s, oxheart and beefsteaks sliced and served with just made mozzarella. Just picked sweet corn which I would take off the cob and cook with some chicken jus, scallions and cayenne as an accompaniment to the chicken. A perfect watermelon which we would use as a vehicle for vodka consumption.
Add to that a French baguette and sweet butter as well as a few just caught scallops which we got at the docks at Menemsha. I would later thinly slice these and flash sear, top with green onion butter, and serve on a crouton as an hors d'oeuvre.
A quick stop at Al’s Package store for several bottles, some Domaine Ott, my favorite French rosé, a few bottles of Silverado Cabernet Sauvignon to be served with our chicken and a couple bottles of Matanzas Creek Merlot just “because”. Since I had packed my own Slovenia Vodka, we were set for a special weekend.
Of course we had a great dinner sitting together looking out onto the ocean and enjoying the company of friends. We listened, sang and danced to great music; my wife said it felt like we were in the movie “The Big Chill”.
The weekend was a whirlwind: kayaking for hours across the most beautiful and peaceful pond, swimming in the ocean on a private beach, eating warm lobster rolls on the docks next to the lobster boats and their traps, slurping oysters at the Atlantic in the middle of the afternoon, driving from one end of the island to the other stopping for homemade ice cream in Oak Bluffs, enjoying a leisurely Sunday night dinner at the Chillmark Tavern which included a terrific smoked bluefish pate.
Monday morning bright and early we were back on a tiny plane heading back to reality; it was the best weekend of the summer of 2016.
To help you enjoy your last days of summer, please enjoy the following recipe.
White Corn Maque Choux (Recipe courtesy of Peter X. Kelly, Xaviars Restaurants)
- 2 Tbsp. (1/4 stick) butter
- 1 cup Spanish onion, finely diced
- 1/4 cup Red bell pepper, finely diced
- 3 cups Fresh white corn kernels (cut from 4 medium ears of corn)
- 3/4 cup Heavy whipping cream
- 1 Tsp. Chopped fresh thyme
- 1/4 Tsp. Cayenne pepper
- 2 Green onions, finely sliced on bias
- Coarse kosher salt
- Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add onion and sauté until translucent, about five minutes.
- Add bell pepper; sauté until beginning to soften, about three minutes.
- Add corn; sauté two minutes. Add cream, thyme, and cayenne. Simmer until sauce thickens, about five minutes.
- Mix in green onion.
- Season to taste with coarse salt and pepper.
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