Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Beach Eats

Thanks to Anne D., who cooked for the masses during a recent trip to the beach. She also generously wrote about all the eatin' we did!
Last week's trip to the Outer Banks yielded some outstanding meals, which will make the trip as memorable for the food as for the sand, sun, family and friends. We brought eggs, vegetables, bread and herbs from our gardens, CSAs or farmers markets, so many of our beach meals had a strong sense of home.
The first such meal was one centered around a Sheepshead fish right off the boat. A local fish shop scaled and gutted it for us, and we named it "Four-dollar Moe", after the astoundingly low price he fetched. We wrapped it in tin foil after stuffing it with garlic, dill and fennel leaves, topped with lemon juice, lemon slices and olive oil, with a healthy dose of freshly ground sea salt and black pepper. The sides that night were skewered fennel and onion quarters, grilled with Moe on an old charcoal grill. It was divine! Sheepshead is new to me, and I was very pleasantly surprised by the light, flakey meat (which tasted ever so slightly of crab) and the way it contrasted with the crunchy sweetness of the fennel and onions.
In preparation for the next day's lunch, after the fish and skewers came off the grill, we laid slices of eggplant tossed in garlic, olive oil and crushed red pepper, so they could cook while we ate. Then, after coming in windblown and hungry after a morning on the beach, we made gorgeous open-faced sandwiches from made with Norwood Cottage bread with roasted eggplant and onions, mozzarella, red bell peppers and basil. We ate that with fresh penne salad with squash and the first cherry tomatoes of the year. Strange and delicious to have such a strong taste of Italy while dripping in a bathing suit!
And, of course, I had to make my very favorite meal -- poached eggs for breakfast. I love to make them in any combination -- variations on the classic Benedict -- with runny yolks oozing out that bright orange color that tells you the chicken it came from was healthy and free. That morning we ate them on slices of fresh white toast, (thanks again Norwood Cottage!) topped with cherry tomatoes, rocket and basil, dripping with fresh Hollandaise.

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