Peconic Bay Scallops with Figs

My father is an excitable person, especially when it comes to fishing, shellfishing and his fig tree. During the last week of October until Election Day, he prepares to close down the East Quogue house and gets ready to winter in the Florida Keys. Not a bad gig for an avid fisherman. Before he left for paradise, he stated two things, “Laura, the Baymen are harvesting basketfuls of Peconic Bay scallops and the fig tree is exploding with fruit. I sensed my father’s envy of the sweet and tender mollusks and figs he would be missing.

I think the polar vortex (cold temperatures) from last winter had something to do with the banner bay scallop harvest we are having on the East End, and strangely enough, an impressive amount of juicy figs for the picking on my father’s fig tree. 75% of the tree was damaged and he was forced to cut it back; we thought it would not survive. As the weather got warmer, the tree grew exponentially, skipped the first harvest in early spring, and the second harvest was delayed (the second harvest happens later summer) and produced ripe fruit in October; it truly is the almighty fig tree.

I picked a little over 3-dozen figs and scored (they were going fast) a pound of Peconic Bay scallops at Cor-J’s Seafood. I was inspired to create something yummy.

The best way to eat a fig is straight off the tree. The same sentiment rings true about a bay scallop, eaten raw is divine. Thankfully, I restrained myself from indulging on these delectable morsels and made a delicious dish that involves three simple recipes for one composed plate.

RECIPE: Peconic Bay Scallops with Figs

Balsamic Fig Sauce

  • 1 pound of fresh figs, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoon of good balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer, until fruit has broken down, 30 minutes
  2. Let cool slightly; remove thyme sprig. Press mixture through a medium size sieve with a rubber spatula.
  3. Place in a glass jar and refrigerate for later use or set-aside to use immediately.

    Note: reserve the fig pulp to use as a spread on toast or to put in yogurt.

Baked Figs

  • 8 figs
  • 1 tablespoon of good balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of goat cheese, puréed
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. With a knife, cross hatch the top of the figs; place in a small shallow oven safe dish.
  3. Puree the goat cheese with pepper and salt.
  4. Dollop a ¼ teaspoon of goat cheese purée in each fig. (where the cross hatch is)
  5. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  6. On the top rack, bake for 15 minutes or until the fig is warm to the touch, slightly soft . The goat cheese should be golden brown on top.

    Set-aside for assembly


Sautéed Bay Scallops

  • 1 pound of bay scallops
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of butter


  1. Salt and pepper the scallops.
  2. In a large non-stick skillet, place 1 tablespoon of butter and heat over medium-low heat until the butter is melted. Place half the scallops in a single layer into the skillet. Sauté the scallops about 2 minutes per side until the scallops are nicely browned. Repeat with the rest of the scallops.

    Set-aside for assembly


  • 2 tablespoons of walnuts, chopped
  • 8 large nasturtium leaves and 20 smaller leaves (you can use watercress if you cannot find nasturtium, I had them handy in my herb garden)
  • ¼ pound of shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper


  1. In a small saucepan toast the walnuts; set-aside
  2. In a medium saucepan sauté the shiitake mushrooms in olive oil, until brown. Season with salt and pepper; set-aside

Assembly (Serves 4)

  1. Place (2) large and (5) small nasturtiums leaves on each plate.

    note: I used a rectangular plate, but use whatever you have handy.
  2. Place (2) baked figs on the larger nasturtium leaves. Then dab around the dish the fig balsamic sauce. Disperse ¼ pound of the bay scallops on each plate, along with the walnuts and shiitakes.
  3. Serve at room temperature.

A Winter Farmers Market to Warm the Stomach and Soul


One way or another we all have been affected by the polar vortex, a new weather phenomenon that has been coined by AccuWeather or as they prefer to say, "extreme arctic air coming south". Winter is a time where the earth breathes in, a moment for pause and most of all for me — reflection. I have been doing my fair share of reflecting and 2013 by far has been one of the most challenging, creative and enriching years of my life. The construction of Sheridan Green has been an amazing feat — as some of you know — and confidently I can say that this week a final inspection is scheduled; prayers are welcome for a certificate of occupancy. And in between managing and nurturing the building process I have met some of the most amazing edible artisans and craftsman of the East End and made new friends along the way. 


We may not be in the height of a bustling harvest or running into one another at a local farm stand, but in the middle of winter there are plenty of artisanal edibles and chitchat to warm the stomach and soul, you just need to seek it out. A dash of craft and a dose of local nibbles were what I needed and what better way to combat the polar vortex than at a winter farmers market in Bridgehampton on the grounds of the Topping Rose House in the restored barn. This gathering was a celebration and thaw from the frigid grasp we have all been under for the past month. As attendees mingled with artists, artisans and local farmers inside, it seemed Heat Miser made a deal with Snow Miser for a bit of warmth and sunshine outside; It was a balmy 47 degrees and sunny.


The turnout was so sensational that some vendors ran out of items. Holly Browder of Browder's Birds was selling pickled eggs, dry rubs, barbecue sauce, brine and of course fresh farm eggs; I snatched the last dozen — lucky me. Kate Pratt of East Hampton Gourmet had to call her partner Michel Mazuret to bring her more of their signature Lentil Rice Crispbreads as they were selling out. Mecox Bay Dairy was inundated with cheese lovers hovering over their table to nibble on their most celebrated varieties: Atlantic Mist, Sigit and Mecox Sunrise. I walked away with a pound of their grass-fed ground beef and a farmhouse cheddar. Deborah Lukasik of Southampton Soap Company was selling her sudsy craft left and right; thankfully I got to her table in time to hoard the evergreen soap that she featured in a 2013 holiday pack, truly invigorating. Long Island Mushroom was showing off their finest fungus and I took away a 1/2 pound of shiitakes. Chef de Cuisine Ty Kotz of Topping Rose thanked all 31 vendors personally for participating in their first ever farmers market — I thought this was a warm touch. I first met chef Kotz at the Great Chefs Dinner and I was blown away by his beet risotto that tasted equally as beautiful as it looked; fingers crossed that he puts it on the menu.


Topping Rose plans to host another winter farmers market on Saturday, February 15, from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. If you cannot wait that long and tired of hibernating under Snow Misers ice plunge the Riverhead farmers market opening day is February 1, at 117 East Main Street, in the old Swezey's building and will be open on Saturdays from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., from February 1 — May 17.

I had big plans for my edible purchase. A dish that would leave you feeling warm and comforted, just like I felt at the Topping Rose winter farmers market.

How does homemade egg noodles with grass-fed beef meatballs in a Parmesan shiitake broth sound? This dish is all about comfort and will take you out of your icy doldrums.

Egg noodles with grass-fed beef meatballs in a Parmesan shiitake broth



Egg Noodles

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup water

Meatballs in Parmesan Shiitake Broth

  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 1/2 pound of shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium - large Parmesan rind 
  • 1 lb ground grass fed beef
  • 1 cup of whole ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup of fresh italian bread chopped (trim the crust)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of italian parsley, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • flour for dredging meatballs
  • 1/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 6 tablespoons of olive oil


Egg Noodles

  1. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in center and crack eggs into it.
  2. Take a spoon and mix together gently. Add water if dough is not forming a ball. Begin to use your hands when dough begins to come together. It should be slightly tacky.  
  3. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes. You can refrigerate the dough up to a day. Be sure to have it rest on the counter for 30 minutes to bring to room temperature before rolling out.
  4. Lightly flour your working surface. This will keep the dough from sticking. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, working from the middle out.
  5. When the dough is about a 1/4 inch thick, cut the dough into strips with a pizza cutter. I found the pizza cutter to be the best but you can use a large knife. If you have a hand crank pasta machine or kitchen-aid attachment you can use that too. But this pasta is super easy to do by hand and is fun. Do not worry if your noodles are crooked, this is all about comfort. I cut them in long strips at a 1/2 inch wide.

    Note: When the meatballs in Parmesan shiitake broth is almost done, cook the noodles in boiling salted water until they float, about 3 minutes.

    Meatballs in Parmesan Shiitake Broth
  6. In a large pot add the chicken stock and Parmesan rinds.; cover and let simmer.

  7. In a large skillet over medium heat add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Once hot add the Shiitake mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms are tender, about 3 minutes. Then add the shiitakes to the broth and continue simmering.

  8. In a large bowl, combine the beef, bread, garlic, ricotta, parmesan, salt, pepper, milk and parsley. Lightly mix everything together without overworking the meat, should be light and not compact.

  9. Once everything is combined, place a large piece of parchment or tinfoil on a baking sheet. Roll the meatballs into 1-inch round with your hands and then dredge in flour and place the meatballs on the baking sheet.  Repeat until all the meatballs are ready to be seared.

  10. In the same skillet you used for the shiitakes, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the meatballs, working in batches to not overcrowd the pan. Use tongs to turn the meatballs and cook until all sides are browned, approximately 5 minutes. You are simply doing a quick sear not cooking the meatball entirely. Place the meatballs in the broth as you go.

  11. Let the broth and meatballs simmer for 30 - 45 minutes.


  12. When done place a laddle of the broth on the bottom of the bowl, add he egg noodles and then a few meatballs with the broth and shiitakes. If you desire sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve with some crusty bread.