IF there is a better moment in time to visit Monhegan Island, I cannot imagine what it is. When the last of the lilacs bloom coincides with the lupine show, it’s pure magic.
It’s no wonder that the island continues to spawn generation after generation of artists…locals and rusticators alike. Not having any real connections to Monhegan, a day tripper like myself must be content to spend a full and glorious day or two hiking, and give careful consideration to one’s own provisions.
Here is part 1 of my recipes for the ideal summer picnic basket. Pick and choose to create your own “Personal Best Menu.”
On the Picnic Menu:
White Bean and Capers with Truffle Oil
Thin sliced marinated grilled rare flank steaks with red pepper aioli (some items listed below may conspire to create a fabulous grilled beef sandwich). No recipe, just marinate flank with what you prefer and grill it hot and fast. We want a crusty finish on it.
Cold buttermilk fried chicken
Crusty rolls (Go to Atlantic Baking Company for these!)
Fresh washed arugula or other garden greens
Marinated green beans
Old fashioned macaroni salad (or calico salad)
Strawberry rhubarb streusel bars
Chilled dry rose wine
White Bean Paté (perfect for the vegans in the group)
2 cans white beans, well drained
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper
¼ cup drained capers
White truffle oil
To the 2 cans of white beans, add Dijon mustard, garlic, lemon juice. Pulse in a cuisinart, taste, adjusting seasonings. Add olive oil, minced parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper. Add in the capers and pulse again.
Just before serving, drizzle with white truffle oil. Wow!
Makes 1 generous quart.
Red Pepper Aioli
1 pound russet potato, peeled and sliced thin
1 1/3 cup chicken broth
3 red peppers, fire roasted with seeds, skins and stems removed
10 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
Juice of 2 lemons
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Dash of cayenne pepper and sea salt
Cook potatoes in chicken stock covered for 15 minutes over medium heat. Continue to cook uncovered until all broth evaporates.
Process peppers in a cuisinart until smooth.
While still warm, add the potatoes to the peppers along with remaining ingredients until the desired flavor and texture is achieved. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Cool and keep covered in the fridge until ready to use. It will thicken slightly.
Makes 3 cups.
Buttermilk Fried Chicken
1 beaten egg
¼ cup buttermilk
1/3 cup fine cracker crumbs
1-3 pound fryer chicken, cut up into manageable pieces and patted dry
Sea salt and pepper
1 cup shortening
Combine egg and milk. Mix cracker crumbs, salt, and pepper. Dip chicken in egg mixture, then roll in crumbs.
Heat shortening in a heavy skillet, then brown chicken, taking care not to overload the pan. Turn with tongs until cooked through.
Sprinkle with sea salt and serve warm or cold.
(See more recipes from the picnic menu posted tomorrow!)
Laura Cabot is a French trained chef with a long career as a chef/restaurant owner and is currently president of Laura Cabot Catering in Waldoboro.