As it has for the last undisclosed number of years, my birthday falls in and around memorial day weekend. The beginning of summer and the summer food season! It’s best if I can kick it off in the place that I’ve been going to since five years old, Fire Island! And on that first ferry voyage across the Great South Bay I must eat an $11 crab salad sandwich from Nicky’s Clam Bar!
Dinner that first night with my sister, my nieces and a family friend was a little makeshift. I used the vegetables that I brought-eggplant, zucchini, yellow peppers, tomatoes – to make a pasta dish. My experiment tasted good.
I rendered five strips of bacon until crisp then removed them and added 3 tablespoons of olive oil, a quarter of a chopped onion, 1 clove garlic and then a whole peeled and diced eggplant, S+P and cooked it down until soft. Then added the rest of the veggies – one sliced zucchini, one sliced yellow pepper, the other quarter of the onion and more garlic. Reseason and cook until veggies are soft. Add in cooked al dente pasta. Crumble cooked bacon in and serve. Of course some pecorino-Romano cheese would have been just right but alas there was none to be had. Satisfying nonetheless.
My mother came the next morning and with her the prep for the big quintessential Fire Island meal – FRIED CHICKEN! Seasoned, floured and pan fried in an electric skillet at 350 degrees
It always comes out perfect and well seasoned.
Turns out a 4-hour season is just as good as a 24- hour one.
My mom also got a new technique for cooking corn on the cob. Shuck it and cook in water, condensed milk and butter. Bring to boil for a minute then remove from heat to sit until done.
The final element of this meal is not by consensus. I told my mother I would make a cole slaw. Her excitement waned when I told her it would be mayo-less and she needed to tell me that she is a traditionalist and she wasn’t happy. I politely nodded and went on with my shredding and grating cabbage and carrots and slicing onion.
The dressing would be olive oil, apple cider vinegar, minced garlic, black pepper, sugar, mustard and Old Bay seasoning (because I do listen and it was the only seasoning in the house that had celery salt in it!)
I poured the dressing over the slaw and tossed to combine and let chill until ready.
We were ready to chow DOWN!!!!
Not the prettiest food picture. I couldn’t wait another minute to dig in! Oh, and that lonely rib was a sampler of today’s lunch.
Happy birthday to me and Memorial Day to you!
– SCHOP! Girl