From Riverhead to Montauk, Jamesport to Southampton, the eastern edge of Long Island is a land of reverie. Imagine the fertile plateau of the Niagara Peninsula, the rugged beauty of Muskoka and the serenity of Prince Edward Island rolled into one magnificent package. A burgeoning wine route complimented by rolling farmland full of summer crops. Abounding tide pools, ponds, lakes, bays and rivers dominating the landscape, swarming with life. Secluded coves, inlets, marshes of scraggly grass and rushes around every turn at the end of long and winding country roads. “Don’t it feel like something from a dream.” I really like this place.
As a foil to the frenetic pace of Manhattan, the eastern island presents as a modal, perfect, progressive and passive area of unlimited exploration. An effortless paddle by long board or kayak through Sag Pond. Baiting, netting and steaming the fresh catch of Blue Crabs out of Georgica Pond. Filling oneself with the ocean’s bounty and tasting through North Fork’s future stars wines.
Lobster maintains its status at the gastronomic epicentre of the east coast. Clams are everywhere, crabs too. The quintessential lunch snack is the Lobster Roll. Made from the simplest preparation, the fresh pulled meat is crammed to overflowing in its whitest of soft bread, hot dog like roll. A deliquescent treat without parallel.
Long Island Lobster Roll
1 and 1/2 lb lobster
2 soft, white “lobster” rolls (hot dog rolls will work)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
juice of one lemon
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 ribs of celery, finely diced
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
Add 6 cups of water to a large stock pot, fit with a colander. Bring to a boil, than lower to simmer.
Put in lobster and steam for eight minutes. Remove and cool.
Make the mayo. Mix Dijon with lemon juice. Slowly drizzle oil while whisking until fully emulsified. Chop celery into fine dice and mix in to mayo. Add parsley. Season with salt & pepper.
Crack and remove all lobster meat. Roughly chop the large pieces and stir into mayo.
Scoop lobster mixture into two buttery, soft, white rolls.
Raphael North Fork Riesling 2010 ($18) makes yeoman’s work is its second vintage, more dry than off-dry, less grapefruit than one would expect and certainly high on the citrus zest scale. Works lobster, crab and shrimp in blue-collar fashion and speaks in a gravelly, Peconic voice. 87
Galliuccio Family Wineries Meritage 2001 when bottled may have simply been working on a dream but this “library” wine was a near revelatory, posthumous Surprise, Surprise. Now owned by Macari Vineyards, the ’01 Galluccio Merlot with supporting cast let it’s unguarded love shine down with elegant, blueberry fruit and resolved red peppercorn spice. A historical look at what ’04, ’07, ’10 would become and what will surely be in North Fork’s future. 90
Peconic Bay Merlot 2005 ($21) pencils liquorice in a shade of candied, Sonoma Pinot-like matte against a salty Atlantic backdrop. Light, airy, breezy and pleasing Merlot. Void of resin, currant and bell pepper. Strawberries in cream actually. Nothing earth shattering here, just good and plenty. 87
Good to go!