Every other Thursday this summer, Chef Adam Kaufer, of Grace & Grit, sets up his portable flattop grill and mise en place in front of Chronicle Wines. At 4 p.m., he’s already busy. Fisherman and owner of North Fork Seafood, Jermaine Owens moves alongside him, helping Kaufer plate the fish and shellfish Owens caught that morning.
This unique pop-up event brings together some of the best offerings of the North Fork all in one evening. In collaboration with North Fork Seafood, Chronicle Wines in Peconic hosts this bi-weekly series, pairing their locally-made summer wines with freshly caught seafood.
“We wanted to come up with a food series for the summer,” said Robin Epperson-McMarthy, winemaker and co-owner of the female-run wine collective. “We wanted to do it on Thursday nights when we’re typically closed. We started calling around to see who might be willing to help us. Jermaine was interested and he’s right down the road, so it’s a nice collaboration of Peconic Lane businesses. Adam also helps us with a lot of different events so of course he was interested as well.”
The menu is created and announced the day of depending on what Owens catches earlier that morning. Owens and Kaufer work together to finalize the menu each week.
This past Thursday, June 1, was the first of these collaborations. On the menu: a scallop poke, blackfish carpaccio and seared scallop topped with fois gras – all of which were paired with wine from Chronicle.
Sea Scallop Poke
The scallop poke was the first dish we tasted. Served in three appetizer spoons, the freshly caught sea scallops were diced with avocado and mixed with homemade ponzu, sesame oil and sambal. The mix of scallops and avocado melted in your mouth like butter. This rich combination was complimented by the faint crunch of shiso – a Japanese herb reminiscent of cilantro.
This first course was paired with Chronicle Wines’ Brooklyn Oenology Social Club White – a Sauvignon Blanc/Chardonnay white blend. Although an unusual way to prepare scallops – white wine and scallops traditionally complement each other and the crisp white paired spectacularly with the poke.
Although initially intimidating, the blackfish carpaccio was a rush of juxtaposing flavors. At first bite, the lemon juice was striking – with the acidity delicately layered throughout the hardy raw fish. Upon eating more, numerous earthy flavors became apparent, as blackfish was topped with micro arugula, ramp oil, and purple chive blossoms – an onion-flavored edible flower that grows at the end of chives.
The carpaccio was paired with 2021 Saltbird Cellars “Migratus.” This barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc is bold and allowed it to stand up to the hardiness of the blackish.
Seared Jumbo Scallops
Lastly, two jumbo sea scallops were served on a bed of creamy pea puree. A more common method of preparing this mollusk, Kaufer seared these scallops for a few seconds on each side, careful not to overcook the delicate shellfish. They were topped with a seared fois gras, which again melted like butter in your mouth with each bite.
Sea scallops are a bit hardier than bay scallops, allowing them to absorb more of the flavor of the puree and the fois gras. The final dish was paired with the As If Courage Rosé. This darker rosé was dynamic yet structured and balanced out the sweetness of the scallops well.
The next pop-up event is scheduled for Thursday, June 15 from 4 to 7 p.m. Menu items will be announced the day of and are available a la carte. Small plates range from $8 to $18, paired wines are $12 to $16 per glass, and flights are $25. While this is not a guided tasting, reservations are required before 10 a.m. on the day of the event. You can find more information about this pop-up and make your reservation here.