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Giving a house party is an art form. It’s not just forethought and organizational skills that can make a visit memorable, but something rarer, the ability to take people as you find them. Our friends Linda and Patricia, who spend weekends on the North Fork of Long Island, possess this quality in spades. “The bed in the guest room is very hard,” Linda announced, shortly after we arrived. “Come through and see. We can always switch rooms!” If you are anything like me, you find this remarkably relaxing and become part of the household right away.

One mistake that’s easy to make when you’re expecting guests around eleven-ish on a Saturday morning is preparing an elaborate lunch. Everyone will gorge themselves, then turn logy and not inclined to take the boat out, go bike-riding or swimming, or play badminton or golf.

Linda and Patricia know that the trick is assembling a meal that’s easy and light, yet fortifying. You won’t have spent the morning in the kitchen, and it will still make everyone sitting around the table feel very fortunate to be there: A big platter of prosciutto and sliced peaches or nectarines, say, and a generous basket of toasts brushed with olive oil. Embellishments aren’t complicated—all you need are small bowls of butter and fresh ricotta, balsamic vinegar for drizzling, tomatoes from the farm stand down the road, and fresh herbs from the pots on the porch steps. Afterward, you feel energized and ready for anything. Possibly the greatest thing about this sort of meal is that it works just as easily for one or two people as it does for a crowd.

It also happens to be a brilliant set-up for the evening’s entertainment: a pull-out-all-the-stops shore dinner, with steamers and boiled lobsters, creamy new potatoes and corn on the cob. Staggeringly simple and stellar all at the same time, this is one of the great joys of summer in the Northeast. Almost by design, it proceeds at a stately pace—the water has to boil, the clams have to decide to open their shells, and meat has to be teased out of lobster legs and claws and extricated in one enormous juicy piece from the tail.

There is all the time in the world, in fact, to first eat little empanadas and flash-fried shishito peppers, watch the sun slip behind the treeline, marvel at the resurgence of fireflies, and uncork something delicious to drink from PJ Wine—minerally Muscadet, a famous accompaniment to oysters but wonderful with the oceanic tang of lobster, too.

What hard bed? Sam and I slept like babies.

The next morning, the first one up made the coffee. No one was in a hurry to eat, but when we finally got around to it, we all agreed that leftover corn and potatoes from the night before were a godsend. I scraped the sweet heaviness of the kernels off their cobs and diced the potatoes, as well as an onion and red bell pepper. Linda got butter working in a cast-iron skillet and someone else cracked eggs and beat them with a fork. The vegetables hit the sizzling pan. More coffee was made, English muffins were toasted, tomato juice poured. Sam added the eggs to the vegetables, and before we knew it, breakfast was ready and waiting. So was the day.




Pingback from HIP POCKET RECIPE: BLUEBERRY PUDDING CAKE | Jane Lear. Writing on Food and Travel.
Time June 30, 2015 at 5:01 pm

[…] if your summer weekends revolve around entertaining, you need this recipe in your hip pocket. It can be baked a day ahead of time, and although […]

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