April Alfresco -April/May 2013

by: Marianne R. Stanton

photography by: Nicole Harnishfeger

NANTUCKET CELEBRATES SPRING EVERY YEAR WITH THE DAFFODIL FESTIVAL, the week-end of April 27 and 28 this year. This annual rite of spring prompts us to break out our picnic baskets and start poring through our recipe files and cookbooks to create a repast that is worthy of the pickiest gourmet.

Annye Camera, owner of Annye's with chef Chris Morris.

We asked Annye Camera, owner of Annye’s Whole Foods on Amelia Drive, and her chef Chris Morris, to develop a menu that evokes the flavors of spring and cel- ebrates the organic meats and produce which Annye’s features.

Morris, who recently celebrated his first anniversary as chef at Annye’s after 20 years in the restaurant business (six years running Arno’s, 10 years at A.K. Diamond’s and at the Atlantic Café before that) chose to feature foods that he would prepare for Annye’s growing takeout business.

Every daffodil picnic seems to have a signature drink, and Annye and Chris reached deep into the shelves of the organic-wine selection at Annye’s to pull out a prosecco, a dry Italian sparkling wine, which would provide the base for their twist on a Bellini, which also utilizes a healthy splash of the Italian liqueur Limoncello.

Continuing with a health-conscious Mediterranean theme, Morris prepared a dish of hummus with fresh roasted red peppers and tomatoes.

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Hummus
Baby Arugula, Lemon and Pine Nut Chicken-Salad Sliders
Tuscan Farro Salad
Blueberry and Orange Clafoutis with Limoncello Crème Anglaise
Limoncello Bellini
“I love making fresh hummus and we make a number of different varieties for the store, featuring fresh herbs, lemon, garlic and this one with roasted peppers and tomatoes,” Morris said. He serves it with freshly-baked pita chips, made by splitting and then tearing pita bread into chips, brushing them with a bit of olive oil and seasonings, and toasting them in the oven. Made this way they are 10 times better than anything store-bought and dosed with preservatives to make it shelf-stable.

The main course is based on one of Annye’s most popular dishes, her organic roast chicken, prepared daily in the kitchen on the premises.

“I wanted to feature foods that we would prepare here for the store,” Morris said. “The organic roast chicken and the chicken salad are staples at Annye’s, so for this menu I added some lemon, for the color and zest, and some baby arugula and toasted pine nuts.”

The result is a chicken salad that has a peppery bite from the arugula and piquancy from the lemon. A lemon ricotta and charred tomato relish top the salad, which is piled on multi-grain rolls from Pain d’Avignon, a Hyannis bakery which flies its breads over to Annye’s daily.

For a more delicate sandwich, the chicken salad could be served on thin-sliced sourdough bread or soft Portuguese rolls. It could also be spooned into a bowl lined with whole leaves of Romaine or Boston lettuce for a carb-free entrée for those who are counting the days to bathing-suit season.

A salad of farro, an Italian grain similar in taste and texture to barley, but with more health benefits, is a tasty side dish. Accented with pomegranate seeds, toasted and crushed hazelnuts, golden balsamic vinegar, fresh mint and tarragon and Annye’s red onion marmalade – made on the premises and available for purchase – it is topped with fresh crumbled goat cheese. This salad is hearty enough to stand alone as a main dish and a nice option for those who need to consider the needs of vegetarians when preparing a menu. The goat cheese can be omitted for a vegan dish.

Dessert is a rich, custard-like blueberry and orange clafoutis, a European-style egg and fruit dish resembling a collapsed pancake, which is topped with a Limon- cello crème anglaise.

If the weather is chilly that day, which it often can be in April on Nantucket, be sure to dress warmly and pack a thermos of herbal tea or coffee to have with dessert. A fa- vorite is Jim’s Fair Trade organic coffee sold by the pound at Annye’s. ///

Marianne Stanton is the editor and publisher of Nantucket Today and The Inquirer and Mirror, Nantucket’s newspaper since 1821. She writes frequently about food, travel and lifestyle for both publications.

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