If you happened to be at Napeague Beach in East Hampton this weekend, you just may have seen my naked tush running full speed into the crashing ocean waves. And if you were wondering what the hell is that naked tush doing running full speed into the crashing ocean waves, I’ve gotta tell you – it was one of those spur of the moment ideas that just seems so right—the water felt warm, I’d forgotten my bathing suit, the beach was empty save for a few walkers in the distance, and you only live once. I mean, everyone needs to run naked into the ocean in broad daylight once in their lives, right?
I couldn’t have imagined myself performing this act of public indecency a year or two ago—one of the wonderful things about getting older. I’m no longer a teenager and I no longer care if the little-dots-that-are-people walking far in the distance on a practically deserted September beach would like me in my birthday suit. I like me in my birthday suit—but that’s besides the point—and I like jumping in the ocean every chance I get. And there’s no better chance than when the water in September is still warm and the sky has cleared up for a moment in your otherwise-rainy weekend in Hamptons.
Now, if you are wondering why in the hell this relates to food, well, it doesn’t. Except that, alongwith my newfound mid-twenties attitude (ohmygodijustrealizedi’llbe25thisyear), I’ve grown to love lemon. Maybe my tastebuds have a better attitude now too, but whatever it is, I can’t get enough of lemon. Fresh lemon-juice and oily lemon rind. There’s something so fresh, so don’t-worry-that-it’s-not-summer-I’m-around-all-year about the taste of lemon that just makes me smile. A big, puckered smile.
Pair it with a good olive oil, young pecorino cheese, and shitake mushrooms and I don’t know if I’ll be able to control myself. Seriously. I might have to make a big bowl, strip down, and jump into this dish. The lemon sparks up the mushroom’s earthy dankness while cutting through the silky olive oil and creamy cheese; parsley gives a good herbaciousness to it all. You can (and should) make this dish ahead—making it the perfect dinner party dish, for when everyone comes in from their last romp at the beach.
Shitake Mushrooms with Young Pecorino
makes 6 servings//from Bon Appetit, October 08
- 7 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, divided
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 lemon, peel cut into long thin slivers (yellow part only)
- Coarse kosher salt
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 1 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, cut into 1/2-inch-wide slices or left whole if smaller than 1 1/2 inches in diameter
- garlic clove, peeled, flattened
- 8 ounces young pecorino cheese (pecorino fresco) or Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
Whisk 5 teaspoons lemon juice and mustard in small bowl. Gradually whisk in 6 tablespoons olive oil. Stir in lemon peel slivers. Season dressing to taste with coarse salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Toss mushrooms, remaining 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons oil in large bowl. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle mushrooms with coarse salt and pepper. Roast 15 minutes. Using spatula, turn mushrooms over and roast until soft and beginning to brown around edges, about 10 minutes longer.
Pour half of dressing over hot mushrooms on sheet. Add garlic and toss to coat. Let cool on sheet.
Combine mushrooms, cheese, parsley, and remaining dressing in medium bowl. Let marinate at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours. Discard garlic clove. Serve mushrooms and cheese with toothpicks, if desired.