Summer Menus with Anthony Ferrando, of DISH
One of my all time favorite places to eat from our town is Dish, A Restaurant. A small, New American BYO located in the hub of downtown Red Bank, New Jersey. In the past, I have brought you dessert recipes and catering tips from Dish, so it is no surprise, Chef Anthony Ferrando would be first on our list when featuring local favorites.
I worked at Dish for just about seven years, through high school and college, and to this day I still find myself dropping in to help the chef that has contributed to my love of food and hospitality. I worked just about every position at the restaurant over those seven years. There were nights I worked in the kitchen, preparing salads on the line and setting up dessert stations. One of my earliest jobs was to come in early to pick parsley leaves off the stem to help Anthony prep for dinner service.
All the time I spent in that small kitchen (if you have ever dined at Dish, you know it is a cozy atmosphere, so you could imagine what the kitchen looks like!) I kept a careful eye on every movement Anthony made and asked a lot of questions. “Why do you put the fish in the pan skin side down?” “What’s with all this butter?” “How can I make chocolate frosting as good as yours?”
Rather than ignoring the annoying teen, he answered every question (except the chocolate frosting recipe, that one took a few years!) Everything I know about food I owe to Anthony. And if you have ever asked him for tips on cooking or baking, you know he usually started the sentence with “Oh, it’s so easy! Just take…” He makes cooking sound so simple. Anthony taught me the importance of grilling steaks at room temperature, using fresh, local ingredients and there is no such thing as too much butter.
While dropping in at Dish recently to catch up with the staff and Anthony, we talked about what he cooks when he is not at the restaurant and gave me tips on making the most of Jersey’s produce and seafood. Below, see Anthony’s go to menu this season!
Amanda Willis: What produce can we look forward to this summer?
Anthony Ferrando: In April we saw asparagus, May we got hearty greens such as collards and the summer also gives us local lettuces. Now for June we see fresh cucumbers, great for cucumber salads. Tomatoes come in season around July 10 and available until October. I use the website Jersey Fresh, it will tell you when everything is coming out. I like to buy as much as possible from local farmers market, which are popping up all over these days.
AW: What are some of your favorite things to cook in the summer?
AF: Grilling steaks is my favorite because it’s no fuss. But on a lighter side, I really enjoy cucumber salad, made of fresh cucumber, red onion, a little mint, olive oil, little vinegar or to make it a little more fattening, you can throw some sour cream in it, which is actually a German dish. I love octopus salad, it’s so easy because you just grill it. For the restaurant, I always like to incorporate fresh, seasonal seafood.
AW: What seafood is at its freshest right now?
AF: Soft shell crabs, scallops, which are at their sweetest right now and lobster. Seafood is at it’s best right now and there is so much here. New Jersey has so much to offer. There are little neck clams right off Sandy Hook, we have black sea bass, there is just so much beautiful fish coming out of that ocean right now.
AW: What is your go-to summer menu?
AF: Either start with salads or lobster risotto, super easy, then have any fresh seafood as an entree. For dessert, I like to make short cakes, a simple biscuit, fresh whipped cream and a ton of fresh, local berries.
For more on Dish, what is in season and events to look forward to this summer, check out Red Bank Flavour. There you can see more chef and restaurant highlights, recipes and what is new in downtown Red Bank.
*Featured Image is credited to M studio for Red Bank Flavour
Category: In Our Town
Tags: A Cool Little Town, A Culinary Alliance, Anthony Ferrando, Dish A Restaurant, Dish Red Bank, Flavour, Jersey Fresh, Jersey Tomatoes, Local Produce, New Jersey, Red Bank, Red Bank Flavour, Sisters' Soiree, Summer Menus, The Sisters' Soiree |
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