There are certain experiences that go far beyond the mundane. The soulful act of standing in moist dirt, digging through rows of fresh vegetables, dragging a steel clam rake through soft sand, cracking open a cold beer in the company of friends – the can still glistening with condensation. It’s all about the vibe, right? That moment when you realize you’re part of the earth, and aware that the experience has more meaning than you ever imagined. Taking the harvest to new levels, doing more with these local ingredients, doing something you may have never done before, a novel idea – cooking for yourself.
In an era where immediate gratification is king, there resides an experience all to its own. An evening in the kitchen, using locally harvested ingredients in harmony with freshly brewed Montauk Brewing Company beer to create a nourishing meal with a whole lot of character.
A few elements are necessary to accomplish this endeavor, and it’s a good thing that these elements are easy to come by on the East End:
Our meal started months ago at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett. In a greenhouse in April, the farmer/founders Katie and Amanda planted seeds in soft dirt, that soon popped in search of light and warmth, and a life in their Amagansett fields. In mid-May, these plants were transplanted to the fields where they would grow until mid-June. Over time and with care and attention, these seeds become zucchini. This is not the zucchini you’ve bought at a store. There’s a freshness in this vegetable that can only be realized after plucking it from the field. Not stopping at the vegetable course, we move on to local grains. The farmers at AWF set out to reintroduce wheat to the East End foodshed, and it’s a good thing because the second part of the meal involves wheat berries, which can be transformed into a chewy, delightful accent when mixed with sautéed zucchini.
We then enter the local waters that serve as a home for the gritty few that fish the bays and oceans to support their families and celebrate the bounty. We enter the water with nothing more than a clam rake, a basket, and bare feet. Feel the experience and don’t be concerned with the stress of your day. To understand Montauk, you need to feel the water around your legs, each pull of the rake and the wrinkle in your brow as you look for the best clams these waters have to offer. Take only what you need, and nothing more. The crisp, cool waters and the golden rays of the dropping sun will ignite a feeling only few will ever experience.
For the first time ever, Montauk has a brewery. We built this brewery to honor the community and highlight the craftsman spirit that’s abundant in the individuals that make up the town. First brewed in a basement in 2009, a mile from the existing brewery, we crafted the first few gallons of beer and shared it with friends. The goal was to celebrate properly, and often. For this meal, we celebrate with three styles of Montauk Brew Co – Driftwood Ale, Summer Ale, and Session India Pale Ale. We design our beers to compliment food, enhance the flavors and never mask the abundant beauty that the local ingredients have to offer.
Tips to honor the experience:
Enjoy beers as you go!
Wheat berries simmered with Driftwood Ale / Zucchini pasta sautéed with Montauk Session India Pale Ale / Grilled clams with Montauk Summer Ale.
Why these beers?
Driftwood Ale is a well-balanced English Style Pale Ale. The malty backbone with a mild hop presence is perfect to simmer with the wheat berries.
Montauk Session IPA is a light bodied, easy drinker. This beer has awesome citrus and floral aromas, and compliments the zucchini very well. The India Pale Ale style is great for hot or spicy foods, and if you’d like to add some heat to this dish, just add fresh cracked pepper.
Montauk Summer Ale is perfect to drink with any seafood dish. We use 25% wheat malt in this beer, so it complements the clams perfectly. A light caramel sweetness and low bitterness will accent the flavors.
The Wheat Berry
Boil 1 cup wheat berries in ½ can Driftwood Ale and 2 cups of water for 45 minutes. Depending on the hardness of grain, cook time may take 1 hour. Test for tenderness, you’ll want them chewy, but not too soft.
When finished, strain beer/water mixture and add to bowl. For added flavor, finely chopped basil and a splash of olive oil will do the trick.
Shave zucchini using a cheese grater into a prep bowl. Add olive oil, chopped garlic, and rosemary and toss mixture in the bowl. Place zucchini into 12” frying pan with ½ a can of our IPA, simmer on low heat until zucchini is lightly browned. Remove from pan, add on top of wheat berries and toss in a large serving bowl.
First, crush fresh garlic and rosemary with olive oil and about a quarter can of Montauk Summer Ale in a mortar and pestle, turn this mixture into a creamy dressing.
Fire up the grill and crack open a can of Montauk Summer, take a sip…or three. When coals are up to temperature, add clams. The clams will pop fairly quickly and you don’t want to burn them so keep watch. Once open, add the dressing above. Just a little bit will add some great flavor, let the clams cook for a few more moments after adding mixture, remove from grill.
Add the clams as a side to the wheat berry and zucchini dish.
When ready, you’ll want to celebrate with friends. I recommend setting up an outdoor table right around sunset, cracking open some Montauk Brews and digging into the meal you’ve created. Enjoy every moment of it. You’ve just provided for yourself and your loved ones without going to the store, a true celebration of the real Montauk.