RECIPE: Arctic Char from the LakeHouse
In my search to find delicious and healthful restaurant dishes, my next stop is the LakeHouse in Bayshore, one of my favorite places. It’s warm and inviting place on a little tree lined pond. This serene setting changes with the seasons, just like the menu.
“I love to create flavors that go together and always try to construct balance in a dish,”says Connors says. “We have a healthy balance of heavy and light dishes on the menu, really something for everyone. The tilefish is our most popular, and heaviest, dish. Our steamed sea bass, cod and salmon are some of the lighter ones.” One of his tricks to cut calories is to use foams. “Foams have enough fat to coat the tongue, but are much lighter in calories.”
Matt prepared seared arctic char over a salad made from Brussels sprout leaves, toasted almonds, dried apricots, wheat berries and capers with Meyer lemon vinaigrette and sprinkled with fleur del sel. The flavors were so balanced they deepened with every forkful with each taste more interesting than the last: a tangy caper, a crunch of salt, Brussels sprout leaf, or wheat berry, a sweet, soft apricot. The delicate char flakes to show a medium rare, beautiful pink. The dish looks whimsical with Meyer lemon curls and squares of fleur del sel sprinkled on top, yet refined and composed, in a straight forward kind of way.
This entire dish is a nutritional powerhouse, but I will focus on what I think may be the next kale. Botanically, Brussels sprouts belong to the Brassica family of vegetables, which includes cabbage, collard greens, broccoli, and kale. One cup of cooked Brussels sprouts contains just 56 calories but is packed with more than 240 percent of the recommended daily amount for vitamin K, and nearly 130 percent of the RDA for vitamin C. Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting and bone health; vitamin C is required to produce collagen and neurotransmitters. A 2011 study published in the “Journal of Food Science” noted that Brussels sprouts also contain certain protective antioxidants. These glucosinolates and isothiocyanates are proven to help eliminate potential carcinogens from the body. However, watch the way you cook these; boiling them for just 9-15 minutes can leach these benefits by up to 60 percent. Consequently, the researchers recommend steaming or stir-frying to help retain their cancer-fighting properties. I love to make a Caesar salad by shredding these little beauties raw.
“About our food sourcing, it all depends on the weather,” says Matt. “We try to get as much of our produce as possible from local farms, most notably the Bayard Cutting Arboretum CSA; we have been members of since its founding in 2011.” The Bayard Cutting Arboretum is the only community supported agriculture program in the New York State Parks system and had approximately 120 members. They offer more than 150 varieties of vegetables and berries, 15 different types of culinary herbs, and flowers, which members can pick. “I am so fortunate as they will grow pretty much whatever I ask them to grow,” he adds.
Besides running the restaurant, running is a big part of the couple’s life. He has completed more than 15 marathons, and she half marathons.
“I want to break my record this year of 3.05,” Matt says says. Eileen says her husband is too humble; he has run the last four marathons as a guide for Alex Schneider an autistic competitive runner. “We usually run the first mile holding hands so we don’t get separated, then he runs just behind my shoulder the rest of the way.”
The LakeHouse is moving to much bigger place this spring, also in Bayshore, overlooking the Great South Bay. “It was time to do something new,” says Matt. We will keep the intimate feel and great food, but be able to accommodate a lot more people. We are so excited.”
Pan Seared Arctic Char with Brussels Sprout-Meyer Lemon-Wheatberry Salad
4 Meyer lemons, peel removed & julienned, juiced
½ c organic sugar
½ c water
½ tsp. capers, nonpareil in brine
½ tsp. mint, minced
½ c light olive oil
½ pt. wheatberries, cooked and strained (can be purchased cooked)
2 tbsp. dried apricots, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes, then dried and diced
1 tbsp. shallot, finely minced
1 cup brussel sprouts, leaves separated, washed thoroughly
2 tbsp. blanched, sliced almonds, toasted until golden
1 tsp. chives, minced
Fleur del sel & freshly ground pepper to taste
1 6 oz. filet arctic char (I use Organic Canadian Char)
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Make lemon syrup
In a small saucepot combine the lemon peel, juice, sugar and water. Heat over a medium flame. Simmer for 3 minutes and then let cool.
In a small bowl combine 2 tbsp. of lemon syrup, capers, mint, and olive oil. Whisk by hand until slightly emulsified. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the salad ingredients with 2 tbsp. of the vinaigrette. Toss to coat.
In a small sauté pan, heat the oil over a medium flame. Season the fish with salt and pepper and sauté the fish for 2 minutes on each side.
Place a heaping portion of the dressed salad on the plate, gently place the fish on top the salad and garnish with fleur del sel and 1 tsp. of the vinaigrette. Serve immediately.