BYLINES BY SCOTT
CHEF CLIFF CROOKS SHARES RECIPE FOR BLT STEAK’S CHOPPED SALAD
Cliff Crooks helms the kitchen at BLT Steak and shares his recipe for Chopped Salad with Oregano Dressing.
Behind the curtain at the prodigious pop-up restaurant BLT Steak at Capri Southampton, chef Cliff Crooks is pulling the culinary strings to great acclaim. A former Top Chef contestant, Crooks is piloting the kitchen in its second year on the East End, and the ratings continue to declare it a hit.
BLT Steak is celebrating its second year, what do you enjoy the most about your time here?
There are so many familiar faces, and the welcoming nature of the people in the Hamptons made me so happy to bring back the concept for another summer.
You had a stint on competitive culinary television. What was that like?
It was intense; knowing that it’s a day-to-day competition, you have to bring your A-game because everyone around you is ridiculously talented. Certain people thrive in an environment like that, but some don’t like it.
As a chef, is it challenging leading the culinary direction for multiple restaurants at the same time?
The position definitely has its challenges—it’s the same teaching and guiding, developing specials and menus, and maintaining quality and costs, but on a much larger scale.
Favorite East End town?
What do you cook at home?
I’m likely grilling up a whole fish in the backyard with my girlfriend and pairing it with a fresh green salad and vegetables.
What is your favorite summer ingredient?
Anything pickled. Pickling is my favorite summer thing. Take fresh peaches and nectarines, enjoy them in the summer, but preserve them so you can use them in December, too.
Chopped Salad with Oregano Dressing
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. mayonnaise
1½ tsp. Dijon mustard
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp. grape seed oil
1½ tsp. dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Iceberg lettuce, washed and dried
Radicchio, washed and dried
Red radishes, sliced paper thin
Feta cheese, diced (6 oz.)
Red onion, halved and thinly sliced
Cucumber, peeled and diced
Grape tomatoes, halved
Green onions, thinly sliced
Hearts of palm, drained and cut into bite-size pieces
Fresh chives, snipped
Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
In a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar, mayonnaise, and mustard. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the olive and grape seed oils until smooth. Stir in oregano, and add salt and pepper to taste. Chop the lettuce and radicchio into bite-size pieces and toss in a large bowl. Add two-thirds of the vinaigrette and season to taste before tossing and placing in bowls. Add the remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl and toss with remaining vinaigrette before topping the greens with the mixture.
Read the Article at Hamptons-Magazine.com HERE.