BYLINES BY SCOTT
SCOTT CONANT’S CORN AND JALAPENO PASTA
There are moments in life that stick with you, and Scott Conant and I have shared a lot of them. Whether it was my only hole in one, the birth of both our two kids only days apart, or countless great meals, this award-winning chef has been a dear friend. Here, Conant, a judge of Food Network’s Chopped, shares his philosophy on cooking, family, and a lifetime of doing what he loves.
We heard a rumor you were house hunting out East. True?
It goes without saying how much I love the Hamptons. As a New Yorker, it’s such a great sanctuary from the city. But my wife is borderline obsessed with real estate so we always seem to be looking at different houses everywhere. If I had my way, I would get something in Bridgehampton or Water Mill. I think I have to open a few more restaurants before pulling the trigger on that.
Have you spent much time out East?
I have. I love it. There’s something magical about the Hamptons. I consulted on a restaurant opening several years ago and that was the first real amount of time I spent out here.
We hear you spend time in Turkey during the summer as well. What similarities do you see in your time out East?
The home we have in Turkey is on the beach, and my wife’s entire family is there as well. I would say the similarities are drinking a lot of rosé, grilling, and spending time with loved ones, which is the goal of any getaway spot.
What are some of your favorite go-to food spots out East?
For some reason, I always like to be the last seated table at Bobby Vans in Bridgehampton. There’s something about dining there as the restaurant is emptying out. There are a lot of go-to spots out East but my favorite has to be spending time at the house cooking for friends and family.
With some great local seafood, ingredients, and farmstands, what’s your favorite ingredient to cook with out here?
Definitely tomatoes and corn, they are gorgeous when they are in season.
What’s your fondest East End summer memory?
It would have to be taking my first newborn swimming for the first time in a pool. I’ll never forget it—we took her to a friend’s house and she was just so happy and excited by the water.
What’s the best part of being a chef? A dad? A husband?
I’ve surrounded myself with three different kinds of love: passion for cooking, unconditional depth of love from my children, and a sincere, otherworldly connection with my wife.
In addition to your restaurants and family, you also spend a lot of time on TV as a judge of Chopped. What do you like better, cooking or judging ?
I don’t like to compete and cook at the same time. I love developing dishes and the energy of the kitchen. Restaurants are my first love, so I would have to say cooking.
If you were a competitor, who would you want to be the judges?
When I competed on Chopped All-Stars, Geoffrey [Zakarian], Marcus [Samuelsson], and Aarón [Sanchez] were my judges. The whole of their experiences made for great feedback on my food and in turn, made me a better chef. Competing gave me a new perspective on my cooking.
Who is your favorite judge and why?
As a kid, I remember my siblings and I would always ask my mother who was her favorite child…she would always say “I hate you all the same” and I feel the same way about my fellow Chopped judges [laughing].
What first inspired you to cook?
I needed a job! I started working at a family friend’s restaurant at 15 and embraced the camaraderie of the kitchen. I’ve been working full-time ever since.
If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be and what would you serve?
Either the Dalai Lama or Bob Dylan and it wouldn’t matter what I served them because it’s the Dalai Lama and Bob Dylan!
What are your summer plans?
I can’t wait to take my daughter to the Bridgehampton Beach Club and teach her to hit a baseball—I still have hope for the first female major-league player.
Corn and Jalapeño Tagliolini
1 oz. extra virgin olive oil
¼ jalapeño pepper, sliced about ?…›-inch thick
1 tbsp. red onion, diced small
¼ cup corn, raw, cut off the cob
¼ cup asparagus, thinly sliced on the bias
5 ½ oz. tagliolini
1 tbsp. Pecorino Romano, grated
1 tbsp. butter
In a sauté pan, combine olive oil and jalapeño peppers; lightly sweat the pepper for 30 seconds. Add red onion, and cook for another 30 seconds. Mix in corn and asparagus. Cook for an additional minute. Boil pasta separately. Add 4 oz. of pasta water to the pan. Add in the cooked pasta, and allow to finish cooking in the pan with the water. Top with Pecorino Romano and butter, and toss until incorporated into the pasta.
Read the Article at Hamptons-Magazine.com HERE.