Welcome to the fourth Edible Eat of the Week! A recurring series, Edible Eat of the Week celebrates the bounty of Long Island by showcasing special, seasonal eats and the people who make them.
The Eat: Cioppino, the fisherman-style stew of our dreams.
The Place: North Fork Table & Inn in Southold.
The Story: North Fork Table & Inn is consistently cited (by critics and foodies alike) as Long Island’s best restaurant—and for good reason. The Southold institution, founded by chefs Gerry Hayden and Claudia Fleming in 2006, consistently serves exquisite, expertly prepared New American cuisine at comparatively modest prices.
Before everyone and their uncles were preaching “farm-to-table” cuisine, North Fork Table & Inn was simply making it happen—supporting local farmers and building menus seasonally around their produce. This was how Gerry Hayden did it; this is how he trained his successor Stephan Bogardus to do it still—and this is how Brian Wilson, North Fork Table’s new executive chef, continues to do it (arguably, even better than in recent years).
For example, take his cioppino.
“I love everything about this dish because it is all seafood,” says Wilson. “I especially love preparing seafood dishes, and this one is a collection of several types: fish, shellfish, calamari, and a delicious broth that brings it all together. A good ‘bounty of the sea’ plate.”
Inspired by all the various fish stew recipes that exist across the world, Wilson’s cioppino—a dish inspired by Italian cuisine, but originating from San Francisco—combines many aspects of his favorite recipes.
“I use striped bass bones and shrimp shells to make the broth, styled after the French bouillabaisse,” says Wilson. “We time the cooking of each piece of fish or seafood so that they all cook perfectly — instead of simply throwing them all into the pot where they can become rubbery. The chorizo gives the dish a nice rich background note and some spice from the smoked paprika. At the bottom of the bowl is saffron rice, a nice complement to the seafood broth. The broth is poured tableside, allowing the aroma to invite the guest to really dive in and enjoy.”
Pro Tip: Chef Wilson recommends you pair your cioppino with a crisp rosé or sauvignon blanc. We recommend you listen to the man.