|Best of Friends|
Anna started cooking professionally in 1979. She’d taken courses from James Beard among others and she says of herself “ I learned that way. I’m not a chef at all, I am a cook and I just loved it.” My favorite story about Anna’s introduction to cooking in the Hamptons involved that other Food Goddess in our midst, Ina Garten. At the time, Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa was located in Westhampton. Anna answered a classified ad for a cook, which Ina responded to by asking her to come into the store and demonstrate her skills. Instead, Anna invited Ina for a meal. Ina was bowled over by Anna’s cooking, gave her the job and remained to this day one of Anna’s closest friends. In fact, Ina’s admiration is on full display on the cover of Anna’s most recent cookbook “Summer on a Plate” (Simon and Schuster 2008). She writes “No one has inspired me more than Anna Pump. Her recipes are simple, elegant and absolutely delicious.” I think everyone who has ever eaten anything Anna ever cooked feels exactly the same way. And we’ve all had plenty of opportunities to sample her wonderful food.
|In the Garden of
The Bridgehampton Inn
“Loaves and Fishes” is not Anna’s only venture in the Hamptons. In the early 1900s she and Detfer bought a local landmark built in the 1790s. With their daughter Sybille, they turned the place into The Bridgehampton Inn where they not only have lodging and a great restaurant, they also have cooking classes. And this year, they moved their Loaves and Fishes Cookshop, which Sybille and her husband, Gerritt van Kempen own and operate, into a new space in front of the Inn. The store is locally famous for its “We accept Euros” sign and for the fact that miraculously it carries merchandise no Williams-Sonoma store ever has.
|A colorful side dish of Grape Tomatoes|
Today’s post is an homage to Anna and to our dear friends who introduced Anna to us. Michael and Jim have birthdays very close together. And to celebrate, Michael asked if we would make a recipe from Anna’s first Cookbook, “The Loaves and Fishes Cookbook” (MacMillen 1985). It was the first time in years that we’d had the dish which is an absolute shame. We used this as a dinner party dish for several seasons when it was first published. At the time, tuna was not the premium priced fish it is today. Before the arrival of Sushi in every supermarket, tuna was a bargain. Not any more. Even though this is a local fish, it rang up at $24.00 a lb. But if ever a dish were worth splurging on, this one is. The big fish ‘steaks’ are first marinated for just one hour—no longer. While they sit in their mustard-lemon marinade, you can put together your side dishes. I made a Grape Tomato sauté with shallots and thyme and roasted some asparagus in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. The fish can be grilled outdoors or in. You can even use the broiler if you want. It takes all of 4 minutes a side but check for doneness which will depend on how hot the grill is and how thick your fish is. Pop the cooked fish into a warm oven, keeping all the marinade that will then be added to the Lemon Sauce. And oh what sauce! It’s light and lemony, with a hint of rosemary and touch of garlic. It looks beautiful on the fish and tastes even better on the plate. And if you have any tuna left over, you have the makings of a flawless Salade Nicoise in your future. Here’s the recipe and here’s to our heroine, Anna Pump. We will never forget her and she will live on in the warmest of memories and in the wonderful things she taught us to cook.