Labor Day, the first Monday in September, celebrates American working people. It also represents the end of summer, and (in high society) it’s the last acceptable day to wear white or seersucker.
For some, this weekend means goodbye until Memorial Day; for others it’s the welcome respite of September. Either way, it’s a good excuse for a no-labor, Labor Day barbecue. Don’t be a slave to the kitchen. Hit the beach, buy some burgers, steaks, veggies, and wings on the way home, don your best whites (or seersucker), fire up the grill, and celebrate work by not being there. The following are a few options for where to buy the necessities. Also, check with local farms such as The FARM Institute, Grey Barn and Farm, and The Good Farm for local meat.
Edgartown Meat and Fish Market is a your one-stop-shop for prime steaks, fresh seafood, produce, beer, and wine. “Labor Day is a big hot dog and hamburger holiday,” says owner Sean Ready. Appropriately, they have five different hot dogs and seven burgers, all ground in house. For easy grilling, check out the shrimp skewers, kabobs, and marinated steaks, chicken, and fish.
Shiretown Meats, also in Edgartown, has been serving the Island’s barbecue needs for more than 30 years. Owner David Vaughn speaks highly of his lemon herb chicken and Cajun ribs, which are only $3.99/lb. this week. “Perfect for grilling,” he says. The steak pinwheel — sirloin tips stuffed with Pecorino-Romano, garlic, and cracked pepper — is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Shiretown is an old-fashioned butcher shop, with all meats cut to order; hamburgers are ground and sausages are made in house. On your way to the beach check out their made-to-order sandwiches, with over 40 to choose from.
The Net Result in Vineyard Haven boasts, “Fish so fresh it will make you blush.” Stop into any of the Island’s fish markets from Edgartown to Menemsha for the freshest the sea has to offer like cod, scallops, hake, monkfish, oysters (which are excellent grilled), and of course, lobsters.
Black Sheep in Edgartown has specialty items to make the perfect picnic basket. Check them out for cured meats, fine cheeses, patés, fancy sodas, and more. Soigne, also in Edgartown, has a great prepared food section as well as fine wines, cheeses, dips, crackers, and cookies. The Tisbury Farm Market and Grocer in Vineyard Haven and Reliable Market in Oak Bluffs have meats, marinades, and everything else you’ll need for your no-labor Labor Day.
These recipes highlight what’s left of the summer’s bounty. Enjoy!
Most people with a summer garden have faced the problem of too much zucchini. This will take care of some of them, depending on how many guests you have.
Zucchini Slaw (adapted from Leite’s Culinaria)
2 medium zucchini, unpeeled, julienned
2 yellow summer squash, unpeeled, julienned
2 carrots, julienned
4 scallions (white and green parts), julienned
1 bell pepper (color of your choice), cored, seeded, julienned
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Combine in a large bowl, or divvy the slaw in half if you’ll try both dressings.
Do you like rich and creamy slaws? Or tart and tangy? Here are two dressings, choose one or make a batch of each.
For the creamy slaw dressing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
whisk all ingredients together in a large bowl, use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
For the tart and tangy dressing:
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Large pinch of poppy seeds (optional)
A mason jar would be perfect to make this dressing in. Combine all ingredients, screw on the lid and shake until the sugar dissolves. Voila.
Gorgonzola Tomato Salad (from Serious Eats)
It’s tomato season and you should be eating as many plump, juicy heirlooms as you can stand.
3 or 4 of your favorites summer tomato
1 pinch of salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
4 to 5 cups of freshly washed and drained, dark green lettuce (arugula would be great) mixed with shredded red cabbage
3 to 4 ounces of Gorgonzola cheese
Thinly slice the tomatoes. Lay in a colander. Sprinkle with salt. Drain excess liquid over the sink for several minutes. Add oil to vinegar in drops (to create an emulsion).Toss tomatoes and greens together with the cheese (reserve about ¼ of cheese). Add the dressing, toss again. Top the salad with the remainder of cheese before serving.
Corn on the cob with lime salt (from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home)
6 ears of sweet corn, shucked
6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
¼ cup sea salt
grated zest of one lime
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives.
Make the lime salt by putting the sea salt and lime zest in a jar, shake until combined.Cut off both ends of each ear of corn. Boil corn in well-salted water for 5 to 7 minutes, until corn is tender. Meanwhile, transfer about 2 tablespoons of the cooking water to a large bowl. Add the butter and swirl the bowl over heat to emulsify. Add the lime salt to taste. Set aside. Drain the corn and add to the butter. Sprinkle in chives. Swirl the bowl to coat evenly.
Sprinkle with additional lime and salt to taste.