Citrus, herbs, and raw seafood is of course, a universal thing. I was reminded of that during lunch last weekend at The Standard Tap. Enjoying the warm air on their roof deck, scallop crudo was an obvious choice. Complemented with lemon balm oil, microgreens, parsley, and black sesame seeds, it was another version of a simple idea. The people at Shore Catch tell me that another customer slices the scallops thin, cures them a few minutes with lemon juice, and serves them with bits of habanero for a brilliant sounding ceviche.
Debra from Center City (whom I ran into a few seconds ago while typing this at P.S. & Co. coffee shop on Locust) tells me she adds a citrus cured lobster salad from the Lobster House in Cape May to wedge cut mortgage lifters, a heirloom tomato variety she grows in her shore house garden (they’re meatier and more flavorful than your average beef steak she says).
The herbal elements—shiso and lemon balm—found there way into so many other summer dishes that I’ve been reproducing recently. With bundles bought on the cheap from Neighborhood Foods, an urban farmstand at the Rittenhouse farmers market, I was combining the herbs with ingredients soon to disappear.
For one of the best corn dishes I’ve ever made, I boiled 5 ears in the same pot I used to parboil lamb sausage from Cappuccio’s in the Italian Market. Inspired by half-remembered dishes at both Cheu Noodle Bar in Philly and Barley Swine in Austin (I believe, a dish with a light crema, corn and shiso at the former; herbs, shishito peppers, citrus and light cream at the latter) I mixed the corn and grill pan finished sausage that I crumbled with shiso, lemon balm, shishito peppers, heirloom tomato and a really poor attempt at mayo (yolks, lemon juice, salt, canola oil, black pepper, mustard) that turned out to be a solid salad dressing (i.e. I shit the bed on making mayo for the first time*). Said dressing added inflections to a lamb fat coating that couldn’t drown out the distinct summer flavor that each fresh kernel held. Again, the herbs made everything brighter while balancing the fat here.