Thursday, February 04, 2010

Lucy's Whey

Cheese, I thought I made bad puns...
Anyway (ouch), Lucy's Whey, an East Hampton favorite, recently opened a branch in Chelsea Market.  It's a wee store, specializing in American artisanal cheeses.   I did feel a bit too waited on, which is better than the reverse, I suppose, and the staff is certainly quite generous with both information and tastes.  Chose Rogue Creamery's Smokey Blue, the first-ever smoked blue cheese.  One would think that this would be a clash of flavor titans, but the light nutty smokiness seems to both temper and enliven the tang of the creamy blue.  Also picked up a small bag of shelled black walnuts.  I thought salad, which is really the only thing to eat when the windchill is -2.

Blue cheese and walnuts are a classic combo, but I was disappointed when I tasted the walnuts: they had an odd, funky flavor.  I was expecting an uberwalnut,  and was decidedly underwhelmed.  Bruce suggested that I toast and then candy them. Never having candied anything but grapefruit peel before, I was good to go.   I heated a little grapeseed oil in a pan over medium heat, and tossed in a handful of nuts.  As soon as they started smelling toasty, I stirred in a couple of teaspoons of sugar and stirred some more.  Holy nuts, they were actually candying!  As soon as they started to color (and they will do this very quickly), I dumped them onto a paper plate.

I sliced up about half a jar of Rick's Picks Phat Beets.  Used some of the jar's liquid--with a little chopped shallot and salt and pepper --for the dressing.  Tossed in crumbled blue cheese and candied walnuts.  Toss again so that the blue cheese turns violently pink.   Serve with crusty bread.

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I'm a ninth-generation Brooklyn native living in Manhattan.