3 Summer Recipes from Westport Chef Caroline Fey

left: Cacio e pepe deviled eggs with balsamic pearls and basil. middle: Caroline putting the finishing touches on hors d’oeuvres. right: Nectarine and burrata crostini with pistachio pesto and calabrian chili honey, on a platter from Bespoke Designs.

Photographs: Julia D’Agastino

While the winter holidays may be about polished glitz and glam, the summer is all about relaxed elegance. A simple sparkle to match the golden hour of a stunning sunset. A memorable night with friends built on spontaneity and the ambition to seize the season.

Chef Caroline Fey’s philosophy for cooking, and entertaining in general, is elevated recipes for everyday living, and she feels this never rings truer than in the summertime. Summer is nature’s chime for friends and family to gather and bask in the opportunity to slow down and unwind.

Caroline and friends enjoying a summer gathering at her home in Westport.

“Getting together should be as fun and breezy as an evening spent at Compo Beach,” notes Fey. “My favorite gatherings are the ones that feel special because of their approachable intimacy — and they shouldn’t be hard to pull together. I find inspiration in everything around me and bring these elements into the events I plan.”

Fey recently organized a summer get-together with some of my closest girlfriends at her home in Westport. She decided early evening was best, so she planned a menu inspired by some of her favorite locally sourced rosés, featuring small bites that celebrated the flavors of the summer and paired well with the wine.

One place she found inspiration was the Westport Farmers Market. For her menu she wanted to ensure there was a range of flavors and textures, and the market puts the season’s spoils on display. Having a crudité board is a really easy way to bring color and flavors to the table. While she loves making dips, to keep things simple, she often makes her favorite Green Goddess recipe, but source others from the farmers at the market or Whole Foods.

left: Grilled shrimp with romesco sauce, inspired by her time living in Spain. right: These berry trifles with vanilla bean crème fraîche and shortbread cookies are the perfect five minute dessert.

Westport Chef Caroline Fey’s Summer Recipes

Three Recipes You Need to Know

Green Goddess Dip Recipe


Makes about 2 cups

Green Goddess salad dressing originated in 1923 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. It was named after a hit play at the time called The Green Goddess. While the salad dressing is fantastic, the bright green, herby flavors are perfect in a dip as well, and brighten up any crudité board. Feel free to use whatever herbs you have on hand; thyme and cilantro work well here, too.

Ingredients:
1 cup packed basil leaves
½ cup packed parsley leaves
2 tablespoons tarragon leaves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons dill fronds, roughly chopped
1 large garlic clove
¾ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon packed lemon zest
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
1 small shallot, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 medium ripe avocado, pitted
½ cup (4 oz) sour cream
¼ cup mayonnaise

Preparation:
Put all the ingredients into a blender and process until smooth.

Nectarine & Burrata Crostini with Pistachio Pesto & Calabrian Chili Honey Recipe


Makes about 40 crostini

I love the combination of sweet fruit and salty cheese on crostini, and these do not disappoint. The pistachio pesto is so good you can put it on just about anything. If you’re in a pinch make these crostini with store-bought pesto and they will still be delicious. Don’t skip the Calabrian chili honey drizzle though; it brightens up the crostini and adds a little bit of sweet heat. My favorite Calabrian chili paste is from Trader Joe’s and it’s fermented. If you don’t love spicy food, add a little bit of the paste because it’s pretty hot, or just use honey alone.

Ingredients:

Crostini:
1 day old baguette, thinly sliced into about 40 pieces
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Pepper

Pistachio Pesto:
2 cups fresh basil leaves (without large stems)
¼ cup roughly chopped pistachios
1 large garlic clove
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Toppings:
3 firm nectarines, thinly sliced
3 balls burrata, drained on paper towels before being torn into small pieces
½ cup good honey
1 teaspoon (or less) Calabrian chili paste
Basil sprigs

Preparation:

Crostini:
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Place the baguette slices on a lined baking sheet and drizzle generously with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake until crisp and golden at the edges, 10 to 14 minutes. Cool.

Pistachio Pesto:
Put the basil, pistachios, garlic and salt in a food processor and process until finely chopped. While the machine is running, slowly add the olive oil until the mixture is smooth. Add the cheese and pulse a few times, until it is just incorporated. Use right away, or store in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can freeze the pesto as well.

To Serve:
Mix the honey with the Calabrian chili paste and set aside. Place the crostini on a serving tray. Spread about a teaspoon of pesto onto each crostini. Top with a piece of the burrata and a slice of nectarine. Drizzle with honey and garnish with fresh basil leaves.

Summer Berry Trifles With Shortbread & Whipped Crème Fraîche


Makes 6 small trifles in mason jars, little vases, or juice glasses

Making these incredibly simple little trifles in cute jars or glasses makes them feel special. If you don’t want to buy a vanilla bean just to make the whipped crème fraiche, you can purchase Vermont Creamery vanilla bean crème fraiche, which easily takes care of the issue. It’s sold at Whole Foods. You can also use vanilla bean paste, which can be sourced at Williams-Sonoma.

Ingredients:
1 8oz. container crème fraiche
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds removed or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
1 package shortbread cookies, roughly smashed with a rolling pin
2 cups of your favorite summer berries – I used raspberries and blackberries but any combo will do

Preparation:
Mix the crème fraiche, confectioners’ sugar & vanilla together in a bowl and whisk until the texture of loose whipped cream.

Add a spoonful of the whipped crème fraiche to the bottom of mini trifle dishes or mason jars. Next, add a few berries and sprinkle of shortbread cookies. Top with a spoonful of the whipped crème fraîche. Repeat, top with a shortbread cookie piece and a berry and serve.

Rosé All Day!

Fey also shared her favorite Roses to pair with her dishes, below.

Six Picks To Sip

  • Thibaud Boudignon Rose De Loire 2022
  • G.D. Vajra “Rosabella” Rosato Rose 2022
  • Ameztoi Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2022
  • Von Winning in Deidesheim Pinot Noir Rosé 2022
  • Lieu Dit Rosé Santa Barbara County 2022
  • Petit Ours Rosé Matthieu Barret 2022

Meet Caroline Fey

Westport-based Caroline Fey is a classically trained chef who grew up in Westchester County and Park City, Utah. She spent years working in restaurants before starting her own business in 2010 called The City Kitchen in San Francisco. Through The City Kitchen, Caroline taught cooking classes, catered events and consulted with food-tech companies. During the pandemic, she started a meal delivery business in Marin County, feeding hundreds of families each week. In 2021, Caroline and her husband decided to move to Westport with their two small boys. She currently teaches cooking classes and hosts events at Wakeman Town Farm, and continues to do consulting for culinary brands and food-tech companies.

To Book, Visit:
Website: carolinefey.com
Instagram: @carolinefey


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