Jay Z ChampagneWhat We're Drinking Now: Champagne Armand de Brignac Gold Brut
Summer has unofficially begun, and hence cocktail hour commences just a little earlier each Friday when we arrive in the Hamptons. To kick off the season, our champagne du jour is the Armand de Brignac Gold Brut, and even better when it’s by the magnum. Otherwise known as the Ace of Spades, or Jay Z’s champagne company, the classic Gold Brut is a staple in our summer house fridge. After all, you never know when Jay & Bey may swing by unexpectedly. Our mantra is to always be prepared.
For those getting wine technical, the Gold Brut is 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Meunier. It’s a trio of vintages from 2009, 2010 and 2012. This champagne inspires us to sear some scallops, which are prime local catch right now in the Hamptons. In July, when the Montauk striped bass floods the fish markets, we’re planning to fire up the grill and place those stripers right on top with just Le Saunier de Camargue fleur de sel and high-quality Greek olive oil. Until then, catch us at cocktail hour shucking oysters and serving an oh-so-chilled glass with our favorite Petrossian caviar.
Clean the scallops under cold water and pat dry very well so there is little moisture left. On a plate, sprinkle sea salt on both sides of the scallop, and a touch of olive oil. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
In a cast iron skillet, heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan over medium high heat. When the skillet is almost smoking, place the scallops, without overcrowding, presentation side down on the skillet. Do not move the scallop until it is time to turn, when it is a golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Turn scallops with tongs and brown for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and squeeze just a small amount of lemon on top. Garnish each scallop with a little bit of mache salad and a slice of Meyer lemon on the side. You can serve this hot or serve it room temperature, which makes it perfect to make ahead before your guests arrive.
To prepare the fish, do not rinse. Instead, generously season the fish with fleur du sel and Greek olive oil. You may also add herbs of your choice; we like to add fresh oregano.
On a charcoal grill that is moderately high in heat, place the fish presentation side down and grill uncovered for about 5-6 minutes. When the fish has those perfect grill marks, turn the fish with two spatulas and grill on the bottom side another 4-5 minutes, depending on the thickness. The fish is done when it is opaque at the thickest part of the filet. Squeeze half a Meyer lemon on top, garnish with more fresh oregano and serve with grilled vegetables.