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Summer Entertaining

5 casual feast recipes from Sam Jackson

The chef and co-owner of Southie Australian restaurant KO Pies tries out his East Boston location’s much-more-than-pies menu on a group of new neighbors and old friends.

Anthony Tieuli

Chef Sam Jackson loves his cleaver. He uses it to trim meat, to mince herbs, to segment limes — the last very gingerly, cradling the peeled fruit in one hand and holding the blade’s heel in the other, cutting flesh from pith. There’s actually a giant cleaver sculpture right outside the new restaurant he’s getting ready to open this month in the Boston Harbor Shipyard & Marina in East Boston. It will be the second KO Pies, expanding on both the menu and idea (the original is all Australian, all the time, mostly traditional meat pies) from the original in South Boston.

The lime segments are destined for a salad of crab, avocado, tarragon, parsley, and spinach. The food at KO Pies in the Shipyard is not exactly Australian cuisine, but it reflects Jackson’s style of cooking: beautiful ingredients, simply yet inventively prepared.

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He’s trying out ideas on his mates tonight, many of them fellow expatriates who are here to sample highlights from the new menu and preview the second restaurant a couple of weeks before launch. The feel is casual — “I’ve got really good food,” says Jackson, “and I’m not going to get too caught up in the formalities” — and the patio table is set simply and dotted with a mix of wines plus beers from his favorite local brewery. A few friends are due to come by after work with their partners, kids, dogs. A couple of them have been here before — Damien Helem, a carpenter originally from Melbourne, to build out the walnut-topped bar inside, and New Zealand-born Jason Ward, whose Dorchester company makes game-fishing lures (the 8-inchers are for stripers or tuna), to check out the dock-front location.

And when the last of the pineapple has been grilled and eaten and the coals in the barbie have gone cold, that’s exactly where Jackson and his mates head. It’s not Sydney Harbor, but things are going swimmingly in Boston. — Anne V. Nelson

 

“I use fresh Jonah crab from Sunny’s Seafood, a commercial supplier on Fish Pier. But they’ll sell to anyone— you just have to go down there, have a sense of adventure.”

Anthony Tieuli

“I use fresh Jonah crab from Sunny’s Seafood, a commercial supplier on Fish Pier. But they’ll sell to anyone— you just have to go down there, have a sense of adventure.”

JONAH CRAB, SCALLION, TOMATO, AND AVOCADO SALAD

Serves 8

1 pound cooked Jonah crab meat (not from a can)

4 ripe avocados, peeled and cut

into large chunks

2 cucumbers, cut into large chunks

2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved

2 bunches scallions, sliced on an angle

½ bunch Italian parsley, roughly chopped

½ bunch tarragon, finely chopped

2 limes, peeled and cut into segments

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

12 ounces baby spinach, washed and spun dry

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Juice of 2 limes, divided

In a large bowl, toss all salad ingredients except for spinach with ¼ cup oil and juice of 1 lime. On a large platter, lay out spinach and drizzle with the remaining oil and lime juice. Top spinach with crab salad and serve.

Cut the zucchini for this salad into rough, rustic chunks.

Anthony Tieuli

Cut the zucchini for this salad into rough, rustic chunks.

GRILLED ZUCCHINI SALAD

Serves 8

FOR THE SALAD

1 teaspoon chopped rosemary

1 teaspoon chopped thyme

3 garlic cloves, minced

Grated zest of ½ lemon

¼ cup olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

2 pounds zucchini, cut lengthwise into ½-inch slices

Small handful fresh mint, roughly chopped

1 cup roasted red peppers, peeled, seeded, and finely sliced

1 small red onion, diced

8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

FOR THE DRESSING

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup red wine vinegar

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

In a large bowl, mix rosemary, thyme, garlic, lemon zest, oil, salt, and black pepper. Add zucchini and allow to marinate for at least an hour. Heat grill to medium-high heat. Grill zucchini strips for 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Set aside to cool, then slice on a slight angle into chunks. Toss in a large bowl with chopped mint, red peppers, onion, and feta.

In a separate bowl, mix the two oils, vinegar, salt, and black pepper. Toss the salad in the desired amount of dressing and serve.

Your butcher may call this cut “lamb top” or “lamb top round.”

Anthony Tieuli

Your butcher may call this cut “lamb top” or “lamb top round.”

BARBECUED LAMB TOP

Serves 8

½ cup olive oil

1½ tablespoons paprika

1 tablespoon ground cumin

½ bunch rosemary, picked and roughly chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

Grated zest of 2 lemons

2 shallots, peeled and sliced

3 pounds lamb top round

Lemon wedges, for serving

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, adding lamb top last. Allow to marinate for at least 3 hours but preferably overnight.

Heat grill so one side is very hot and the other is low to medium heat. Place the marinated lamb top on the hot part of the grill, reserving the marinade for basting (as needed). Grill for 8 to 10 minutes or until seared with dark grill marks, then turn and sear another 8 to 10 minutes (about 16 to 20 minutes total on hot side of the grill). Move lamb to low-to-medium side of grill and continue cooking for about 12 to 15 minutes or until the lamb’s internal temperature reaches 140 degrees (for medium). Allow the lamb to rest for at least 8 minutes. To serve, slice against the grain of the meat. Fan the meat out on a platter and serve with lemon wedges.

The grilled salmon is served with mango, chili, and lime salsa.

Anthony Tieuli

The grilled salmon is served with mango, chili, and lime salsa.

CHAR-GRILLED SALMON WITH MANGO, CHILI, AND KAFFIR LIME SALSA

Serves 8

2 pounds salmon fillets, with skin and cut into

8 4-ounce portions

Salt and pepper, to taste

Olive oil, for brushing

2 ripe mangoes, peeled and cut into ¼-inch dice

½ red onion, finely diced

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Juice of 2 limes

1 Thai bird’s-eye chili, seeded and finely sliced

3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce

2 Kaffir lime leaves, stemmed and finely sliced

1 tablespoon superfine sugar

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Heat grill to medium-high heat. Season salmon with salt and pepper and brush liberally with oil. In a bowl, mix remaining ingredients well, stirring salsa until sugar is dissolved. Place salmon on grill, presentation-side down, and grill 2 to 3 minutes. Turn over and grill for another 2 to 3 minutes. Place salmon on a platter with a bowl of the salsa in the middle and serve.

“I use Mount Gay Rum in this recipe and coconut ice cream from Christina’s in Cambridge.” 

Anthony Tieuli

“I use Mount Gay Rum in this recipe and coconut ice cream from Christina’s in Cambridge.” 

RUM- AND SPICE-SOAKED PINEAPPLE WITH COCONUT ICE CREAM

Serves 8

1 cup dark rum

2 cinnamon sticks

2 star anise

2 limes, quartered

1 vanilla bean, split

6 cloves

½ cup light brown sugar

1 large ripe pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 8 slices

1 quart coconut ice cream

½ cup unsweetened coconut, toasted

½ cup light brown sugar

1 large ripe pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 12 to 16 chunks

1 quart coconut ice cream

½ cup unsweetened coconut, toasted

In a large saucepan, combine rum, cinnamon, star anise, limes, vanilla bean and seeds (scrape them into the pan), cloves, and brown sugar. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently until the sugar has dissolved. Place half of the rum syrup in a large bowl and add the pineapple. Allow to marinate for about 30 minutes (save the other half of the syrup for serving).

In the meantime, heat grill to medium-high heat. Grill the pineapple for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, adding rum syrup from the marinade as needed to create a glaze and caramelize. Serve pineapple slices with a scoop of coconut ice cream, drizzled with rum syrup, and topped with toasted coconut.

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