By Caroline Biggs

Published on June 24, 2015

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Photography by Brittany Ambridge

in bloom

At the sunny showroom of acclaimed ceramicist Christopher Spitzmiller, his boyfriend, the designer Sam Allen, hosted a luncheon to celebrate the publication of pal Steven Stolman’s new book, 40 Years of Fabulous: The Kips Bay Decorator Show House. Allen took its candy-pink cover (inspired by Amanda Nisbet’s stunning Positano textile collection) as inspiration for his party’s theme, layering in some of Spitzmiller’s marbleized tableware, as well as complementary tablecloths from Lexington (in a preppy pale-blue gingham) and Carleton V (in a lively paisley pattern). To suit this summery scene, Allen asked John Beatty—executive chef of the popular downtown Manhattan seafood eatery CATCH—to serve up a menu of ocean-fresh nibbles, such as lettuce wraps filled with delicately charred sea bass and skewers of Wagyu steak and lobster claw. “I love that honoring a dear friend allows you the opportunity to beautify a beloved space,” says Allen, “while spending time with some of your favorite people.”

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Allen (carefully!) slices an eight-layer strawberry shortcake, a treasured family recipe.

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TABLECLOTH

Spring Collection in blue by Lexington

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BONBONS

by Ben e-mail benformby@gmail.com

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Stolman autographs copies of his latest book.

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These bottles of Chandon are (almost) too adorable to uncork!

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Chef John Beatty of CATCH served up a mouthwatering menu.

WINEGLASSES

Lexington by Lexington each

PLATES

hand-marbled in Delft blue and white, christopherspitzmiller.com 

VASES

big silver julep cups, jamaligarden.com 

FABRIC

(used as a tablecloth) Sea Island in blues, carletonvltd.com

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Spitzmiller generously opened up his showroom for the event.

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Re-create the event’s enticing appetizers using these recipes from CATCH’s executive chef, John Beatty.

SURF ’N’ TURF SKEWERS

serves 8

8 ounces Wagyu New York strip steak (or substitute prime New York strip steak)
8 ounces lobster claw
2 cups low-sodium soy sauce
1 cup sugar
¼ cup thinly sliced chives

instruction

Cut the steak into eight pieces each roughly the size and length of a thumb.

Prepare an ice-water bath in a large bowl. Cook the lobster claws in a large pot of boiling water for exactly 6 minutes. Transfer immediately to the ice-water bath and allow to chill completely. Remove the shell and cut the tips off.

Add the soy sauce and sugar to a small pot and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce has reduced to a thick glaze.

Preheat a lightly oiled grill to high heat. (If you don’t have a grill, you can broil the skewers on a lightly oiled baking sheet at 400°F for 3 to 4 minutes, until medium rare.) Skewer 1 piece of Wagyu followed by 1 lobster claw. Season with salt and pepper. Cook the skewers for 30 seconds per side, or until the steak is medium rare. Remove from the grill and immediately glaze with the soy reduction. Garnish with the chives. Serve immediately.

wine paring

A light and floral Cotes du Rhone will round out the intensely sweet and salty soy glaze.

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BOURBON MISO SEA BASS LETTUCE CUPS

serves 4 to 6

2 cups olives of your choice (such as Castelvetrano)
1 cup white miso
½ cup honey
¼ cup rice vinegar
8 ounces sea bass
1 pound shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
½ pound button mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 cups low-sodium soy sauce
1 cup sugar
1 quart canola oil
1 ounce kataifi dough (shredded phyllo dough)
2 tablespoons sliced scallions
8 pieces gem lettuce

instruction

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Add the miso, honey, bourbon, and rice vinegar to a small bowl and mix until combined.

Cut the sea bass into eight pieces each roughly the size and length of a thumb. Add the sea bass to the miso marinade and allow to marinate for 10 minutes. Transfer the sea bass to a small sheet pan and bake in the preheated oven for 7 to 10 minutes, until darkly caramelized.

Add the shiitake and button mushrooms, soy sauce, and sugar to a small pot. Cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender and the sauce has reduced to a thick glaze.

Heat the canola oil in a medium saucepot to 350°F. Fry the kataifi in the heated oil until golden brown, about 1 minute.

When ready to plate the cups, cut a circle out of the center of each lettuce leaf using a three-inch metal ring mold. Place a small spoonful of the mushroom mixture onto each piece of lettuce, followed by a pinch of the crispy kataifi, a slice of the cooked sea bass, and a pinch of the sliced scallion. Serve immediately.

wine pairing

A sweet, acidic sauvignon blanc will complement the salty miso and tender fish.