On a late-summer afternoon, Marc Murphy fires up the massive wood-burning grill on his third-floor Hamptons deck, the scent and sound of the sparkling Atlantic to his left and the makings of a six-course gourmet seafood dinner to his right. The 47-year-old chef, cookbook author, and star judge on the Food Network's Chopped—barefoot and clad in a T-shirt and shorts on his spacious, perfect-for-parties deck—is in his happy place. "My life here revolves around me figuring out what I'm going to make for dinner that night and who's going to be a part of it," he says. "And I love every minute of it. I like cooking here better than anywhere else."
When he's not cooking or surfing, Murphy revels in a constant flurry of activity at the Bridgehampton home he shares with his wife, Pamela Schein Murphy, and their two kids, Campbell and Callen. With a pool table, Ping-Pong table, bocce ball court, dining table built for 10, and that killer ocean view, it's an entertainer's paradise. "I'll cook whatever fresh fish I find at the market," says Murphy, who also grows his own herbs and veggies in a mini decktop garden. One constant is his method of summer cooking: Most meals are prepared almost entirely on the wood-burning grill. Everything he makes is sophisticated—oysters with herb butter, grilled pineapple with mascarpone—yet simple and delicious, allowing Murphy to pour a glass of wine and spend his evenings doing exactly what he comes to the Hamptons to do. "Life slows down here," he says, "and we can focus on just relaxing, having fun, and spending time with friends." Here, a few of his favorites for a fiery summer feast.
Dressed in olive oil, garlic, crushed red pepper, and crumbled feta cheese, this vegetable medley isn’t your average side dish. To start, throw the broccoli rabe on the grill, uncovered, and the rest is a breeze. Top with feta cheese and olive oil to add a different set of flavors to the green dish.
Nothing says summer like a platter of vibrant red, juicy ripe tomatoes. Would an outdoor summer feast be complete without them? Chef Marc Murphy tops off this classic side dish by drizzling with warm anchovy vinaigrette and sprinkling with a dash of loosely packed parsley. The result: a temperate combination of seasonal flavors that is oh so refreshing.
Here, chef Murphy serves up oysters on the half shell with a tarragon twist. The recipe calls for 40 oysters, scrubbed and dry, meaning it’s the ideal seaside appetizer for a hungry crowd. Flavors of tarragon, shallot, garlic, and zesty lemon flood these bivalves for a deliciously salty and satisfying slurp.
The star of the seafood feast: grilled stripe bass on a bed of corn-and-chorizo salad. This flavorful main dish only requires about a half hour of preparation yet tastes gourmet. Season eight pieces of striped bass fillets and toss them on the grill for eight to 10 minutes, until white, flaky, and tender. The finishing touch: whisk together a combination of red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, and scallions for an herb vinaigrette dressing that is absolutely divine.
The best part about this soft-shell crab dish: It’s easy to execute at home. The next best perk: It pairs perfectly with the grilled greens and yellows that are also making an appearance at the feast. With quality ingredients and delectable presentation, this platter of crab meat is impressive to both the taste buds and the eye.
Grilling pineapple is the ultimate way to unleash the sweetness of the tropical fruit. While it is a great addition to a dinner dish, Marc Murphy think it's better at dessert, topped with a cream mascarpone and nutty crumble--the perfect topping for a sweet, summertime treat after a long day on the shore.