Chef Bryan Gregg of Escape Montclair has been a crusader for local New Jersey food producers for over 15 years. At his Essex County restaurant, Escape Montclair, Chef Gregg showcases the freshest locally-sourced vegetables, fruits, fish, seafood and meats.
Chef Gregg began building his relationships with local farmers when he was Executive Chef at Ho-Ho-Kus Inn and Michael Anthony’s knowing he’d one day use these resources when he opened a farm-to-table restaurant.
Chef Gregg has been the featured chef twice at the prestigious James Beard House where he features New Jersey products on his menus. In 2015, he was named the Best Jersey Seafood Chef at the Jersey Seafood Challenge and as a result, represented the Garden State at the 2015 Great American Seafood Cook-Off in New Orleans, where he won the Seafood Showdown. His passion for local products can be experienced on every plate that’s served at Escape.
“Some of the farmers we work closest with are Roaming Acres, Happy Harvest Hydroponic Farms, Oak Grove Plantation, Melick’s Town Farm and Bracco Farms,” said Chef Gregg in a recent interview. From Roaming Acres, he sources ostrich and pork. Garnish herbs and some greens come from Happy Harvest. Grains are purchased from Oak Grove Plantation. Meat, apples, cider, strawberries, squash, greens and more come from Melick’s. Bracco Farms provides GMO-free produce.
Chef Gregg kindly shared a recipe he’s been featuring this season at Escape, incorporating squash from Cassaday Farms and scallops from Barnegat Light.
Grilled Scallops, Summer Squash Salad, Dill Vinaigrette
- 10 Barnegat Light scallops
- 4 squash blossoms
- 2 pearl onions, cut in half
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- ½ teaspoon fresh dill
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper
- 1 medium New Jersey zucchini, sliced in very thin rounds
- Salt and pepper
- Season scallops with salt and pepper and lightly grill them over medium-high heat in a grill pan, about one minute on each side (could also use an outdoor grill). Cool the scallops then slice them thinly into rounds.
- Lightly salt and pepper the blossoms then grill them on medium heat in a grill pan for about one minute, turning to ensure they don’t burn. Allow to cool.
- In a grill pan over medium-high heat, place the pearl onions cut side down and char to a deep brown color. Place the charred onions in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside until ready to use.
- Combine the vinegar, dill, olive oil, mustard and salt and pepper in a small container and shake about 15 seconds to combine and create a creamy dressing.
- On two dinner plates, divide the scallop slices, the blossoms and the zucchini rounds. Pull apart the onions and add the pieces to the plates. Drizzle the dressing over the ingredients.
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