Instead of using salt cod, a classic Portuguese ingredient that takes days to soak, New York City chef George Mendes of Aldea quick-cures fresh cod by standing it in kosher salt for only 10 minutes. He says cod is naturally soft and flaky ("as well as bland," he adds), so salting gives it a firmer texture and a more pronounced flavor.
Pairing: Minerally Portugese white: 2010 Louis Pato Maria Gomes or Vinhas Velhas.
Grilling concentrates the sweet flavor of fresh baby carrots. (Bagged "baby" carrots will never taste the same.) Bryce Gilmore marinates them, then tosses them with a wonderful and unusual dressing he makes by cooking butter until brown, then pureeing it with marcona almonds and sherry vinegar.
Pairing: Full-bodied Chardonnay: 2008 Landmark Damaris Reserve bottling or the lemony 2009 Luli.
Lee Woolver uses lima beans from the Beekman garden to make a green butter for fish. For a neat presentation, roll the herbed butter in plastic wrap into a cylinder and refrigerate until firm. Slice off rounds of butter as you need them.
Pairing: Citrusy, full-bodied Chenin Blanc: 2009 Pascal Janvier Jasnières.
Jeremy Sewall steams his lobsters over seaweed, but if that's hard to get, use large leaves of romaine (or even just a metal colander) to keep the lobsters from becoming submerged in the water. Lemon thyme, a type of thyme with a lemony taste, adds a fresh flavor to the melted butter for the lobsters.
Pairing: Minerally Verdejo: 2009 Shaya or 2009 Sanz Villa Narcisa.