A Long Island native, Ed Lightcap received his formal training at the Culinary Institute of America. After graduation, his first position was at Dave’s Grill in Montauk, where he spent five years. Lightcap then owned and operated Below the Royal Atlantic in Montauk, which received two stars from The New York Times. He next held the position of chef at Gosman’s Topside before accepting the more year-round position as a cook at East Hampton’s famed Nick & Toni’s.
After three years working side by side with Chef Joseph Realmuto at Nick & Toni’s, Lightcap was offered the position of chef at its sister restaurant in East Hampton, Rowdy Hall. At Rowdy Hall, Lightcap enjoys preparing familiar dishes with creative twists. Of Lightcap’s fare, Anthony Dias Blue of WCBS Newsradio 880 says, “Start with the steamed mussels, the generous salads, carry on with the grilled salmon, the delicious croque monsieur and the great French fries. That is, if you can resist the Rowdy burger, the best burger in the Hamptons.” Lightcap is married and lives in Montauk, with his wife and three sons.
Eager to try some of Rowdy Hall Chef Ed Lightcap’s recipes? Check out his guide to making butternut squash lasagna here.
Butternut Squash Lasagna with Creamed Spinach & Tomato Vinaigrette
Ingredients (serves four): 1 head butternut squash, 2 cups creamed spinach (see below) and sundried tomato vinaigrette (see below).
Directions: Peel butternut squash and slice 1/4 thick and square off to two inches by five inches, place on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in a 400-degree oven and cook until tender but not mushy (approximately 10–12 minutes). Let cool. This can be done ahead of time.
To assemble, reheat the butternut squash and the creamed spinach when ready to serve. On four individual plates, place a slice of the roasted squash on the plate and top with a generous spoon of creamed spinach. Top with another layer of butternut and creamed spinach, then add one more slice of butternut squash. Drizzle each plate with sundried tomato vinaigrette. (If you want to get fancy, you can top with thinly sliced fried leeks.)
Creamed Spinach: 1 1/2 lbs baby spinach, 3/4 cup whole milk, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1/2 ea small onion (finely chopped), 1/4 ea stick unsalted butter, 2 tbs all purpose flour, pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper (to taste).
Directions: Cook spinach in boiling salted water for one to two minutes, until just wilted. Drain and run under cold water until it’s cool. This will stop it from cooking and also help to keep it green. Squeeze out all the water and chop. Heat milk and cream in a sauce pan until warm. In a three-quart heavy sauce pan, melt butter over moderate heat. Add butter and cook onions for three minutes until soft, whisk in flour and cook roux for three minutes. Add milk and cream mixture to the roux in a quick steam while whisking to prevent lumping. Cook over moderate heat while continuing to whisk until it thickens, approximately three to four minutes. Add spinach, pinch of nutmeg and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette: 2 ea sun-dried tomato halves (pack in oil), 1 1/2 tbs balsamic vinegar, 1/2 clove garlic, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 tbs fresh basil.
Directions: In a blender, add tomato, vinegar, garlic and basil and puree until smooth. Slowly add the oil to make emulsified vinaigrette.
Find more of Rowdy Hall Chef Ed Lightcap’s dishes at rowdyhall.com.