Chef Nick Vogel grew up in the restaurant business. His family operated a bar in Philadelphia, and he learned how to cook from his mother and grandmother. He went on to gain experience in bartending, serving and restaurant management. And although he tried a different path in life—graduating with a degree in finance from Coastal Carolina University and working briefly in that world—the allure of cooking quickly drew him back in.
Nick worked as a line cook at the acclaimed Ebbitt Room in Cape May, NJ and as a farmhand at nearby Beach Plum Farm. After nearly three years as a chef in Washington, D.C., he headed north to Sag Harbor, taking over the kitchen at Baron’s Cove. Vogel and his team at Baron’s Cove have recently joined Dock to Dish, a “CSA for fish” cooperative based out of Montauk. As part of the program, Long Island fishermen bring product straight to the restaurant from the boat, allowing Vogel access to the freshest and most sustainable product available. Baron’s Cove is one of only five Long Island restaurants to gain acceptance into the program.
Curious to learn how Chef Vogel makes the delicious monkfish bites at Baron’s Cove? Find out here, with the official Baron’s Cove Monkfish Bites Recipe.
8 oz monkfish tail: Cut into four 2-oz bite-size pieces
Tempura batter: Make with 2 cups of sparkling water (for best results, make sure it’s cold), 3 eggs, 2 cups of AP flour. Whisk eggs then whisk in water, and then slowly whisk in flour until no lumps are present.
Honey hot sauce: Make with 1 cup of your favorite hot sauce, 1/2 cup honey, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 1/4 lb of butter. In a pot on medium-low heat, combine hot sauce, honey and sugar. After five minutes whisk in sugar, vinegar and butter until combined.
Dill crème fraîche: You’ll need 4 oz dill, 1 cup crème fraîche, 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, 1/4 cup yogurt, salt and pepper to taste. Mince dill very fine (at the restaurant, it’s dehydrated and made it into a powder, but for the home cook, fresh will be great). Mix in with crème fraîche, lemon juice, yogurt and season to your taste.
Final steps: Have a bowl of corn starch set aside with salt and pepper to dredge the monkfish in, 1–2 cups will work great. Also have canola oil or your choice of frying oil in a pot or cast-iron skillet ready at 350 degrees. Dust monkfish in corn starch, place into tempura batter and slowly lay it into the hot oil, 5–6 minutes until golden brown, and it is ready. Take out and toss in your hot sauce, and place over the dill crème fraîche or set aside to use as a dipping sauce. Garnish with celery leaves and chives.