I hadn’t been to Saint Tropez in several years, and had forgotten how intoxicating it is. Yes—most of what you hear is true. There’s partying until 6am, glamorous clubs, and of course, beaches full of topless European women. Oh my! This Provençal town is anything but quaint. Saint Tropez is always full of life and constantly buzzing with energy. Perhaps that’s why we always seem to enjoy the little things that much more when we visit. Let me give you a rundown of some unexpected highlights– and the secret to bringing St. Tropez to your own home!
We all think of crudités as the sad, obligatory platter of vegetables left out too long at a cocktail party– limp celery sticks and gloopy ranch dressing. Well, at Club Cinquante Cinq, crudités is served as if it just emerged from a still life painting.
It’s said that the owner of Cinquante Cinq grows and picks his own vegetables to be featured daily as crudités. Well, if that’s not what makes this vegetable dish so lovely, then it’s certainly the luscious dip that’s served alongside. My friends are always trying to figure out what’s in the sauce. I think it’s a combination of mayonniase, mustard , capers and anchovy. After all, we were in the Mediterranean!
Our main course was lovely– a beautiful grilled sea bass. ! It may be the most basic dish I’ve ever been served, yet one of the most memorable! As you can see below, the fresh seafood served at Cinquante Cinq is one of their main attractions. Just a touch of lemon is all that freshly caught seafood needs!
Ever had langoustines? They’re like the lovechild of prawns and lobsters. Not to mention delicious. Their sweet and delicate flavor truly needs no accompaniment, however the best ones are the most simple. For lunch at La Pinede, a Michelin rated restaurant inside out hotel, we were served a grilled langoustine dish with Sauce Vierge, a traditional Provençal condiment. Using surprisingly basic Mediterranean ingredients—pine nuts, lemon, olives, tomatoes, capers, and olive oil—these perfect crustaceans were made out-of-this-world delicious. I sound like a broken record but it’s the truth: simplicity is always best!
I was so inspired by this dish that I decided to make my own version in the Hamptons! I grilled branzino, roasted baby new potatoes, and put some fresh summer corn on the grill. I then made my own version of Sauce Vierge, and it was just as I remembered it. Check out my recipe below! To top it all off, we opened a bottle of Rosé. Whispering Angel is our favorite these days.
Here is my Sauce Vierge Recipe:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp capers
1 tbsp pine nuts
1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 tsp fresh marjoram, chopped
1 cup tiniest cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp chopped olives
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Place all ingredients in a bowl. Stir and let sit for 1 hour before serving. Enjoy over fresh seafood!
As you might gather, my vacation in Saint-Tropez was quite a ride. As a matter of fact, I just about needed another vacation from this one to recover. There’s nothing like the French Riviera to make you feel young, vibrant, and appreciative of the magic that is life. Until my next visit, au revoir!