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Chef Mark Militello Recipes - 75 Main Restaurant and Lounge, Southampton, NY, USA PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debra C. Argen   
Chef Mark Militello - 75 Main Restaurant and Lounge, Southampton, NY, USAExecutive Chef Mark Militello of 75 Main Restaurant and Lounge in Southampton, New York graciously shares his culinary vision and his recipe for Fish Grilled in Fennel to provide a delectable taste of the chic Hamptons hotspot restaurant owned by restaurateur Zach Erdem.


Having dined at 75 Main Restaurant and Lounge in mid-September 2013, I was intrigued with Executive Chef Mark Militello's culinary style and wanted to learn more about this award-winning chef.

Speaking with Chef Mark Militello, he said that his culinary vision is to "keep food simple, fresh, and layer flavors and textures," which is in perfect harmony with the attractive ambience at the Southampton restaurant with its white wainscoting and white walls accented by large artwork by Chris Brown and Rafael Mazzucco.

75 Main Restaurant and Lounge, Southampton, NY, USA - photo by Luxury Experience
75 Main Restaurant and Lounge

The Hamptons has great produce, fish, and local products, which Chef Mark Militello incorporates in his recipes. During peak season the restaurant can be extremely busy, sometimes doing 1,000 covers a day, so simplicity, and great taste, is a key to success. Having experienced his Grilled Octopus at the restaurant, it is a testament to his style of layering flavors and textures, deftly combining grilled octopus, grilled radicchio, tomatoes, fingerling potatoes, kalamata olives, and capers, and since it appeared on the menu, it has fast become a favorite.

Although he started out as pre-Med at Marquette, he decided to pursue a culinary career at the State University of New York at Morrisville in the hotel and culinary program and at FIU at the hotel school. His father used to design restaurants, and as part of the deal, his father's friends would put Mark to work at Easter and during school breaks. Instead of a doctor of medicine, Chef Mark joked that he is a "doctor of food." I say, it is good medicine.

Chef Mark Militello - 75 Main Restaurant and Lounge, Southampton, NY, USA
Chef Mark Militello

Since graduating from culinary school, he has honed his career working, at as well as owning, top restaurants and a restaurant management company, and accumulating accolades and awards along the way including a prestigious James Beard Award for Best Chef: South.

Married for 32 years to his wife Christine, a fellow foodie, the couple met at a Fort Lauderdale restaurant where they worked together for two years before tying the knot, the couple has two daughters, Molly and Margaux. When not working in the restaurant cooking or dreaming up new recipes, he just finished creating the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's menus for 75 Main Restaurant and Lounge, Chef Mark likes to spend time with his wife and daughters, cooking for his family, going for a walk at the beach with Christine, traveling, and taking their two dogs, a silky and a westiepoo, to play in the dog park.

Executive Chef Mark Militello graciously shares his recipe for Fish Grilled in Fennel to tempt your palates into making a trip to 75 Main Restaurant and Lounge in Southampton, New York or to 75 Main Delray in Delray Beach, Florida.

Chef Mark Militello writes, "One of my favorite methods for grilling fish is to wrap the whole thing in fennel. It looks great and it's a real flavor enhancer because as the fish grills the fennel toasts and gets charred, adding an anise smokiness. The fennel also protects the fish -- you never have to worry about the fish sticking on the grill -- and it keeps the heat and the juices in. What you have is really a combination of grilling and steaming.

I cut deep slashes in the fish, which help the fennel flavor to penetrate, but for more seasoning I also fill them with a mild garlic paste. I cook a whole head of garlic, about a dozen meaty cloves, in water until it's soft. Then I purée it. I think this works better than roasting. Sometimes roasted garlic can get bitter and even though the garlic isn't as sharp it can still be overwhelming. This makes it more subtle. And you don't have to light the oven.

Shallots, lemon and thyme are the other seasonings in my garlic paste. I beat in good olive oil, like making mayonnaise. I smear this mixture into the slashes and inside the fish and then put slices of lemon and shallot in the fish. Then I wrap it in the fennel branches. Some markets trim their fennel stems way down, so for this dish you may have to ask your produce guy to save you some that hasn't been trimmed.

Once the fish is wrapped in the fennel I tie it in a few places and rub it all over with olive oil. It can stay like that, seasoned and ready to cook, for a few hours in your refrigerator before you grill it.

As for the fennel bulbs, I slice them, blanch them and put them in a buttered dish with a little cream and Parmesan cheese and bake a quick gratin to serve alongside. I often include slices of yellow squash or zucchini in this gratin.

It will probably take 25 minutes or so to grill the fish. Then you snip off the strings and present the fish to your guests, covered with charred fennel. It looks pretty exotic. Once you've removed the fennel it's easy enough to fillet. Your guests might still get a bone or two, but hey, they're eating a whole fish. And there's nothing better than that."

Fish Grilled In Fennel
Yield: 4 Servings

Time: 1 hour 15 minutes


Garlic, cloves peeled
Fresh Thyme Leaves
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2.25 pound
(1 kg)
Whole Yellowtail Snappers, Red Snappers, or Black Sea Bass, cleaned
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
Fennel, branches and fronds untrimmed (fronds will be quite long)
Unsalted Butter
Heavy Cream
Parmigiano-Reggiano, shavings

Method: Place garlic cloves in small saucepan, cover with water, and simmer 15 minutes, until they are tender. Drain. Mash by hand or purée in small food processor. Mince 1 shallot, mix with the garlic, add half the thyme and, by hand or machine, beat in 3 tablespoons olive oil and the juice of 1/2 lemon to make a paste.

Cut 4 deep slashes in both sides of each fish. Rub the fish inside and out with some oil and juice of 1/2 lemon. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Fill slashes with garlic paste, and spread any remaining inside fish. Slice remaining shallot, and put slices in cavities. Slice one lemon, and put slices in cavities.

Cut off fennel bulbs, and remove a few frond sprigs for garnish. For each fish, place about three fennel branches, fronds attached, side by side lengthwise on work surface. Place one fish on bed of fennel, and top with about three more branches with fronds. With butcher's cord, tie fennel around fish in 3 places. Drizzle with remaining olive oil.

Heat grill, preferably charcoal. Heat oven to 425° F (218° C). Butter a shallow 4-cup baking dish.

Slice off bottom half inch of fennel bulbs. Slice each bulb vertically, in 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place in saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes, drain and place in bowl of ice water. Drain and pat dry.

Arrange fennel slices, partly overlapping, in baking dish. Scatter with remaining thyme. Drizzle with cream, and strew with cheese.

Grill fish 10 to 15 minutes on each side, until tip of knife inserted in thickest part slips out easily and feels very warm when touched to your chin. While fish grills, place dish with fennel in oven, and bake about 15 minutes, until browned on top.

Presentation: To serve, snip off the strings around the fish, and remove the fennel. Remove the lemon and shallot slices from inside fish. Fillet fish, and arrange on platter; garnish with remaining lemon, cut in wedges, and reserved fennel sprigs. Serve baked fennel alongside.

Restaurater Zach Erdem - 75 Main Restaurant and Lounge, Southampton, NY, USA - photo by Luxury Experience
Restaurateur Zach Erdem

75 Main Restaurant is open year-round, Monday through Friday for Breakfast, Brunch/Lunch from 11:00 am until 4:30 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am until 4:30 pm. The restaurant is open for Dinner Sunday through Thursday from 4:30 pm until 10:30 pm, and Friday and Sunday from 4:30 pm until 11:00 pm. The Lounge is open Friday and Saturday from 10:30 pm until 4:00 am.

In addition to the Southampton restaurant, Zach Erdem also owns 75 Main Delray, located at 270 East Atlantic Avenue, in Delray Beach, Florida. Telephone: +1-561-243-7975 or +1-561-266-3687. If you are heading south, you might like to visit Zach's newest restaurant, which opened in 2012.

Please visit the website for more information on the Southampton and Delray Beach restaurants.

Read about 75 Main Restaurant and Lounge in the Restaurants section.

75 Main Restaurant and Lounge, Southampton, NY, USA75 Main Restaurant and Lounge
75 Main Street
Southampton, Long Island, NY 11968    
United States
Telephone:   +1-631-283-7575
Email:           This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Read other articles on The Hamptons in the Destinations, Hotels and Resorts, and Restaurants, and Chefs' Recipes sections.

For information on Southampton Village, please visit the website:

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© October 2013. Luxury Experience. All rights reserved.

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