So, if you read the subtitle carefully, you will notice that frying fish is not among the techniques listed. For those of us living in the capitol of fried seafood, such an omission means that this book will broaden the way we use and enjoy food from our waterways and the ocean.
There is a decidedly northeastern bent to the book. From lobster roll recipes to the New England Clambake instructions this pretty book, full of as many tips on fish and fish stories as recipes, this book is like a vacation on the Cape. The book is replete with glorious photos of the New England shoreline. In fact, the photographs alone will have former New Englanders heading north again—until they remember the snow. Summer in New England is lovingly portrayed through the amazingly lovely photography of Keller+Keller.
Author Jennifer Trainer Thompson intersperses among the recipes and photos, myriad tales about life where the cold water oysters, scallops, shrimp and lobster have a flavor distinctive from our own varieties here in the Low Country. If you are up for trying these recipes on our fish, I think the cultural interaction (New England and Low Country) will bring about many delightful dining experiences.
There are some highlighted varieties of fish that are not as popular here—the bluefish, for example, but you may be able to find it at the North Atlantic Fish and Lobster store on U.S. 17 in North Myrtle Beach. They carry cod and New England clams almost always and are also a good source for New England lobster, and other such northeastern seafaring goodies.
The organization of this book, artfully displayed across a two-page photo of an Oceanside picnic, begins with the author’s tale of love for the region and its seafood. It progresses logically enough to “soups and Chowders” and then veers into more fanciful with chapters titled “things that swim” and “things with shell”. The latter includes the famous New England scallops as well as the usual clams, mussels, shrimp, and even whelks. “On the beach” teaches us the how to’s and joys of a clambake. The come “on the side”, “sweet endings” (lots of New England blueberries) and “cocktails, Of course an index and acknowledgements tie up the book.
Thompson is no novice when it comes to cookbooks. She has written eighteen of them and has been featured in Coastal Living, Martha Stewart Living and that marvel of New England magazines, Yankee. She is a chef and creator of a line of all-natural spicy foods. Her mantra could well be said to be, “fresh, fresh, fresh.” This firmly planted Massachusetts girl has a few things we can apply to our cooking here in the Low Country, but the happiest recipients of this volume will be those who are from New England, go to New England for vacation or simply love the New England way of preparing the ocean’s bounty. It’s great gift for friends who come from New England. (Or who vacationed there in youth.)
With the permission of the publisher, we’ve reprinted a take on clam chowder which, according to Thompson, is unique to Rhode Island. She says, “The flavors are strong and pronounced and I think a clam broth is better than chicken soup for a cold. I like it with a lot of black pepper and a few dashes of Tabasco sauce.” You can see for yourself.
Rhode Island Clam Chowder
Excerpted from Fresh Fish
A Fearless Guide to Grilling, Shucking, Searing, Poaching and Roasting Seafood
Reprinted with permission of Storey Publishing
20 littleneck clams
4 slices bacon
2 Tablespoons butter
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
2 teaspoons black pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound yellow potatoes, diced
Bring six cups of water to a boil in a soup pot and add the clams. Return to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and steam until the clams open, about seven minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the clams to a bowl. Discard any clams that did not open, Strain the broth through a paper towel-lined colander, reserving four cups of the broth. Shell the clams and dice the meat.
Fry the bacon in the soup pot over medium heat, until crisp, about eight minutes. With a slotted spoon, removed the bacon , leaving two tablespoons of fat in the pot. Add the butter, onion, celery, thyme ,pepper, garlic powder and salt. Cook until onions are translucent, about seven minutes.
Add the flour, stir and cook for two-three minutes. Add the reserved broth, stir, and then add the potatoes, the bacon, and cook until the potatoes are tender. Stir. Stir in the reserved clams to warm them and then turn off the heat.
Title | Fresh Fish: A Fearless Guide to Grilling, Shucking, Searing, Poaching and Roasting Seafood
Author | Jennifer Trainer Thompson
Publisher | Storey Publishing
Cost | $19.95