Title: The Summer Shack Cookbook
Author: Jasper White
380 pages; Hardcover $35 US/$43.50 CAN
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Co. New York/London 2007
Reviewed by, Margie Mahlberg, November, 2010
When Jasper referred to this cookbook as "the
complete guide to shore food", he couldn't have been
more spot on. As I reviewed the book, it gave me an appreciation of all there is to know, not only of fish
and seafood cooking but all food that is revered by people from all parts of the country. "Complete"
also refers to pictures and descriptions of equipment needed along with uses of such. He prepares the
amateur and enhances the skills of the experienced cook by taking the mystery out of cooking shore
Jasper begins his book with an interesting
personal history that leads to how he progressed to the
successful restaurateur he is today. He credits his staff for their efforts. The book is sectioned in
chapters that include preparation for successful meals at home (inside and out) as well as preparation
on the beach. It covers the preparation of seafood both raw and cooked including steaming, boiling,
and kettle cooking as well as grilling and frying. Dogs, burgers and sausages are not forgotten.
Refreshing chilled foods prepped as entrees or salads sound fantastic and the experience is rounded out
with recipes for sides, drinks and desserts. The cookbook has an adequate amount of color
I made: Grilled Sea Scallops with Maple Lemon
Glaze, pages 152 and 179, and the Shack Bloody Mary,
I love sea scallops and eat them whenever I can.
I never thought of the combination of maple syrup and
lemon juice as a savory and sweet addition to the scallops and bacon. It was a tasteful experience.
I consider myself a Bloody Mary connoisseur who competes with friends to make the best. Jasper's
addition of Old Bay seasoning and combining both lemons and limes set his apart from any I've had.
If you have any recollection of fun on the beach eating great fare, you will truly enjoy and appreciate
perusing any part of this cookbook. As Jasper states, "Food is Love" and he lives up to his personal
philosophy in this book. I will purchase this book and highly recommend it to others.
Shack Bloody Mary
This recipe is for people who like Bloody Marys enough to make a batch of mix to keep on hand. Once the mix is made, making a Bloody Mary or two, or more, is very quick and easy. And because the mix was made carefully to your taste, it will he nearly perfect. It's the way to go; making Bloody Marys one at a time is messy and the results inconsistent.
In our sports bar at the Cambridge Summer Shack, we make special cocktails for Monday night football, one for each team that is playing. One night, when the Baltimore Ravens were playing, my bartender, Frankie, added Old Bay seasoning to the Bloody Mary mix and called the drinks Old Bay Bloody Marys. Apparently this idea wasn't new, but it was new to us. The Old Bay wad terrific with the spicy Bloody Mary mix, and we have kept it in our recipe ever since. The optional Vietnamese chile paste adds extra spice and a mild garlic flavor.
Bloody Marys are traditionally garnished with a celery stalk, which goes very well with the drink. I recommend that you use the tender light green stalks, with the leaves attached, from the heart of the celery Other good garnishs niches are jumbo green olives, peperoncini (pickled peppers), and cucumber spears,
Although a wedge of lemon or lime is tram- tional, I don't think this mix needs any more acidity A Jumbo shrimp (see Fabulous Retro Shrimp Cocktail, page 110) makes an unusual and welcome garnish. If you really like Old Bay seasoning, you can rim each glass with a wedge
of lemon and then dip it into the spice—It give a nice kick.
For equipment, you will need a citrus reamer or juicer.
Old Bay Bloody Mary Mix
2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
1 tablespoon celery seeds
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup grated fresh or prepared horseradish
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Vietnamese chile-garlic past (optional)
1 quart V-8 vegetable juice or tomato juice
about 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
for each drink
2 ounces vodka
4 ounces Bloody Mary Mix
Since Bloody Marys are often served early in day, make the mix the day before you need it.
1. To make the mix: juice the limes and lemon Combine the juice in a large bowl with the 01 Bay seasoning, celery seeds, Tabasco sauce, mustard, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, and chile paste, if using, and whisk together well. Add the V-S juice, season to taste with black pepper, and mix again.
2. Pour the mix into a glass jar (or jars). Keep refrigerated, lightly sealed, until ready to use The mix keeps well up to a week in the refrig ator. Shake it well before using.
3. To serve, fill each tall glass (at least 12 ounces) about two-thirds full with ice cubes. Add the vodka and Bloody Mary mix. Stir well,and add a few more ice cubes to bring the liquid to the top. Garnish as desired.
Make 5 cups mix enough for 10 drinks
Scallops come in a wide range of sizes. The best size for grilling is large (16-20 count—about 3/4 to 1 ounce each) or jumbo (U-10 — about 2 ounces each). Smaller scallops are better broiled, sauteeed. or deep-fried. Lately the term "diver scallop" has gained enormous popularity Technically refers to large scallops that divers harvest by hands but the term has become a work clich, used on menus to describe any large sea scallop. Unless you see a guy in a wetsuit, don't assume that It's really a diver scallop. But as long as you buy fresh "dry" sea scallops, it doesn't really matter. The term "dry refers to untreated fresh scallops; inferior-quality "soaked" or "treated' commercial scallops have been immersed in a solution that whitens the color and adds weight. It le easy to tell it a scallop has been treated, because it will always release the added hquid when you cook it, an especially undisirable result for food that is grilled.
For easy handing on the grill, it is best to skewer scallops. Be sure to soak wooden skewers in water for at least an hour before you use them; otherwise, they will burn on the grill. It is also wise to pick through scallops before you skewer them, removing any strap (side muscle) and any particles of shell. Line up the scallops in rows, as you will skewer them, on your work surface and push a skewer through the center of each row while they are still flat on the surface. This will create one even side that will mark nicely on your grill. When you grill the scallops, start with that side down (scallops vary in thickness, so the second side may not be even).
I like to grill scallops first over high heat and then briefly over lower heat. leaving them slightly undercooked in the center. Since they are perfectly safe to eat raw there is no reason to overcook them. Their natural sugars caramelize on the grill, making them particularly delicious. Sea scallops require about 2 minutes searing on each side over high heat, and then they should be moved to lower heat to finish cooking slowly; 2 to 4 minutes longer will he about right for 1- ounce scallops; cook jumbo scallops for another 6 to 8 minutes after they are seared.
Generally, I like to keep the seasoning for scallops very simple—salt and pepper. They are wonderful, however, brushed with curry pastes (page 171) and served with rice. Another of my favorites is to skewer them with thick pieces of partially cooked bacon and brush them with Maple Lemon Glare (page 179). For both of these preparations, brush the glaze or paste on the scallops during the last 2 minutes of grilling. Grilled scallops are also excellent with a simple White Wine Butter Sauce (page 351), Garlic Herb Butter Sauce (page 352), or Corn Relish (page 173) or served over Fennel Slaw (page 184).