Stop any Yankee on the street and ask the name of his or her favorite restaurant, and you’ll be directed to a Connecticut clam shack . . . or a Maine lobster pound . . . or a Massachusetts chowder house. In these rustic eateries, you find the freshest seafood prepared according to classic, decades-old, family recipes. Mountains of whole-belly fried clams. Steaming bowls of rich, creamy chowder. Sweet lobster boiled in seawater. Fresh, succulent cod fillets fried golden brown.
In The New England Clam Shack Cookbook, author and native New Englander Brooke Dojny presents traditional New England fare as it is served up in 25 classic seafood eateries. With a little cajoling, Dojny managed to get the owners to reveal their recipes for such Yankee favorites as chowder (clear, red, and white), lobster rolls, fried clams, sweet New England crab, broiled mackerel, and garlicky mussels. Then there are the side dishes: perfect cole slaw and onion rings, pickled beets, and red bliss potato salad.
Of course, no book on Yankee cuisine would be complete without a chapter on those famous New England desserts — apple crisp, Indian pudding, wild blueberry pie, whoopie pies, and a
whole lot more. Along the way, Dojny weaves together the history of these restaurants with
local lore. She profiles fishermen and cooks. She weighs in on the Great New England Seafood Debates: red chowder vs. white chowder vs. clear chowder; batter-fried clams vs. crumb-fried clams.
Scattered throughout the book are sidebars that offer practical advice on how to re-create great New England seafood in your own kitchen: the proper way to clean and shuck clams, the basics of frying fish fillets. The New England Clam Shack Cookbook will make you want to drop what you’re doing, grab your car keys, and head for the New England coast.