In Massachusetts, we are blessed with a bounty of local seafood and locally grown produce. In addition to having the benefit of being extra fresh, buying local supports the Commonwealth's economy and helps reduce your carbon footprint. And when it comes to seafood, what could be better than a New England recipe made with fresh ingredients from Massachusetts? From classic clam chowder to oyster stuffing with wild mushrooms, we've selected some recipes worth putting your apron on for. (Oh yeah, you can also buy locally produced wine and beer for some extra cheer!)
Classic New England Clam Chowder
A favorite of tourists and locals, New England Clam Chowder is quintessentially coastal Massachusetts. Legal Seafood's award-winning clam chowder is so popular that they receive international orders for it regularly and it has been served at every Presidential Inauguration since 1981. Make it yourself using George Berkowitz's Legal Seafood Clam Chowder recipe.
Reduced-Fat Clam Chowder
For the calorie conscious, the Food Network Magazine offers a Low-Fat Clam Chowder recipe that is high on flavor and low(er) on fat.
Low-Fat, Dairy-Free Clam Chowder
And for those who cannot digest dairy, food.com offers a Dairy-Free and Low-Fat version of the New England staple.
Manhattan Clam Chowder
Described by James Beard as a "rather horrendous soup… [that] resembles a vegetable soup that accidentally had some clams dumped into it," this tomato-based version of clam chowder is about as popular as a Yankees hat in Massachusetts. But putting sports rivalries aside, this recipe from Fall River native Emeril Lagasse (who now lives in New Orleans) is far from horrendous. His Manhattan Clam Chowder has made fans out of Patriots, Giants, Jets, and Saints fans.
The typical U.S. meal comes from five different nations and the ingredients travel an average of 1,300 miles from farm to market. Unfortunately, those off-season salads and fruits leave some big carbon footprints all over our kitchens. (For more information on this topic, see BUYING POWER: Think Globally, Eat Locally on page 59 of the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management's Coastlines magazine .) To help make a difference, buy local produce and seafood—it's fresh, good for the environment, and good for the Massachusetts economy.
New England Fish Chowder
According to anecdotal stories, a cauldron of fish chowder was always cooking in the galley of fishing boats. Typically, it was made with the catch of the day, salt pork or bacon, potatoes, and whatever seasonings were available (or fit the cook's mood). Renowned Boston-area chef Jasper White has these encouraging words to say about making fish chowder: "…it is easy to make, uses simple ingredients, and doesn't require you to be fussy or exact. After making it a few times, you will begin to understand the Zen of chowder." Follow your path to Zen with White's New England Fish Chowder recipe.
Gluten- and Dairy-Free Fish Chowder
For a 350-calorie, dairy-free version, try Whole Food's Quick Fish Chowder recipe.
Legend has it that John F. Kennedy regularly ordered the lobster bisque at Boston's once male-only Locke-Ober and would drink the broth, but leave the lobster. Today, women are allowed to dine at Locke-Ober, and the female chef Lydia Shire has shared the recipe for JFK's Lobster Stew. (We recommend enjoying both the broth and the lobster!)
No self-respecting New England turkey would want to be stuffed with anything less! Match your oyster's co-stars with your gathering's tastes:
- From epicurious.com: Herbed Oyster Stuffing
- From Saveur.com: Oyster Stuffing (with cloves and Tabasco)
- From About.com's home cooking section: Oyster Rice Stuffing, Oyster Dressing, Oyster & Wild Mushroom Stuffing, and Southern Cornbread and Oyster Dressing
As the official state fish—a 4-foot carving of the "Sacred Cod" hangs in the Massachusetts State House—the Atlantic Cod has appeared on many a Massachusetts dining table. Ideally, cod cakes should be made the day before and kept in the refrigerator overnight so that they hold their shape when cooked.
Sesame Shrimp and Kale
Try this nutritious original recipe by Kathy Lynch, nutritionist and founder of www.wellskills.com.