Lunch With Peggy – Fried or Boiled? (Poseidon’s Children Part 2 in Series)
(PSSSSSSSST Poseidon’s Children is only $2.99 if you missed it being free! GO GRAB IT before sitting down to read this interview and snag these recipes!!)
I was in the middle of reading the book and got a HUGE hankering for some traditional New England style boiled grub. What better place than on the coast of New England to get a bucket of Atlantic Steamers or maybe a Lobstah (thats Lobster to all you NON New Englanders.. I lived there for long enough that when I am tired the loss of ‘R’s is quite pronounced… and yes I pawk the caw in the yawd)
So, I popped over to one of my favorite sidewalk cafes in New England clutching my Kindle because I had not quite finished Poseidon’s Children (The Legacy of the Gods
(yes on my magic jet, WORK with me people
) As I left the counter with my basket of steamers, who do I find sitting there?! Stunning as usual and amidst the ruins of what seemed to be half the menu, my new friend Peggy from the book, THAT is who!! Larry was no where to be found, but Peggy looked like she might be waiting… maybe she will let me sit and bother her.. such a fan girl now huh?
“Hey Peggy! Mind if I sit down?” “looking quizzically at the diverse collection of plates in front of Peggy”
“Not at all. I’m waiting on Larry, but he is late, as usual.“
*laughing* Well great! Ohhh look at all these great dishes! I was in the mood for steamers today, love me some butter! I thought you were not a seafood fan? Did that vacation change your mind! I told you it would be good for you two!
“Yes, I…I have a whole new appreciation for the sea. And yes, Larry and I are so much closer now, thank you. You’re right, I was never a real fan of fish and crab and such. Now, now I can’t get enough of it, and the fresher the better.”
*raising an eyebrow the poor crab carcass* “Well I can see that! So do you prepare it differently now? So have you developed any new ways of cooking or serving it? I have been trying to come up with a new way to get the man to eat more fish, he tends to just want to gnaw on a hunk of meat. Would love some ideas if you have any?”
“Well, my way isn’t for everyone. I don’t like to boil it or add any artificial flavors like seasonings or butter. Sea salt is really the only seasoning needed. Let the natural flavors come through! Think…think Sushi. No cooking needed.”
OH! Maybe I will ease him in slowly with some crab-cakes or a traditional New England clambake… it still has potatoes in it and corn, He eats those with his meat, but I am craving sushi all of a sudden *looking at Peggy as she licks her fingers clean*
“I have a big appetite these days. And no, do not look at me like that. I am NOT pregnant. Well, not yet anyway. Larry and I are taking some time to…to rediscover each other. We’re having a lot of fun. And lobster is my new favorite. The fresher the better!“
I can tell, you have a … certain GLOW about you! Absolutely effervescent, if I can be so bold! Well, I better be off, I have a steak to cook! You really need to let Rembrandt paint you my dear.. Larry needs to capture that glow for everyone to enjoy! Oh..and you have.. umm shell on your chin
“Thank you! I look forward to seeing you again …very soon.“
Traditional New England Crab Cakes
- 12 ounces fresh Maine crabmeat (I settle for what I can get, even if it just a Dungeonous)
- Scant ⅔ cup of fresh sourdough bread crumbs
- 1 tsp of mustard
- 1 tsp of creamed horseradish
- 11/2 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons finely minced onions
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (my grinder has BOTH in it)
- 1 ½ tablespoon chopped flat- leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice or to taste (I put 2 tsp)
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Butter and olive oil for frying (yes BOTH)
- Thoroughly mix mayonnaise, mustard, onions, parsley, lemon juice and cayenne; add breadcrumbs and crab meat.
- Toss gently to mix, leaving crab in chunks. Add salt and pepper to taste and add more lemon juice or cayenne if you wish.
- Form into four cakes.
- Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat and add approximately a tablespoon each of olive oil and butter. (the key here now is to watch for the butter to foam. At least that is what Aunt Elsie taught me!)
- Add the four cakes to the pan and cook till golden brown on each side.
- Unless you are a pro like Aunt Elsie you probably will have these puppies break apart when you turn, NO WORRIES, just form them together again after turning.
- We would throw them hot in a warmer and bring them to the drive-in, but they should be served asap. You can eat them in-between sweet bread (like a Hawaiian bread), serve them with tarter sauce, perhaps even mayo with a bit of lemon juice and caper juice... honestly it is on you after that. The kids would run around dribbling crab meat after them while we watched the show and ate a bit more dignified. OH and serve it with BEER, do not try to be fancy and have wine, be real people!
New England Traditional Clambake (Stove-top)
- 2 large or 3 medium onions, cut into large wedges
- 6 - 10 garlic cloves (I use 10 but that is my preference)
- 1 bottle of beer (I will leave it to you but a nice Pale Ale is PERFECT, nothing heavy)
- 1 cup water
- A steamer OR if you can get it from the docks this summer, fresh seaweed, well rinsed, for layering (optional)
- 1½ pounds small new potatoes (I use Yukon Gold)
- 1 pound hot dried chorizo, cut into ½-inch pieces (you can use a nice polish sausage)
- Coarse Sea Salt (not Kosher, though come to think of it this is probably Kosher...)
- 3 lobsters (1½ pounds each) (if you cannot get these than four Dungeness crabs which is what we use with a couple of King Crab Legs thrown in)
- 36 Littleneck (Quahog) clams, scrubbed well (We use Manila Butter clams so we have to do 48)
- 4 ears of corn, halved (and husked if they came that way)
- 2 pounds mussels, debearded and scrubbed well (here is a good video to help http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2Od7_XYye0)
- 1½ pounds Large Shrimp (about 36), with shells intact
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (optional)
- 4-6 lemons, (half two of them and quarter the rest for serving)
- Combine onions, garlic, beer, and water in a 16-quart stockpot.
- Cover the onions with a steamer basket (if you are able to get seaweed than instead of the basket layer the seaweed here).
- Add potatoes, chorizo, and 1 tablespoon sea salt. bring this to a boil.
- Add lobsters; cooking over high heat and covered (Ignore their screams!!!) for about 15 minutes.
- Add clams and corn; cook, covered, for about 5-6 minutes.
- Add mussels and shrimp, cover and cook until the majority of the calms and muscles open up (not all will, and do not serve those!! It is bad luck.. seriously dude!) and so the shrimp are cooked through, 4 to 8 minutes.
- Remove seafood, corn, potatoes, and chorizo with tongs (you do not want to manhandle hot seafood and even if you use those special mitts you may mush the potatoes and the sausage could go flying, seriously I have seen it happen! Aunt Elsie was NOT happy!),
- Transfer the ingredients in a nice pile in the middle of your newspaper coveredtable (one or two platters or receptacles)
- Throw out the clams and muscles who did not open (see above as to why)
- DO NOT dump the liquid, that is stock and it is GOLD! Instead put it in a nice wide bowl with semi tall sides, and stir in the butter and the juice if half a lemon!Strain liquid through a sieve into a bowl; add butter and gently fold it in, this will make the stock nice and creamy. Right before serving squeeze and stir in the juice of half a lemon. The other three halves squeeze over the fair.
- OH wondering about that newspaper? Well when you are done, you just toss your shells on the table, and it wraps up and is ready for the rubbish bin!
This was something we did EVERY Wednesday after payday (We were paid weekly). As soon as it was fine to have all 20-30 of us out there we would each bring a lobster, beer and our own corn and the host would supply the sausage and steamers! TOTALLY traditional! The kids LOVED to pick their own lobster, we usually got them the ONE CLAW wonders!
Vacationing artist Larry “Rembrandt” Neuhaus has just witnessed a gruesome shark attack, a young couple torn apart right before his eyes … at least, he thinks it was a shark. And when one of these victims turns out to be the only son of Roger Hays, the most powerful man in the country, things go from bad to worse. Now, to stop the carnage, Larry and his new-found friends must work together to unravel a mystery as old as time, and face an enemy as dark as the ocean depths.