Not Just Recipes, Cookbook Tells Story Of New England Eating

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Coastal Table. (Courtesy Union Park Press)
Coastal Table. (Courtesy Union Park Press)

When food writer Karen Covey moved to Mattapoisett, on the South Coast of Massachusetts, she discovered a region filled with hidden culinary gems: farms producing tender, organic beef and artisanal cheese, boutique urban wineries, farmer's markets full of the season's best produce and chefs giving traditional New England fare a modern Portuguese spin.

Karen Covey's discovery prompted her to write, "The Coastal Table," a cookbook of recipes inspired by coastal Southern New England living.


Karen Covey, food writer and author of "The Coastal Table: Recipes Inspired by the Farmlands and Seaside of Southern New England"


This recipe is based on all of the classic flavors of a s'more, but it is a much more manageable version (Cassandra Birocco)
This recipe is based on all of the classic flavors of a s'more, but it is a much more manageable version (Cassandra Birocco)

Campfire Brownies
Servings: 9

Cooking spray
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs, finely ground
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch kosher salt

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
12 large marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line an 8 by 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, making sure that two sides hang over edges by about 1 inch (this will allow you to easily pull brownies out of pan). Coat parchment paper and all sides of pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Make crust. In a small saucepan, melt butter. In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and salt. Add melted butter and mix well. Press crumb mixture evenly over bottom of prepared pan with a spatula and bake until just golden brown around edges of pan, about 10 minutes.


Meanwhile, make brownie batter. Place a medium glass bowl over a medium saucepan filled with about 1-2 inches of water (make sure water doesn't touch bottom of glass bowl). Add butter and chocolate to glass bowl and melt over very low heat, stirring occasionally as chocolate melts. When mixture is melted, remove from heat and transfer mixture to a large bowl. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Add sugar and stir to combine with melted chocolate. Slowly whisk in eggs a bit at a time (if chocolate is too hot it will scramble eggs). Add vanilla and stir until incorporated. Slowly add in flour in two batches and stir until just incorporated. Stir in salt. Do not over mix.

Pour batter over graham crackers and bake until brownies are set and center is still a bit soft, about 25-30 minutes. Cook’s Note: Be sure not to over-bake the brownies. They should be soft but still a bit gooey when tested with a toothpick (you want moist crumbles on the toothpick when they are done). Start checking them after 15 minutes and every few minutes thereafter.

Remove pan from oven, move oven rack to top position and turn on broiler. Place marshmallows evenly over top of brownies and place pan in oven. Broil until marshmallows are softened and lightly toasted, about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Carefully pull pan out from oven and, using the back of a tablespoon, gently press down on marshmallows to flatten slightly (do this slowly so that they don’t stick to your spoon). Return pan to oven and broil until marshmallows are toasted, another 15-30 seconds. Remove pan and allow brownies to cool for at least 1 hour, allowing them to fully set. Gently lift parchment paper out of pan. You may have to run a knife along outside edges of pan as marshmallows are very sticky! Transfer brownies to a cutting board.

Run a sharp knife under warm water and cut brownies into squares, ensuring each has some marshmallow on top. After each cut, run knife back under warm water and wipe clean, Repeat this process until all of brownies are cut.

(Recipe from Karen Covey's "The Coastal Table," Union Park Press, September 2013)

Classic Shrimp Bisque
Servings: 4

1 pound (approximately 20) large shrimp, peeled, deveined and roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
4 strips orange zest
2 cups water
2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 leeks (white and light green parts), rinsed well, roughly chopped
2 shallots, roughly chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dry sherry
1/4 cup flour
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons tomato paste

In a large saucepan, add shrimp shells, bay leaf, orange zest, water and stock. Cook over medium heat, about 10-15 minutes. Strain and reserve stock.

In another large saucepan, heat oil and 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add leeks and shallots, cook until softened, about 7-10 minutes, and season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and cayenne and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. Add sherry and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Transfer to a food processor (in batches if necessary) and process a few times until puréed but mixture still has some texture. Cook's Note: I like to keep the texture of the shrimp in this soup, but if you prefer the bisque to be completely smooth, simply purée the mixture to your desired texture.

In same saucepan, melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Add flour and cook over medium-low heat for 1 minute, stirring to incorporate flour and scraping browned bits from bottom of pan. Add cream and whisk until mixture thickens, about 1-2 minutes. Add reserved stock and tomato paste and stir to combine. Stir in shrimp mixture from food processor and heat until warmed through, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm.

(Recipe from Karen Covey’s “The Coastal Table,” Union Park Press, September 2013)

Modern Clams Casino With Oregano Mojo
Servings: 12 clams
Courtesy: Richard Garcia, Executive Chef, 606 Congress, Boston, Mass.

Oregano Mojo
1/4 cup minced fresh oregano
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 limes, juiced
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 cup white wine
12 Topneck Cape Cod clams (see cook’s note)
1 mild chouriço sausage link (Portuguese sausage, also called Chorizo)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 large Spanish onion, minced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped roasted red peppers
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons Grated Landaff Tomme cheese (or Parmigiano-Reggiano)
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

Make mojo. In a medium bowl, combine oregano, garlic and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in olive oil and set aside.

In a large saucepan, bring wine and 1 quart water to a boil. Add clams, cover and cook until clams open, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer clams to a large bowl.

Strain cooking liquid through a cheesecloth-lined sieve (or through a fine-mesh sieve) into a bowl and save for another use (this liquid makes great stock for homemade chowder).

Shuck clams and mince until coarsely ground. Reserve half of shells and set aside.

Remove and discard casing from chouriço and place it in a food processor. Grind chouriço until you have a coarse paste.

In a medium sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add chouriço and roasted red peppers and cook until chouriço is browned and cooked through, about another 5-7 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, breadcrumbs, minced clams, butter, cheese, and parsley until well combined. Stuff each reserved clam shell with enough mixture to fill cavity and place on a large baking sheet.

Turn on broiler to high and place baking sheet under broiler until tops are golden brown and slightly charred, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer clams to a serving platter, drizzle each with a bit of oregano mojo, and serve.

Cook’s Note: Top Necks are tender, sweet hard-shell clams and are slightly larger than little necks but smaller than cherrystones.

(Recipe from Karen Covey’s “The Coastal Table,” Union Park Press, September 2013. Courtesy of Richard Garcia, Executive Chef of 606 Congress, Boston, Mass.)

This segment aired on August 21, 2013.


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