BOTTARGA | SMALL-BATCH ICE CREAM | ALBACORE CONSERVA
spenser personalizing food & drink.
soft-shell CRAB country
LOBSTER ROLLS for the 99%
london's SUSTAINABLE seafood campaign "summer of the SOUTH" cocktails jul.aug 2012 | ISSUE FIVE spensermag.com
www.SHELTER-CO.COM R ead y . S e t . C a m p .
A pop-up luxury camping service offering a curated outdoor experience anytime, and anywhere, a group or event requires it.
features: 68|SOFT-SHELL ISLAND:
The heart of the Chesapeake Bay fights for its survival
by Clay Dunn & Zach Patton
102|ANVIL BAR & REFUGE: Take a dive into the history of Southern drinking.
by Tyler Rudick
56|THE SANDWICH OF SUMMER:
Learn the secrets to making the best lobster rolls.
by Joel LeVangia
85|SUSTAIN CAMPAIGN: London moves to become the worldâ€™s first sustainable fish city.
by Jenny Linford
112| THE WHALE HUNT:
Experience the view of a thousand-year-old tradition from the top of the world.
photo essay by Jonathan Harris
departments: BUTLER'S CHOICE: confident color
STOCKING THE PANTRY: bottarga & ice cream
STOCKING THE BAR: soda syrups
MEREDITH'S PAGE: kitchen notebooks & sea ceramics
SEASON'S SWEET: summer’s sweet corn
SEASON'S HARVEST: uni-corn
BUTCHER'S BLOCK: albacore conserva
Preserving and Celebrating the Diverse Foodways of Texas For more information on programming, membership, and documentary projects visit
6/21/12 3:14 PM
recipe index: cocktails Absinthe Suissesse (Bobby Heugel) | 110 Fredericksberg Flip (Matt Tanner) | 110 Jackson Julep (Alba Huerta) | 111 Savannah Deluge (Chris Frankel) | 111
fish Albacore Conserva with Fennel & Olives (Chris Cosentino) | 54 Bottarga Butter (Christopher Hirsheimer & Melissa Hamilton) | 25 Gravad Max (Cured Mackerel) (Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall) | 96 Grilled Sardines (Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall) | 98 Raw Zucchini Salad with Sliced Bottarga & Celery Leaves | 27 Albacore Conserva (Chris Cosentino) | 52
shellfish Corn Sorbet with Uni & Crispy Kale (Tyson Cole) | 47 Cornmeal Crusted Soft-Shell Crab with Heirloom Tomato & Corn Salad (Mike Isabella) | 78 Garlic & Black Pepper Soft-Shell Crabs (Andrea Reusing) | 81 Pearl Oyster Bar Lobster Roll (Rebecca Charles) | 67 Red’s Eats Lobster Roll | 66 Scallops & Chorizo (Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall) | 99 Soft-Shell Crab Sandwich with Bacon, Lettuce, & Tomato | 83 Thai Whelk Salad (Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall) | 97
sweets Humphry Slocombe’s Pepper & Mint Chip Ice Cream (Jake Godby) | 35 Sweet Corn Custard with Cornmeal Cookies & Blueberry Compote (Karen DeMasco) | 42 Black Tea & Blackberry Sorbet | 137
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letter from the editor:
elcome to what Hilary Kline, our lead photo editor, has affectionately titled the “FISHUE.” If you had asked us six months ago whether our first themed issue would be focused on something other than Texas, Hawaii, or cocktails, we probably would have called you crazy.
But then Zach and Clay, the Bitten Word bloggers we profiled this past issue, headed out to Tangier Island on the Chesapeake Bay to catch the beginning of another soft shell crab season. They were followed by UKbased writer Jenny Linford teaching us about Sustain’s campaign to turn London into the first sustainable fish city in the world. Sustain has even enlisted the London 2012 Olympic Committee to make a real commitment to seafood sustainability, the first leading international sporting event to do so. We heard from some of the country’s best lobster roll makers, from New York on up to Maine, to learn what it takes to create the best possible version of what might just be the ultimate summer sandwich. And we worked with photographer Jonathan Harris to bring you a photo essay about a traditional subsistence whale hunt conducted by the Inupiat Eskimos in Barrow, Alaska. We’ve also included a number of great summer seafood recipes like house-conserved tuna with fennel and olives, bottarga and celery salad, and fresh sea urchin with corn sorbet, as well as techniques and inspirations from acclaimed chefs like Chris Cosentino, Karen DeMasco, Tyson Cole, and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. And because it wouldn’t officially be summer until you’ve got a cold drink in your hand, we checked in with Bobby Heugel and the rest of the team at Anvil Bar in Houston to learn a bit about Southern cocktail culture. So mix yourself up something from their “Summer of the South” menu and stay cool out there.
mike dundas editor-in-chief
jul.aug 2012 | spensermag.com
magazine MIKE DUNDAS
co-founder & editor-in-chief LEIGH FLORES
co-founder & executive editor JEN WHITE
design director COREY ABSHER
interactive producer MAX FOLLMER
lead copy editor HILARY KLINE
lead photo editor MEREDITH PAIGE
meredith's page editor & staff photographer contributing writers
CLAY DUNN, JOEL LEVANGIA, JENNY LINFORD, ZACH PATTON, TYLER RUDICK
contributing photographers JUDY BEEDLE, CORIN BROWN, JONATHAN HARRIS, MICHAEL HARLAN TURKELL
MARY ABSHER, DAVID FOLLMER, ROBERT REMBERT, DAVID SCHEIDT
staff dogs BUCK, JACKSON, KAUFMAN, OLIVER & SCOUT
business & media inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
advertising & sales inquiries: Edman & Co. 203.656.1000 email@example.com
western region advertising & sales inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
editorial inquiries, general questions & comments: email@example.com
cover photo: Lobster photograph by MEREDITH PAIGE
spenser magazine commits to donating 1% of profits to charitable causes in support of ending hunger in America and abroad this commitment supports spenser magazine’s desire to help promote the need to end hunger everywhere
spenser disclaimer: Spenser Magazine is published on a bi-monthly basis by Spenser, LLC. All rights are reserved. Neither the publication, nor any portion thereof, may be reproduced in any manner or in any form without the prior written authorization and permission of Spenser, LLC. Spenser Magazine and Spenser, LLC are not responsible for the accuracy of advertiser claims or advertiser content. Notwithstanding, every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the content contained in the publication and on the Web site.
spenser magazine | los angeles, ca
It’s dinner time in America. But for 1 in 5 children, you’d never know it.
Dinner time is when families gather to share their day and create memories. But for more than 16 million children, dinner time can be the cruelest part of the day. Right here in the United States, 1 in 5 kids don’t know when they will have their next meal. You can help surround kids with the nutritious food they need to thrive. Pledge to make No Kid Hungry® a reality. See how at NoKidHungry.org.
meet the team: "There are two types of crab eaters: Those who pile the meat to eat all at once & those who eat as they go â€” which one are you?"
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co-founder & editor-in-chief
My dad taught me the virtues of the pile.
co-founder & executive editor
I aspire to pile, but it never works out.
I eat as I go... I also open twice as many as I eat, and spread the wealth with Corey. If I piled, he would just steal it all .
I eat as I go and steal from Jen as much as I can. I try to leave the work to others and stick to just eating.
lead copy editor
Neither: I wrap it in tacos. It's the only way I've ever had crab.
lead photo editor
I eat as I go and mock the rest.
meredith's page editor
I pick & pile.
jul.aug 2012 | spensermag.com
contributors: JENNY LINFORD | WRITER Jenny Linford is a London-based food writer, the author of over 15 books including Food Lovers' London, her guide to London's cosmopolitan food shopping scene, and The London Cookbook. Charting London's diverse and ever-changing food scene has been a big strand in her writing. An inveterate food shopper herself, forever on the lookout for something delicious to eat or cook with, she founded Gastro-Soho Tours in 1994, offering guided tours around London's food shops. There are two types of crab eaters: Those who pile the meat to eat all at once & those who eat as they go — you are? I tease out a bit of that lovely sweet crabmeat and eat it straight away. I'm all for instant gratification! My favourite crab dish is Singaporean chilli crab — now I'm hungry!
CORIN BROWN | PHOTOGRAPHER Brown was born in Zimbabwe and grew up in South Africa where she discovered her love for photography. Currently based in London, Brown has had her photography featured in many galleries in London since moving there 7 years ago. Brown likes to focus her camera on exploring the identity of the individual and their place within their community. Her latest body of work called Portrait of an Allotment focuses on the individuals of her local allotment and their passion for growing sustainable organic food. Her work can be found on www.corinashleighbrown.co.uk, or follow her on Twitter @CABrown_Photo There are two types of crab eaters: Those who pile the meat to eat all at once & those who eat as they go — you are? I like to eat as I go — it feels more experiential and real.
TYLER RUDICK | WRITER A Yankee transplant who currently resides in north Houston with his wife and two dogs, Tyler Rudick is an art and architecture writer who seizes every chance he gets to explore food and culinary history. With roots in the Philadelphia area, he inherited a love of the handcrafted cocktail from his father, a former bartender and staunch critic of just about every Old Fashioned he’s ever ordered. There are two types of crab eaters: Those who pile the meat to eat all at once & those who eat as they go — you are? Too busy prying out every delicious morsel and devouring it immediately, I never realized there was any other way to eat crab.
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CLAY DUNN & ZACH PATTON | WRITERS Clay Dunn and Zach Patton are the creators of the popular blog TheBittenWord.com, where they chronicle their adventures in the kitchen, cooking through a stack of food magazines each month. Started in 2008 as a New Year’s resolution to start utilizing magazine subscriptions or get rid of them, the blog also features tips and tricks for the home cook, as well as original recipes. It has received numerous honors and been featured in a variety of publications, including being named “Best Cook-Through Blog” by Saveur magazine in 2011. In 2009, it was named “one of the world’s top 50 food blogs” by The Times of London. Dunn and Patton are both natives of the South and now reside in Washington, DC. They were married in 2010. There are two types of crab eaters: Those who pile the meat to eat all at once & those who eat as they go — you are? Eat as we go! We're far too impatient.
JONATHAN HARRIS | PHOTOGRAPHER Combining elements of computer science, anthropology, visual art and storytelling, Jonathan Harris designs systems to explore and explain the human world. He has made projects about human emotion, human desire, modern mythology, science, news, anonymity and language. He studied computer science at Princeton and was awarded a 2004 Fabrica fellowship. The winner of two 2005 Webby Awards, Harris' work has also been recognized by AIGA, Ars Electronica, ID Magazine, and the State of Vermont, has been featured by CNN, BBC, Reuters, NPR, USA Today, and Wired, and has been exhibited at Le Centre Pompidou (Paris), and The Museum of Modern Art (New York). He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, and documents his work at number27.org. There are two types of crab eaters: Those who pile the meat to eat all at once & those who eat as they go — you are? Eat as I go.
jul.aug 2012 | spensermag.com
MICHAEL HARLAN TURKELL | PHOTOGRAPHER Michael Harlan Turkell, a once aspiring chef, now freelance photographer captures the inner workings of kitchens for his award-winning “BACK OF THE HOUSE” project, which documents the lives of chefs in their restaurant world. Michael’s been nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award in Visual Storytelling and has had his photos printed in an array of publications, and cookbooks. His most recent book, Beginnings by Chris Cosentino of Incanto in San Francisco, CA for Weldon Owen, was released in Spring 2012. He lives in Brooklyn, NY, with his in-house sommelier girlfriend, and a cat that has a beer named after it (Sixpoint Craft Ales’ Masons Black Wheat). There are two types of crab eaters: Those who pile the meat to eat all at once & those who eat as they go — you are? I'm a clean cook, messy eater, eat as I go, hands on kind of guy.
JOEL LEVANGIA | WRITER Joel LeVangia grudgingly credits his father with expanding his food horizons at an early age by using reverse psychology to get the boy to consistently order escargot and other things the elder wanted to eat for himself. LeVangia credits his mother with raising him to share with his father, and he credits one J. Townshend with getting him PA credits on cooking shows featuring Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, and Lydia Bastianich. LeVangia was born and raised in New York State and loves everything about it except the clam chowder. There are two types of crab eaters: Those who pile the meat to eat all at once & those who eat as they go — you are? I eat it as I go.
JUDY BEEDLE | PHOTOGRAPHER Judy is a creative, passionate, out-loud laughing, overly-caffeinated photographer of people who calls Maine her home. Her love of food was sparked by her need to live gluten-free, which made her get over a slight fear of cooking (or any recipe that called for shallots), and learn the joy of cooking and sharing food with others. She has a B.S. in Cinema & Photography from Ithaca College, sometimes bakes in her rollerskates, and is most at home when she is near the ocean, or sitting on a back deck with friends and food. Her work can be found at www.beedlephotos.com. There are two types of crab eaters: Those who pile the meat to eat all at once & those who eat as they go — you are? I'm from Maine.... I don't eat crab! Also, I have a shellfish allergy, so I really don't eat crab (sad, I know!) But I would be more of an eat as you go kind of gal.
a big spenser thank you to our Indie Go Go Funders
AD - or indie gogo spenser super duper "Go Go-er" Anonymous Erin Ennis John Iparraguirre A. Kilert Mary Nemick spenser super "Go Go-er" Anonymous Beth Ashkin Deborah Brown Justin Burkhardt² Carol Caggiano Alma L. Castro The One and Only Linda Evans Windy Gail Patricia Harris Jett and Jonah Paula Martin Vicki Mavroudis Paige Products Jennifer Schaeffer Stephen “Bulldog” Tindle Scott Tomaino Carter Trout Megan Wallace spenser "Go Go-er Eugene Han Daniel Portolan Debbie Vallarino Michelle Vaughn
Special thanks to Charlie & Jack’s parents for their front of book location scouting on this special issue – we miss our perch! jul.aug 2012 | spensermag.com
butler’s choice: Confident Color
Renowned American designer Kelly Wearstler is famous for her unique take on color, texture and pattern. Wearstler has decorated some of the leading hotels and resorts around the globe and developed a signature style that she says comes from “confidence, taking risks, and knowledge of what works, which can be attained only through the act of doing.” Wearstler’s third book, HUE (AMMO 2009), contains page after page of colorful photos of her projects and immediately draws the reader into her spirited decorating portfolio. What strikes us, though, is how true to the book’s title, the book’s chapters show how to mix and match the vibrant colors of different minerals, fruit, plants, shells, stones, flowers and the like. Wearstler uses algae, camellia, pyrite, and tourmaline as inspiration when creating a new look with impact color in often overlooked spaces like pantries and wet bars. “Life would go on without the subtleties of hues such as vermillion, peridot, or wisteria, but the world would be a far less colorful place, both literally and figuratively,” says Wearstler. In the Jonquil (flower), Citrine (quartz crystal), and Dahlia (perennial plant) chapter, a black pantry demonstrates Wearstler's belief that the use of color in a smaller space can be restrictive. While she can’t help herself but to paint the space a brilliant hue of color, she intuitively lacquers the walls so they reflect light to open up the room. Wearstler doubles down on her love of metallics and other reflective surfaces in the Hillcrest Estate Bulter’s pantry by showcasing metallics in the plates, dinnerware, and glasses.
not just from honoring the history, location and architecture, but also in pushing boundaries. Wearster acknowledges that this process is often a subtle cultivation and curating of the space over many years. But in the end, she says, “color is an intense communicative force.”
Photo Credits: (This page, from top) Hillcrest Estate wet bar by Gary Crawford; Hillcrest Estate Butler’s Pantry by Gary Crawford. (Opposite page) Hillcrest Estate wet bar by Gary Crawford. Photos reprinted with permission from Hue by Kelly Wearstler. Copyright © 2009. Published by Ammo, LLC.
For Wearstler, opening the eye to many possible solutions to the design of a space - where “floor plans are not the ruling force of design” - speaks to the “organic process [of design], like new ingredients to a chef.” In the Cerulean (color), Tourmaline (semi-precious stone), Peridot (gemstone) chapter, the Hillcrest Estate wet bar comes to life with bold patterned flooring and backsplash colors. “It is about having a hierarchy of color, where one prevailing hue sets the tone for the space and the rest follow, whether it is the form, pattern, or texture,” says Wearstler. Wearstler cautions that the toughest challenge in selecting a color is observing the ambient light of the space and how the hue of color works within the natural changes of the light in the space throughout the day. Success in bold color selections comes jul.aug 2012 | spensermag.com
stocking the pantry:
It’s known as bottarga (Italian), poutargue (French), botarga (Spanish), batarekh (Arabic), karasumi (Japanese) and avgotaraho (Greek). Whichever name you use, this cured mullet or tuna roe is, simply put, one of our favorite pantry items. Bottarga — we typically use the Italian name — adds a salty, briny, sweetness to any number of dishes. We do our best to have it on hand at all times, but it just seems to disappear because it is so delicious and so versatile. Often referred to as the poor man’s caviar, today’s premium bottarga can be quite expensive. Thankfully, a little goes a very, very long way. Thinly sliced or finely grated, bottarga is best used in simple preparations with only a handful of other ingredients. It’s most common incarnation: generously grated over spaghetti that has been slicked with good quality olive oil, a little garlic and some Italian parsley. It’s also wonderful grated over scrambled eggs, mixed into salads or even served on crusty grilled bread. Bottarga is made by rinsing, salting and drying the delicate roe sacks of either the gray mullet or tuna. The roe is then laid out on small wooden boards and pressed to draw out additional moisture. It is dry aged and either vacuum sealed or dipped in beeswax to prevent it from drying out. The finished product is quite firm with a signature bright orange color. When purchasing bottarga, we look for those with softer, more delicate — read, "less salty" — flavor profiles. Of the traditional European brands, we stock Trikalinos from Greece. The Trikalinos family has been producing and distributing premium gray mullet bottarga harvested from protected marshy lagoons near Etoliko in western Greece, since 1856. Closer to home, we favor Cortez Bottarga from Florida’s Anna Maria Fish Company. Cortez, on Sarasota Bay, is one of the last remaining fishing villages on Florida's Gulf Coast. The roe used in the Cortez Bottarga is sustainably harvested from wild, net-caught striped gray mullets and processed in the traditional handcrafted manner. You can’t go wrong with either.
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stocking the pantry:
Trikalinosâ€™ grey mullet bottarga.
SFW-Spencer-5.12.Final:Layout 1 5/18/12 2:10 PM Page 1
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stocking the pantry:
Bottarga Butter Recipe by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton This recipe comes from the wonderfully prolific and talented duo at The Canal House. The compound butter is the perfect accompaniment to almost anything you cook on the grill this summer. Use it on grilled steaks, fish, vegetables (we love it rubbed on grilled corn as part of a summer seafood menu), anything really. It is even delicious slathered on thick slices of grilled country bread still warm from the fire.
Makes 5 oz. 8 tbsp. (1 stick) salted butter, softened 1 oz. bottarga, finely grated Finely grated zest of 1 lemon Â˝ tsp. fresh ground black pepper 1. Beat the butter in a bowl with a wooden spoon to make it smooth and a bit creamy. Add the bottarga, lemon zest and season with pepper. Stir to combine. The butter can be used right away or covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to three days or frozen for one month. Note: Get the best quality butter you can find for this recipe. We use Strauss here in the spenser kitchen, but we also love the cultured butter from Vermont Butter and Cheese. Because we use either the Trikalinos or the Cortez bottarga, which has a lighter, more delicate flavor, we like to use salted butter. If you are unsure of the salt content of the bottarga you are using, start with unsalted butter and add salt to taste.
jul.aug 2012 | spensermag.com
stocking the pantry:
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stocking the pantry:
Raw Zucchini Salad with Sliced Bottarga and Celery Leaves Serves 4 1 lb. zucchini Kosher salt 1 ½ oz. bottarga (more if you like) 4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil Zest from 1 lemon 1 ½ tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice ¼ cup light yellow-green leaves from the heart of the celery ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, stems removed Fresh ground black pepper 1. Slice off both ends of the zucchini. Using a mandoline (or a chef’s knife), cut the zucchini lengthwise into ¹⁄8-inch thick slices. Toss the zucchini slices with 1-2 tsp. kosher salt and place them in a colander set in the sink. Set aside for 15 minutes to soften the zucchini. 2. While waiting for the zucchini, use a mandoline (or a paring knife) to slice the bottarga into paper-thin pieces. In the bottom of a large bowl, mix together the olive oil and lemon juice. Wash the salt off of the zucchini under cold running water. Carefully, but thoroughly, dry the zucchini, and then add to the bowl with the lemon dressing. Add the celery leaves and parsley to the bowl. Season with black pepper and toss everything to combine. Taste, adding additional salt or pepper if necessary, keeping in mind that some bottarga is very salty. 3. Arrange the salad on a large platter and garnish with the slices of bottarga and a few more grinds of black pepper.
jul.aug 2012 | spensermag.com
stocking the pantry:
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stocking the pantry:
FROZEN TREATS Thereâ€™s nothing better than a great scoop of ice cream to cool you off in the summer. Seeing how fast the mercury climbed these past few months, we decided to take on the tough task of selecting our favorite (new-to-us) ice cream flavors made by small-batch and even-smaller-batch producers from around the country. We played around with ice cream sandwiches, shakes, malts and floats. But in the end, each of these six flavors were delicious on their own, which is why theyâ€™ve earned a well deserved spot in the freezer section of the spenser pantry.
jul.aug 2012 | spensermag.com
stocking the pantry:
NOTHIN’ BETTER THAN NUT BUTTER Pistachio & Honey: Rather than go the traditional route of steeping pistachios in milk for the custard base, Jeni’s Splendid (Columbus, Ohio) sources an all-natural pistachio butter from a local roaster and then whisks it into every small batch resulting in an endlessly creamy pistachio flavor balanced with a touch of honey.
FARM TO CONE Buttermilk Lime Cardamom: Cruze Farm (Knoxville, Tenn.) is a 575-acre family dairy farm that is known for pasteurizing and bottling its own fresh churned buttermilk. The buttermilk, which is heralded by chefs across the South, is mixed into a traditonal ice cream base and then churned with fresh lime juice and cardamom into a tangy summer treat.
DELICIOSO OAXAQUEÑO Aztec Chocolate & Caramel: Inspired by the spiced hot chocolates of Oaxaca, Mex., High Road Craft (Atlanta) steeps rich chocolate, slow-roasted almonds, dried red chiles, and real cinnamon in a custard base, which is then churned in small batches with a goat’s milk caramel (cajeta) ribboned throughout.
stocking the pantry: BANANA PUDDING 2.0 Banana Whama: Phin & Phebes (Brooklyn) sources milk from the eight-family Quality Dairy Farms in Jefferson County, NY. The milk is used to build a creamy banana pudding base filled with chunks of vanilla wafers that is then churned into ice cream and hand-packed in small batches.
SOUTHEAST ASIAN SWEETS AND SPICES Thai Coconut Curry: Fox & Swan (Los Angeles), a brand new ice cream company with a knack for successfully pairing sweet and savory, mixes together a coconut ice cream base with Thai yellow curry and grated nutmeg to make this truly unique ice cream flavor.
THE STRAWBERRY WEâ€™VE BEEN WAITING FOR Strawberry Honey Balsamic: Salt & Straw (Portland, Ore.,) amps up this classic flavor by mixing fresh, local strawberries from Oregon Hill Farms with honey balsamic vinegar from third-generation Oregon beekeeper Honey Ridge Farms, and black pepper from the island of Pohnpei.
stocking the pantry:
BAR GELATO is the portable new way to enjoy Bay Area classic Gelateria Naia’s hand-crafted gelato. Made from locally-sourced ingredients, the gelato popsicles are made in small batches in the traditional Italian manner, then frozen into a bar form that’s easy and convenient to take with you, wherever you are going. Our favorite, the St. George Single Malt Whiskey, all starts with your basic gelato mixture — milk, sugar, eggs and a little cream — that’s then spiked with pure, unadulterated, cask-strength single malt whiskey distilled by nearby St. George Spirits, in Alameda, Calif.
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THE SUMMER OF LOVE w w w. o p e n h a n d . o rg
stocking the pantry:
HUMPHRY SLOCOMBE ICE CREAM BOOK Confession time: A few years back, we had forgotten how good ice cream could be. Work and other obligations had gotten in the way of one of life’s simpler pleasures. That was until we found Humphry Slocombe’s twitter feed in February 2009. "How could such witty, over-the-top tweets possibly front for bad ice cream," we thought to ourselves. And so like gnats to a flame, we were instantly drawn to a tiny little storefront on our favorite strip of San Francisco’s Mission District (we’re looking at you La Palma Mexicatessen) for what turned out to be the best ice cream sundaes we’ve ever had. Thanks to owners Jake Godby, the genius pastry chef, and Sean Vahey, the glue that holds the place together, we’ve found our love of ice cream again and we’ve been searching it out ever since, at all hours of the day, any time of year. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. So when we heard that Jake and Sean had written a cookbook that gave up the recipes for all of their signature flavors, like Secret Breakfast, Rosemary’s Baby and Salted Licorice, we jumped at the opportunity to try it at home. At first glance, the recipes look different than most of the others we've seen. They call for less milk, more egg yolks, more sugar and a good dose of salt. But the end results are consistently sublime and worth every penny. As it says on the back cover of the book, “welcome to the ice cream counterculture revolution.”
Pepper and Mint Chip Ice Cream Recipe by Jake Godby Our response to the horrors of Shrek-colored ice cream is Pepper and Mint Chip. Guests are genuinely surprised by Pepper and Mint Chip, but it’s exactly what it sounds like: pepper, mint, and chocolate chips. Maybe the clear and strong presence of pepper surprises some, or maybe it’s the taste of actual fresh mint. Either way, we think it’s much better than the green mint ice cream. We hope you do, too.
Makes 1 quart 1 bunch fresh mint 2 cups heavy cream 1 cup whole milk 2 tsp. salt 3 egg yolks 1 cup sugar 1 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper (We use cubeb, and you want a coarse grind.) 2 oz. dark chocolate (70%), melted (We recommend melting it in a double boiler over medium-high heat; you can also use a microwave—carefully!) 1. Wash the mint thoroughly, because there might be bugs in it. It comes from dirt. Put the whole bunch in a food processor, stems and all, and process to a purée. If you don’t have a food processor, do your best to chop it as finely as you can. You want mulch. Set it aside. 2. Fill a large bowl or pan with ice and water. Place a large, clean bowl in the ice bath. In a large, heavy-bottomed, nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream, milk, and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until hot but not boiling. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until well blended. 3. Remove the cream mixture from the heat. Slowly pour about half of the hot cream mixture into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Transfer the yolk mixture back to the saucepan with the remaining cream mixture and return it to medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula and being sure to scrape the bottom of the saucepan so it doesn’t scorch, until the liquid begins to steam and you can feel the spatula scrape against the bottom of the pot, 2 to 3 minutes. 4. Remove the custard from the heat and stir in the mint and pepper. Stir it up a little and pour the custard into the clean bowl you set up in the ice bath. Let cool, stirring occasionally. 5. When the custard has totally cooled, cover the bowl tightly and let steep in the refrigerator overnight. When you are ready to freeze the custard, push it (using a rubber spatula) through a fine-mesh strainer into an ice cream maker and spin according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the ice cream is finished, drizzle the melted chocolate into the mixture. If you can, drizzle it directly into the ice cream machine; if not, stir it in. Chips should form pretty quickly. (Enjoy. This one sucks to clean up, so good luck.) Eat immediately, or transfer to an airtight container, cover, and freeze for up to 1 week. Reprinted with permission from humprhy slocombe ice cream book by Jake Godby, Sean Vahey, and Paolo Lucchesi. Copyright © 2012. Published by Chronicle Books.
stocking the bar:
P&H SODA COMPANY
Anton Nocito remembers fondly the many times he visited old-fashioned soda fountains as a child. He’s always had it in the back of his mind that if he were ever to open his own restaurant, it would be an updated take on a classic soda fountain. After a decade of working as a butcher, Nocito decided to quit cutting meat to attend the French Culinary Institute in New York City. In the years since, he has worked for many of New York’s most highly regarded restaurateurs including Danny Meyer at the Union Square Cafe and the Cafes at the Museum of Modern Art. In 2010, while working as the Executive Chef at a.cafe in the AKA Central Park Hotel, Nocito began playing around with homemade syrups with the intention of someday using them at his own soda fountain. After successful experimentations with various flavor profiles and different recipes, he began selling his syrups at the now shuttered Greenpoint Food Market in Brooklyn. What began as a hobby has turned into the P&H Soda Co., a full time business with a clear sense of mission. Nocito draws upon his twelve years of experience as a chef — sourcing great ingredients, building and layering flavors — to create his syrups. He makes limited runs of seasonal flavors like quince, meyer lemon, and concord grape whenever he can, but you will find P&H’s ginger, lime, cream, hibiscus, sarsaparilla, and lovage throughout the year. “I’ve been cooking my whole life and that has helped me develop my palate. At the end of the day, you have the confidence that you can put certain flavors together and know that they will work,” says Nocito, referencing the combination of golden raisins and lovage, a fresh herb that is similar in flavor to celery leaves, in his lovage syrup. Nocito eschews flavoring compounds and high-fructose corn syrup, preferring to use only organic cane sugar, fresh fruits and fresh ginger, and meticulously sourced dried spices and hibiscus flowers for his products. While it’s a challenge to maintain the absolute consistency of his year round flavors, he much prefers that to the alternative of using artificial ingredients. In recent years, there are a plenty of wonderful craft syrup makers that have appeared, making delicious syrups that taste great right out of the bottle. These products work well when poured over ice cream or fresh fruit or even mixed into a glass of Champagne. We love P&H soda syrups because they deliver bright, fresh, ready-made sodas as advertised. It only takes a little P&H syrup to make a great flavored soda. The syrups are so concentrated that the flavors shine through even after being diluted 5 or 6 to 1 with seltzer water and for that, they have earned a spot in the spenser bar.
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FINDS & A meredith's page: "FISHUE" NOTEBOOK OBSESSION “Seafood and ice cream don’t go together.” Famous last words to Mike when he said we’d be doing a seafood-themed issue with some ice cream mentions. He proved me wrong with the uber-delicious Uni with Corn Sorbet (close enough). Summer is all about discovery of the unexpected, so I guess I’m off to a good start.
Always carry a notepad
I’m a visual person, so these cloth-covered notebooks filled with over 1,000 photographs redefining the modern American cookbook immediately caught my attention. Photographer Jeff Scott and chef Blake Beshore’s collection takes you inside today’s kitchens with photographs, documentary film footage and private journals –it’s an intimate, unique, emotional take on food and the journey of young chefs in today’s kitchens.
Signed Special Edition, Notes from a Kitchen, $150
Whale of a good time (couldn't resist) Big smile when you’re eating – who wouldn’t love these placemats at their summer table. Thomas Paul. $88 (set of 4) denim 38 | spensermag.com | jul.aug 2012
But the cone is the best part
As much as I love ice cream, sometimes the cone crunch is the part I’m really looking for, but as Cube points out, these one-of-a-kind cones handmade in Brooklyn are a stylish, no-calorie alternative. Cube Marketplace, $10.80
I always forget the practicality of the apron until I look down at my outfit after cooking and I’m covered with all the ingredients I’ve been working with. What I need is more of these aprons in my life. Each cotton piece is hand-printed with a permanent, washable oil-based ink. Etsy, $25
Artist Highlight - Alison Evans Ceramics
Evans tagline for her line of dinnerware and tabletop accessories is “ceramics inspired by the sea.” The pieces are hand-molded and hand-glazed. Here at spenser we fell in love with her whole product line. The beautiful proportions, vibrant, yet somehow soothing colors and unexpected beauty in each piece did indeed remind us of the sea. Shown: oyster series in Abalone and Tortoise. AE Ceramics, call studio for pricing
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SUMMER'S SWEET CORN Ever had corn for dessert? It isn’t completely out of the realm of normalcy. You’ve probably enjoyed drizzling honey over warm, fresh-from-the-oven cornbread. And Mexican ice cream and popsicle shops have long had corn-flavored frozen treats among their offerings. With the sugary sweet corn hybrids that are now being grown — especially the white corn that is often found at local farmer’s markets — corn is a optimal ingredient for summery desserts. It’s buttery sweetness pairs perfectly with stone fruits and summer berries and it is at home in a warm soufflé as it is in a frozen ice cream. When we settled on highlighting corn in this issue’s Season’s Sweet, we knew just the pastry chef to feature and just the recipe to publish. Growing up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, not too far from corn belt, Karen DeMasco, the James Beard Award-winning pastry chef at Locanda Verde in New York City, is quite familiar with the many ways to use corn in the kitchen. “To get the most flavor and best sweetness from fresh corn,” she says, “purchase it locally, preferably the day it was picked, and use it as soon as you can once you're back from the market. Corn's natural sugars quickly convert to starches once the cobs have been harvested.” Equally important, DeMasco understands that a dessert need not have dozens of intricate components to be, as she says, “spot-on.” Just keep it simple, and do it well, she advises, in her sublime cookbook, The Craft of Baking (Clarkson Potter). Published in 2009, the book showcases seasonally driven desserts inspired by classically American sweets, such as apple fritters with caramel ice cream and apple caramel sauce, rhubarb rose cobbler, or peanut butter sandwich cookies with milk chocolate filling. Paired in the book with buttery cornmeal cookies and a fresh blueberry compote, DeMasco’s silky-smooth sweet corn custard combines one of the best duos in both sweet and savory cooking: fresh corn and cream. One bite, and we think this dessert will make you rethink what it really means to say “sweet summer corn.”
Sweet Corn Custard with Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies and Blueberry Compote Recipe by Karen DeMasco Serves 8 2 medium ears fresh corn, shucked 1 quart heavy cream 1 ¼ cup plus 3 tbsp. granulated sugar ½ tsp. kosher salt ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out, bean and seeds reserved, divided 2 large eggs 6 large egg yolks ¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling ½ cup cornmeal ½ tsp. kosher salt 9 ½ tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature ½ cup confectioners’ sugar 2 tbsp. Demerara sugar 4 cups blueberries, stems removed, divided 1 tbsp. strained lemon juice 1. To make the custard: Cut the kernels from the corncobs; reserve the cobs. In a large heavybottomed saucepan, stir together the kernels, cobs, cream, ¾ cup of granulated sugar, salt, and ¼ of the vanilla bean and seeds. Bring to a rolling boil and then remove from the heat. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate it for at least 12 hours, and up to 2 days. 2. Preheat the oven to 275°F. Whisk together the eggs and egg yolks in a medium bowl. Discard the corncobs and pour half of the cream mixture over the eggs; whisk together until combined. Whisk in the rest of the cream mixture. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. 3. Place eight 4-ounce ramekins or custard cups in a deep baking dish or roasting pan, spacing them evenly. Divide the custard mixture among the ramekins. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving the front side loose, and carefully place the dish in the oven. Fill the baking dish with warm water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins, and then seal the dish tightly with the foil.
4. Bake for 20 minutes. Then rotate the pan and let the steam out by lifting the foil cover; replace the foil and seal it. Continue baking, lifting the foil every 15 to 20 minutes to let the steam out and then resealing it well, until the edges of the custards are set and the centers are still slightly loose, about 1 hour (if more time is needed, check at 5-minute intervals). Remove the foil. Transfer the dish to a wire rack. Let the custards cool to room temperature in the water bath. Remove from the water and refrigerate, uncovered, until set, about 1 hour. Once set, the custards can be kept, loosely covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. 5. To make the shortbread: Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, and salt in a large mixing bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, confectioners’ sugar, and the rest of the vanilla bean and seeds on low speed until just well combined, about 1 minute. With the mixer running, add the flour mixture in 2 additions, mixing each addition until just combined. If you used a vanilla bean, remove it from the dough. Chill the dough for 1 hour. 6. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to ¼-inch thickness. Cut into 2-inch rounds and transfer to a parchmentlined baking sheet. Sprinkle the top of each round with a small pinch of the Demerara sugar. Bake until golden, about 10 minutes. 7. To make the blueberry compote: Combine 2 cups of blueberries with the sugar and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently until the juices release, about 8 to 10 minutes. Increase the heat to high, bring the mixture to a boil, and cook, whisking frequently, until the compote is thickened, about 2 minutes. Transfer the compote to a clean bowl and gently fold in the remaining 2 cups of uncooked berries. 8. To serve: Top a custard with a little blueberry compote and place a few cornmeal shortbread cookies on the side. Reprinted with permission from The Craft of Baking by Karen DeMasco and Mindy Fox. Copyright © 2009. Published by Clarkson Potter.
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season’s harvest: THE MAGICAL UNI-CORN Over the past few issues, we’ve focused on simple, traditional preparations of our favorite seasonal vegetables, including romanesco with garlic and coriander, favas with pecorino and mint, fried baby artichokes, and a shaved raw Brussels sprouts salad. We wanted you to understand just how easy it is to prepare a healthy, flavorful dish when working with vegetables at the height of their seasonal freshness. For this issue, we are moving away from tradition to break you out of your comfort zone in the kitchen. No matter what part of the country you come from, you probably grew up eating corn each and every summer. Whether the cobs were steamed then salted and buttered, boiled with crabs or clams, or grilled with chile and lime, the corn was as plentiful as it was classic. You already know how easy it is to cook fresh corn. Sometimes, when it’s really hot outside, we just aren’t into all of that steaming, boiling, and grilling. We want something to keep us cool. On those days, we find ourselves tossing fresh, raw corn kernels with blue cheese, chives and Sweet 100 tomatoes in a lemon vinaigrette or cooling off on Zach and Clay’s chilled sweet corn soup. But, as much as we eat corn in the summer, it doesn’t take long for us to run out of new ways to prepare it. So, to get a cool new perspective on this classic summer staple, we turned to Tyson Cole, chef and owner of Uchi and Uchiko in Austin, Tex. Cole, who prepares seafood-centric Japanese cuisine, is renowned for his ability to elevate already pristine ingredients using a delicate touch in the kitchen. Cole’s suggestion, a corn sorbet topped with fresh sea urchin, housemade urchin “bottarga” and crispy kale chips, is a dish he created for the gala dinner at the 2011 James Beard Awards. This relatively simple simple dish to prepare presents a balanced combination of both salty and sweet, and, crispy and creamy, and it is perfect way to begin a warm summer night’s meal.
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Corn Sorbet with Uni “Bottarga” and Crispy Kale Adapted from recipe by Tyson Cole Serves 4 2 lbs. sweet yellow corn kernels ¼ cup granulated sugar 1 tsp. distilled white vinegar 2 tbsp. glucose syrup Kosher salt 6 pieces fresh sea urchin (uni) 1 bunch lacinato kale Corn oil for frying 1. To make the corn sorbet: Puree 2 lbs. of corn kernels with a bit of water in a blender and pass through a fine mesh sieve. Reserve 1 cup of this corn milk and combine it with the granulated sugar, white vinegar, glucose syrup and 1 tsp. of kosher salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over low heat till just before the boiling point. Transfer to a bowl set over an ice bath to chill and then freeze into a sorbet according to the manufacturer’s instructions that come with your ice cream maker. (This can be made up to two days ahead and stored in the freezer.) 2. To make the uni bottarga: Dehydrate two pieces of the sea urchin (uni) for 48 hours in a tabletop dehydrator, remove from dehydrator and grind with a microplane to create a powder, reserve in an airtight container till needed for use. 3. To make the crispy kale: Remove the bulky stems from the leafy part of the kale and discard. In a deep fryer or in a large pot filled halfway with corn oil, heat your oil to 350°F. Fry the kale leaves until all moisture has been removed, about 60 seconds. Be very cautious, the high water content of the leaves will cause the kale to really splatter as soon as it hits the oil. (We covered the pot with a splatter guard as soon as we dropped in the kale.) Remove the fried leaves from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to remove excess fat. Season immediately with kosher salt. If you need to reserve leaves for future use, do so in an airtight container. 4. In a small vessel, bowl or glass, place a measured scoop of the corn sorbet on bottom, and, with a careful hand, place 1 whole piece of sea urchin on top of the sorbet. Season the sorbet with a liberal dusting of the uni bottarga. Finish the dish with the crispy kale leaves for garnish and texture, serve immediately. Note: If you don’t have access to a dehydrator, you may substitute traditional grey mullet bottarga for the uni “bottarga” that is called for in this recipe, or, in the alternative, leave off the bottarga all together and top each dish with an extra piece of fresh sea urchin.
butcher's block: ALBACORE CONSERVA
Most people know Chef Chris Cosentino as a meat guy. His restaurant, Incanto, has been heralded for its unadulterated nose-to-tail cooking and his salumi shop, Boccalone, is known to many by its tagline, “Tasty Salted Pig Parts.” But in his new cookbook, Beginnings: My Way to Start a Meal (Weldon Owen © 2012), Chris emphasizes an equal love for vegetables and seafood. By respecting and highlighting the seasonality and terroir of both fish and vegetables, which Chris says he “loves to play up,” the home cook can show off the best qualities of any ingredient, however humble. Throughout the book, Chris offers lessons on how to cure, conserve, and preserve different ingredients, elevating them beyond their everyday uses. Given the season, we immediately zeroed in on his albacore conserva, an elegant take on the ubiquitous canned tuna. Each summer, fishing boats up and down the West Coast start bringing Pacific albacore to market, which, when troll or pole-and-line caught, is rated a “best choice” for sustainability by Seafood Watch. With a little bit of time and effort, Chris shows you how to turn this fresh, seasonal fish into a preserved tuna that outshines even the most expensive European brand. “When local albacore is in season in San Francisco, I can’t get enough of it,” Chris says. “Although albacore is in the tuna family, it needs to be cooked more than most other types of tuna, so I like to confit it and serve it as a cold salad. That also means that you can cook it when the weather is cool and pull it out and eat it on a hot day.” After tasting this tuna, we aren’t sure we can go back to the stuff that comes in a can.
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Albacore Conserva Recipe by Chris Cosentino Makes 1 pound 1 lb. piece albacore loin, trimmed of skin Kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper 1 tbsp. coarsely ground fennel seeds 1 tbsp. coarsely ground coriander seeds 1 tsp. red pepper flakes 1 tsp. sugar 2 or 3 fresh thyme sprigs 2 or 3 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs 2 or 3 fresh basil sprigs 3 bay leaves 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled, cracked Zest of 1 lemon, in strips 1 to 1 Â˝ qt. extra-virgin olive oil 1. Divide the albacore loin in half crosswise. Then, cut the thickest portion into 4 uniform logs, cutting once lengthwise and once crosswise, with each log about the same diameter as the tail half of the loin. 2. Season the albacore pieces evenly on all sides with 2 tbsp. salt, 1 tbsp. pepper, the fennel and coriander seeds, pepper flakes, and sugar. Arrange the pieces in a deep glass or ceramic baking dish in which they fit fairly snuggly and add the thyme, parsley, basil, bay, garlic, and lemon zest, distributing them evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours. 3. Preheat the oven to 300Â°F. Add olive oil to the baking dish to submerge the fish fully. Bake, checking occasionally to make sure the oil does not boil, until the fish is flaky but not dry when tested with a fork, about 30 minutes. At this point, the fish will be slightly underdone, but it will continue to cook as it sits. If the oil does begin to boil, reduce the heat slightly. Remove the dish from the oven and let the albacore cool in the oil to room temperature before using. Note: The albacore may be stored submerged in the poaching oil in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
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Albacore Conserva, Fennel & Olives Recipe by Chris Cosentino Serves 6 Finely grated zest of 1 lemon 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, plus more as needed 1/2 cup pure olive oil 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 fennel bulbs with fronds 1 celery heart, leaves reserved 1/4 cup salt brined small black olives, preferably San Remo, pitted and cracked 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves 1 recipe albacore conserva (see recipe, page XX) 1. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, and pure olive oil until emulsified and then whisk in the extra-virgin oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the final flavor balance with a little more lemon juice if needed. Use right away or cover and refrigerate until ready to use. (Note: this recipe only requires 2 tbsp. of the vinaigrette. Save the rest for other uses.) 2. Trim the stalks and fronds from the fennel bulbs. Discard the stalks and all but 1/4 cup of the fronds. Using a mandoline or other vegetable slicer, cut the fennel bulb lengthwise into paper-thin slices. Set the fronds aside for garnish. Then, cut the celery heart lengthwise into paper-thin slices. 3. In a bowl, combine the fennel and celery slices, olives, and parsley and toss to combine. Lightly dress the mixture, just to moisten the ingredients slightly, and toss gently. Remove the albacore pieces from the oil. Using your fingers, flake the pieces into large chunks, dropping them into a second bowl. Drizzle with about 2 tbsp. of the vinaigrette, season with salt and pepper, and turn to coat evenly. Let stand for a few minutes. 4. To serve, divide the albacore evenly among individual plates, arranging it in a few piles on each plate. Then, arrange the fennel mixture over the top of the tuna and around the plate. Garnish with the fennel fronds and celery leaves and serve right away. Both albacore recipes reprinted with permission from Beginnings: My Way to Start a Meal by Chris Cosentino. Copyright ÂŠ 2012. Published by Weldon Owen.
kazu Ono, Jiro Dreams of Sushi
bottarga | Small-batch ice cream | albacore conServa
spenser personalizing food & drink.
soft-shell CRAB country
lobster rolls for the 99%
london's sustainable seafood campaign "summer of the south" cocktails jul.aug 2012 | issue FIVE spensermag.com
buy your printed copy of spenser on MagCloud
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Lobster platter at Five Islands Lobster Co. in Georgetown, Maine.
jul.aug 2012 | spensermag.com
OR THOSE THAT HAVEN'T HEARD, Luke’s Lobster, from ME (that’s Maine) to you, the fast growing chain of casual seafood restaurants, is determined to bring the New England lobster shack to the rest of America. Unfortunately, for those of you who live in seafood shack deserts, it will be years before Luke and his team are able to make their lobster roll as accessible as a Chipotle burrito. Nevertheless, in preparation of the impending deliciousness, it seems like a good time to consider one of the pillars of this particular regional cuisine. Ignoring for the moment the wonders of the fried clam, New England clam chowder (aside: do we have to call it New England clam chowder? Can we all just call it “clam chowder,” and rename Manhattan clam chowder “Dishwater Bouillabaisse?”), and a dozen shucked oysters, we are left with the lobster roll. I just made a lot of people angry (besides the New Yorkers and their “Cioppino Lite” – I mean seriously, there’s no “Iowa Corn Chowder” and “Oaxacan Corn Chowder” it’s just “corn chowder” and it’s cream-based like clam chowder) and it’s because they feel that lobster rolls are not “left.” They say, “you do not leave a lobster roll, you start with the lobster roll, without the lobster roll there is no shack.” The undisputed champion and staple of the coastal northeastern eatery is not the fried clam belly or the perfectly fresh raw oyster. It's the lobster roll. In too many cases, this isn’t true. The fact of the matter is that too many lobster rolls are often left, (From top) Luke Holden, founder and owner of Luke’s Lobster; Luke’s lobster roll is made with chilled lobster meat, a touch of mayo and drawn lemon butter, all served on grilled split-top bun. Opposite Page (From left): The meat of one whole lobster goes on every roll at Red’s Eats in Wiscasset, Maine; Debbie Cronk, the co-owner of Red’s Eats.
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up to three days, in stainless steel tubs, gradually staining the mayonnaise orange, with attention that could politely be called casual. Perversely, this attitude is a little of what makes the lobster roll great.
more than enough for themselves that leads to finding threeday-old lobster salad scraped up with an ice cream scoop and rammed into a rumpled bun. Do not settle for this nonsense. If you come across such an establishment, move on down the road.
“Let me take this luxury good, paint it with fat, and stuff it in a hot dog roll, because that’s the best way for me to demonstrate Until you find that Luke’s Lobster is upon you, there are a few that I am lobster-rich.” other options. One is to go to Maine, and if you happen to be there, to Red’s Eats. That’s what the residents of the State of Maine are: lobster-rich. Red’s is run by Debbie Cronk, whose father Al Gagnon bought They’re also pretty libertarian, skinflint, cantankerous, and Red’s in 1977. At the time, the restaurant had been languishing stubborn — but you will only see this if you have terrible man- on the market selling little more than hot dogs and hamburgners. As long as you’re polite and say something mildly com- ers to passersby. plimentary about the scenery, or the air, or the breeze (unique to Maine!) and use the words “please” and “thank you,” Main- 1977 was a long time ago though, and Al turned Red’s around ers prove themselves to be the wonderful people they are. by ramping up with fresh lobster and lots of it. Word of a lobster roll got around, more than a few travel writers happened Wonderful people who are swimming in lobster. by, and the rest is history. His daughters Debbie and Cindy work at the restaurant daily now and they say people are still It is not a big deal to them, they would never pay $24-36 a surprised by the volume of lobster that fits into a hot dog bun. pound for it. They love it, but they aren’t going to treasure every iota because they can pull more out of the ocean. Subject, Not skimping is the only way that the Gagnon gang treats the of course, to strict quotas that preserve the health and quality lobster casually, however. Quality control is vital and they of their fisheries. spend time each day making sure the lobster is fresh and cooked to perfection. From there you are on your own putting The lobster roll has historically been a neglected sandwich butter or mayonnaise on it and getting it from the griddled option for people who have some kind of problem with fried split-top roll into your mouth. Most people piece it together clams coated in tartar sauce. Get some lobster, shell it, chop only after taking a moment to admire the amount of crustait up with celery and mayonnaise, cover with cellophane and cean massed before them. wait for somebody to order it. Sometimes 72 hours. For the lobster-rich, it’s like egg salad or chicken salad. But what Red’s is extremely proud of its repeat business, and people about the 99%? who vacation in Maine make it a regular stop, lining up a hundred deep throughout the summer. Red’s season runs I’m not suggesting it isn’t serious business, just that they have from mid April to Columbus Day and they will work through enough to ship all over the world. It’s the fact that they have 20,000 pounds of lobster meat in that time.
About 370 miles down the coast from Red's sits Pearl Oyster Bar in the heart of New York City. Pearl is run by Rebecca Charles, who works through 1500 pounds of lobster a week. Ms. Charles and a partner opened her version of a clam shack about fifteen years ago and she is motivated by the same principles in place at Red’s. “I barely get to do any cooking any more. I have been reduced to a quality control expert,” Ms. Charles laments. “If a customer is unhappy I am horrified because it means that four redundant systems have broken down.” The crux of the casual/luxury dichotomy is that you want to find yourself in the care of somebody who still respects the lobster even though they’re dealing in volume. You’re looking for a benevolent despot of the lobster-rich, one who shovels it onto a hot dog bun like it’s nothing but loves every morsel like it’s their life’s blood. For example, Ms. Charles regards herself as a “tinkerer” who will fuss with anything until it’s better. In the case of the lobster roll, this meant moving the ancillary ingredients up while not mistreating the main event. “Our job is to cook the lobster properly, shell it, and then make the best lobster salad possible,” she says. This lobster salad goes on a Pepperidge Farm hot dog roll (top-sliced, harder to get than you might imagine) and comes close to perfect except, says Ms. Charles, “some people ask for it without celery, but you have to have celery, so now we mince it fine enough that it can’t be seen.” I guess it’s a good thing that Rebecca Charles cares enough to try to make everyone happy. I hope it doesn’t drive her crazy because you know what they say about people’s opinions, and everyone definitely has one. If you are having ten or twelve people over this summer and you aren’t going to roast a whole pig or a goat, then I have two things to suggest. First, don’t invite anyone who objects to the texture of celery, and second, get your largest stockpot out and cook up some lobsters. Your major hurdle is going to be laying in an adequate bun, because I can help with the lobster sourcing.
Seafood trucks back right up to the water on Sheepscot Bay, near the Gulf of Maine, to load up on the dayâ€™s catch. Opposite Page (From top): Chef Rebecca Charles, owner of Pearl Oyster Bar in New York City; Belly up to the bar at Pearl and order a lobster roll; The front window at Pearl.
(Clockwise from top left, across both pages) Tucker Jordan, Captain of F/V Hot Spot Too and owner of Maine Lobster Boys; Jordan is one of the many Maine lobstermen who supply their catch to Lukeâ€™s Lobster; Banding the claws protects the lobsters from each other and the fingers of those who handle them.
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(From left, across both pages) A colorful array of live lobsters fresh off the boat and headed for Five Islands Lobster Co.; The entrance to Five Islands, which sells its own award winning lobster roll; An antique scale is still in use in the Five Islands kitchen.
Five Islands Lobster Company will ship them to you. Five Islands is in Georgetown, Maine and they have their own shack on a working wharf used by local lobstermen. A fresh, healthy lobster can live out of water four or five days. The trick is to keep the lobster cool without freezing it, but cold pack containers can get that done. One worthwhile tip is to not (emphasis DO NOT) put the lobsters in water when they get to you. For those of you who are scientifically inclined, you will be creating a hypotonic situation as the lobster is used to cold, deep, seawater. Simply putting salt in water is not really going to cut it either, smart guy. Just stick them in your refrigerator. Better yet, get them from your UPS guy and let them wander around your kitchen counter while you put the pot on the stove. Five Islands has access to fresh, lively lobsters (much better than what you would get in the tanks at your closest Chinatown fish market) and they are nice people. It is a wonderful world where the possibility exists to have ten to twenty pounds of crustacean flown to you without the use of a private helicopter. I say take advantage of it if only just once this summer. Get twelve friends together (with fewer people, the cost and the effort of shelling the lobsters might not be worth it) and make it happen. Load up on good IPA and some Brittany wines and be like the 1%. Live lobster-rich for a day.
Red’s Famous Lobster Roll Recipe by Virginia Wright & Debbie Cronk If you want to cook and pick your own lobster meat, plan on one 1- to-1½ pound hardshell lobster or two to three 1- to 1¼-pound softshell lobsters per roll. (Do not use frozen lobster meat; that is a sin.)
Serves 1 1 split-top hot dog bun, sides brushed with melted butter Fresh, cooked lobster meat, including two whole claws and a whole tail, deveined and split Drawn butter (optional) Mayonnaise, preferably extra heavy (optional) 1. Grill the hot dog bun until sides are toasted and golden. This takes just a few minutes. Rip lobster meat into chunks and fill the middle of the roll. Put the whole claws at each side of the roll and put the split lobster tail on top. Ogle your sandwich. Eat as is or drizzled with drawn butter or mayonnaise. Wish you had made two.
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Red’s recipe reprinted with permission from Red’s Eats by Virginia Wright and Debbie Cronk. Copyright © 2010. Published by Down East Books. Pearl recipe reprinted with permission from Lobster Rolls and Blueberry Pie by Rebecca Charles and Deborah Di Clementi. Copyright © 2006. Published by William Morrow.
Pearl Oyster Bar Lobster Roll Recipe by Rebecca Charles You can get lobster rolls anywhere in Maine, even at McDonald’s. My favorite is the mayonnaisey lobster salad in a butter-toasted bun. It’s best to cook your lobsters at home and pick the meat. Precooked meat is generally overcooked, probably not fresh, and definitely overpriced. At Pearl Oyster Bar, we serve the lobster roll in a way that Mainers would consider pretty upscale. We fill the bun with lobster salad, sprinkle it with chives, and put it next to a big pile of shoestring fries, with a garnish of baby greens. The traditional garnish is a couple slices of bread and butter pickles and a big mound of potato chips.
Serves 2 2 lbs. cooked lobster meat, chopped roughly into ½- and ¾-inch pieces ½ celery rib finely chopped ¼ cup Hellmann’s (a.k.a. Best Foods) mayonnaise Squeeze of lemon Pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 tsp. unsalted butter 2 Pepperidge Farm top-loading hot dog buns Chopped chives for garnish 1. To make the lobster salad, in a large bowl, combine the lobster meat, celery, mayonnaise, lemon, and salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Cover the mixture and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. 2. To prepare the bun, in a small sauté pan over low to medium heat, melt the butter. Place the hot dog buns on their sides in the butter. Flip the buns a couple of times so they soak up an equal amount of butter and brown evenly. Remove the buns from the pan and place them on a large plate. Fill the toasted buns with the lobster salad. Sprinkle with chives and serve with a salad, slaw, or shoestring fries.
story by Zach Patton & Clay Dunn â€˘ photography by Meredith Paige
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It’s 2:30 on a Saturday afternoon, and James Eskridge has already put in a 14-hour day on the job. And he’s far from finished. As a waterman off the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Eskridge is accustomed to early mornings and long hours spent out on his boat, checking his crab traps and watching over his catch until they shed their hard outer shells and can be sold as soft-shell crabs. But a vicious storm knocked out area electricity last night, meaning Eskridge has been up since 12:30 a.m., monitoring the crabs in his tanks and making sure the generators were functioning. That’s life on Tangier Island, a minuscule speck of land in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay that’s often called the soft crab capital of the world. Harvesting soft crabs is a never-ending slog. Crabs can shed their shells up to 20 times during their lives, but there’s only a four- to five-hour window when the new shell is tender enough to make it a soft-shell crab. That small window of time means a crabber must always keep a very close eye on his catch. “It’s a constant thing,” says Eskridge, taking a quick afternoon break over a glass of pink lemonade at the Fisherman’s Corner restaurant near the dock. “You’re out Saturday evening, you’re out Sunday morning.” Like most Tangierman, Eskridge doesn’t take his boat out on Sundays, but he’s still got to monitor the crabs in his tanks, which are housed in one of the myriad wooden shanties that dot the island’s small harbor. “It has its ups and downs,” says Eskridge, who is also the town mayor. “But I love it.” He finishes his lemonade and heads back out to the harbor. He’s still got hours of work to do. Crabbing has shaped every aspect of life in this tiny community for well more than a century. Tangier Island, which actually lies in Virginia waters just over the Maryland line, is less than a hundred miles from Washington, D.C. But the island is a world apart. It’s 12 miles from the mainland, and getting there requires an hour-long $20 ride on one of the relatively infrequent ferries that leave from either the Virginia or Maryland shores. The only other way on or off Tangier is by private boat or plane.
(Clockwise from top left, across both pages) Family homes seen across the marsh on Tangier Island; Golf carts and bicycles are the most popular form of transport on the island; A dock at the working wharf; The islandâ€™s sandy beaches are slowly eroding away; Crab City USA; Fishing boats and crab shacks dot the islandâ€™s waterways.
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(Clockwise from top left, across both pages) James â€œOokerâ€? Eskridge carefully watches over his crab tanks; Blue crabs about to shed their hard shells; The wire traps used to catch crabs; Wholesalers quickly move soft-shells from the island to markets and restaurants all over the country; Another view of the harbor on Tangier Island.
Because it’s so isolated, Tangier Island has developed a hardscrabble culture all its own. With a current population of just 450, it’s an incredibly tight-knit community. Other than a handful of pickup trucks, everyone on Tangier travels by golf cart or bicycle. Almost all the houses are strung along two narrow lanes. The town center consists of half a dozen restaurants and seafood stands, a couple souvenir shops and Daley and Son, the only grocery store on the island. Almost every Tangier resident goes by a nickname. For instance, James Eskridge is just “Ooker,” after the sound he made as a young kid imitating his pet rooster. On the whole, it’s a conservative community that’s deeply religious. There’s no alcohol for sale anywhere on the island, and when producers of the 1999 Kevin Costner movie, Message in a Bottle, wanted to film on Tangier, the town council denied the request over concerns about references in the script to sex and drinking. Residents of the island even have their own accent, a holdover from the British dialect spoken when Tangier was first permanently settled in the 1770s. Linguists have described it as everything from Elizabethan-meets-Tidewater to Cornish-cumSouthern. It can be nearly indecipherable to mainland ears, as “my life on the water” is heard something like “moi loif unna wudduh.” Couple that with the fact that Tangier residents have developed their own vocabulary, a playful mix of phrases that include “yorn” (for “yours”), “hern” (for “hers”), “usen’t” (for “didn’t used to”) and “onliest” (for “only”). “Tangiermen have got a way of shortening words,” says George Cannon, a former waterman known to everyone on the island as “Cook.” “We’ve got a language of our own.” Culture in general, Cannon says, “is different here. It’s just a different way of life, and you don’t find this way of life everywhere.” But it’s a way of life that’s slowly dying. Declining crab populations in the Chesapeake mean it’s becoming harder and harder to make a living as a waterman. Maryland and Virginia in recent years have tightened regulations on the crab industry, in an effort to rebuild the crab population. Between 1991 and 2008, the crab catch in Virginia fell fourfold from 450 million to 120 million pounds. In addition to shortening the crabbing season, the states froze new crabbing permits. The only way a young waterman could obtain a license today is by buying one from someone who’s leaving the industry, or having it passed down in a will. As a result, the town itself is rapidly shrinking. The population is less than half of what it was a couple generations ago. At the Tangier Island Combined School, the K-12 schoolhouse that serves the entire island, this year’s graduating class consisted of three students. The number of watermen has plummeted too, from 140 in 2003 to 65 just a few years later. Many of the boats and shanties in the once-bustling harbor now sit quiet and unused. “It’s sad, in a lot of ways,” says Cannon. “Things have really changed. All the young people today go to college, and they don’t come back. I don’t blame ’em not to come back, ’cause there’s nothing [here for them]. When I was a kid, I could work on the water and make a living. You can’t do that now.” Ooker Eskridge pulls his small boat alongside the dock at his
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(Clockwise from top left, across both pages) Crabs pulled from the bay are stored in wooden tanks until they shed their shells; Male crabs can be distinguished by their blue claws and the slender points on their abdomens; The Chesapeake Bay blue crab.
shanty. It’s a small white wooden cabin, a freestanding shack on raised pylons several hundred feet out in the harbor. The spot has been passed down to him from his father, his grandfather, and his great-grandfather, all of them watermen. The dock off the back of the shanty is lined with several large rectangular tanks, each filled with dozens of soft crabs, and a stack of unused wire traps. As Eskridge explains, about half the Tangier watermen catch hard crabs, and half catch soft crabs. It’s a tradeoff: Because the hard crabs don’t shed, they don’t demand constant attention the same way the soft crabs do. Once you bring in your catch of hard crabs, you’re done for the day. Soft crabs, of course, are a lot more work. But they fetch a much higher market price: Eskridge’s soft crabs get shipped to the Fulton Fish Market in New York City, where they may wholesale for $30 a dozen, nearly 10 times the price of hard crabs in high season. He picks up a crab and inspects the underside, tracing a faint red border along the lines of the shell. “See that red outline here? That’s the new shell underneath,” he says. “When you see that red along the outside, that means it’s going to be a soft crab within a few days.” Timing is everything, he says: Bring the crab in too early, and the shedding process will stop. Too late, of course, and the shell will already have started hardening again. He pulls another crab out of the tank and points to a hairline crack in the shell. That’s an indication that the crab will shed within a few hours. Eskridge places it in a separate tank with other shedding crabs. They must be kept separate, because non-shedding crabs will eat the defenseless soft-bodied crabs. In the shedding tank, there’s a crab that’s already cracking out of its hard shell. In a matter of minutes, the crab has thrown off the old shell and is already noticeably bigger. Eskridge picks it up and shows how tender the skin is. It’s tender and pliable; even the claws bend like rubber. Left in the water, the shell would begin to harden almost immediately. It wouldn’t be completely hard for a few days, but even after about four hours it would be too hard to be considered a soft crab. Eskridge removes the crab from the tank and places it in a refrigerator, which will halt the hardening process. Like everyone else on Tangier, of course, Eskridge eats a diet that’s heavy on crabs. His wife prefers soft crabs, he says, but he likes steamed hard crabs. “But,” he adds quickly, “we prepare ’em Tangier style. We don’t eat ‘em city-style. Usually 76 | spensermag.com | jul.aug 2012
An old orange anchor ball on Port Isobel, across from to Tangier Island; George “Cook” Cannon, a former waterman, now works with the Chesepeake Bay Foundation on Port Isobel. Opposite Page (From top): Soft-shell crabs; A crab shack in the Tangier harbor; Cats can been seen roaming all over the island.
when you get them from a restaurant, they serve ’em whole and you have all the mess inside. Tangier-style, we remove the shell and spray the guts out. We’re spoiled. We don’t eat crab guts.” Later, as Eskridge boats out into the bay to check on his crab traps, he talks about how the restrictions on crabbing have affected his livelihood. “I’m not against regulations,” he says. “You need to be regulated. But you got to be careful you don’t put people out of business.” The declining crab population isn’t due to overfishing, he says. The problem is pollution in the bay. And anyway, he says, restoring the crab population to what it used to be would be bad for business. “There’s not as many crabs as there used to be. But the crabbers prefer it as it is, because you get good money for them. A lot of folks would like to bring crabs back the way it used to be in the ’60s. But the market couldn’t take it. Too many crabs is just as detrimental as not enough crabs.” He pilots his craft farther out into the water and slows when he spots one of his wooden buoy markers floating in the waves. Eskridge has between 250 and 300 crab traps spread throughout seven or eight miles of the bay, some in especially good crabbing grounds he learned about from his father. He knows their location by memory; he doesn’t use any maps. He checks each trap every day but Sunday. Using a hooked rod, he pulls the crab trap out of the water. It’s a wire mesh cage that’s about two feet on each side. Inside are half a dozen crabs clinging to the sides. In a good haul, Eskridge can get up to 20 or 30 crabs in each trap. He sorts them immediately, looking for the telltale signs that they’re ready to shed. Those that aren’t get tossed back overboard. Eskridge throws the trap back in the water and guides his boat along to the next one. The watermen of Tangier face a murky future. In addition to the crippling regulations and the challenges of a shifting industry, the
island itself is washing away. Erosion and rising water levels threaten to wipe Tangier off the map completely. According to the latest survey from the Army Corps of Engineers, the island is losing about 16 feet of land on the west side each year, and three feet a year on the east side. A seawall of boulders built in the 1980s has slowed erosion somewhat, but Tangier is still slipping slowly into the bay. A protective stone jetty has been approved by the Corps, but the project has never received any funding. Twenty or 30 years from now, says Cannon, Taniger may be nothing more than a memory. “I don’t know if it’ll be that soon or not, but Tangier as it is will be gone. It just going to fade right away,” Cannon says. Eskridge is more circumspect, saying he relies on his faith. Ooker quite literally wears religion on his sleeve: He’s got a large tattoo of an Ichthus fish symbol on his forearm. Another fish symbol is painted on the side of his shanty, along with “JESUS” and “We Believe” in two-foot-tall letters. “Folks are very spiritual," he says. "A lot of guys on the island, they understand that God provides the resources for us to go to work, so that’s what we’re dependent on.”
Cornmeal Crusted Soft-Shell Crabs with Heirloom Tomato and Corn Salad Recipe by Mike Isabella Serves 4 4 live soft-shell crabs 2 cups buttermilk 2 shucked ears white corn, lightly brushed with canola oil 1 large heirloom tomato, medium diced ¼ cup small diced red onion 6 large basil leaves, thinly sliced 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 1 ½ tsp. red wine vinegar 1 ¾ tsp. kosher salt, divided 6 cups canola oil (quantity may vary depending on your deep fryer) 1 cup dry cornmeal (fine ground) 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 tsp. cracked black pepper 1. Rinse crabs under cold, running water. Hold the crab from behind, and use kitchen scissors to cut off its face ½-inch behind the eyes and discard. Lift both ends of the top shell, remove the lungs and discard. Turn the crab over and you will see a flap (known as the apron). Cut this off and discard. Note: you will see a soft yellow part. This is the mustard. You can keep this in, or discard. (Unless you're from Tangier, in which case you definitely discard.) Rinse crab under cold running water and pat dry. (You can ask your fishmonger to do this for step for you.) 2. Soak cleaned crabs in buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Meanwhile prepare heirloom tomato and corn salad. Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill ears of corn on all sides, approximately 2-3 minutes on all sides. Remove from grill and let cool slightly. Cut kernels from cob. 3. In a mixing bowl, combine the grilled corn, tomato, red onion and basil. Drizzle in extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar and ¼ tsp. salt. Stir together to combine all ingredients. Set aside at room temperature until ready to use. 4. Heat canola oil in an electric deep fryer to 350°F. If you do not have an electric fryer, use a heavy-bottomed pot and candy thermometer. Combine cornmeal, flour, pepper and remaining 1 ½ tsp. salt in a shallow dish. Stir with a fork to incorporate all the ingredients. One at a time, remove each crab from the buttermilk and let excess drip off. Then, dredge each crab in the cornmeal mixture. 5. Fry the crabs one at a time for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown and crispy. You may need to flip the crab halfway through the cooking time to ensure it is browning evenly. Drain crabs on paper towels. Arrange crabs on a large serving platter with heirloom tomato and corn salad. Serve immediately.
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Garlic and Black Pepper Soft-Shell Crabs Recipe by Andrea Reusing Serves 4 Vegetable oil, for frying 3 cups rice flour 1 tbsp. kosher salt ¼ cup freshly ground pepper ¼ cup minced garlic ½ cup fish sauce 8 large soft-shell crabs, dressed by your fishmonger and cut in half crosswise 1. Fill a deep, heavy pot with about ¹⁄³ full with oil, and heat it until a deep-fat thermometer reads 375°F. In the meantime, combine rice flour, salt, pepper, and garlic in a medium bowl. Put the fish sauce in a small bowl. Dip each piece of crab briefly in the fish sauce, gently shaking off the excess, and then into the flour mix. Roll the crab over and shake off the excess flour. Set aside. Repeat this process until all of the crab halves are dredged. 2. When the oil reaches 375°F, gently lay the crabs, top side down, in the oil. Don’t crowd the pot - if necessary, fry them in batches - and use the lid as needed when the crabs are fist added to the oil to avoid splattering. After 1 to 2 minutes, when the crabs are golden brown, turn them over and cook for another 2 minutes. Drain on clean brown paper bags and eat hot.
This recipe reprinted with permission from Cooking in the Moment by Andrea Reusing. Copyright © 2011. Published by Clarkson Potter. jul.aug 2012 | spensermag.com
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Soft-Shell Crab Sandwich Serves 4 4 thick cut slices of good-quality bacon 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 tbsp. cornstarch 1 tbsp. kosher salt 1 tbsp. fresh ground white pepper 1 tsp. cayenne pepper 4 large soft-shell crabs, dressed by your fishmonger 1 cup canola oil 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature 4 brioche hamburger rolls 2 tbsp. crème fraîche 2 tbsp. dijon mustard 1 heirloom tomato, cored and sliced 4 to 8 leaves of Bibb lettuce 1. In a large sauté pan set over medium heat, cook the bacon until the fat has rendered and the meat has browned. Tear the slices in half and then set aside until needed. In the meantime, combine the flour, cornstarch, salt, white pepper, and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl. Dredge each crab in the flour mixture, rolling the crab over so that both sides are covered. Shake off the excess flour and set aside. Repeat this process with the remaining crabs. 2. In the same pan used for the bacon, add the oil and set over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the crabs, top-side down, and shallow fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Carefully turn each crab over and then cook for another three minutes. 3. While the crabs are cooking, butter the cut sides of each roll and toast in a non-stick pan set over medium heat. Remove the cooked crabs to a wire rack set over paper towels while you prepare the sandwiches. Mix together the crème fraîche and dijon mustard in a small bowl and then spread a portion of the mustard mixture on each roll. 4. To assemble, place one crab on the bottom half of each roll. Top each crab with a slice of tomato that has been seasoned with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Next, equally divide the bacon and lettuce between the sandwiches and then cover with the tops of the rolls. Serve immediately.
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CHEFS, NON-PROFITS, AND RESTAURANTEURS WORK TO MAKE LONDON THE WORLD'S FIRST SUSTAINABLE FISH CITY story by Jenny Linford • photography by Corin Ashleigh Brown
EEP-FRIED, GOLDEN BROWN FISH AND CHIPS, served with abundant salt and malt vinegar, and
jellied eels — a traditional working class food sold from stalls or in tiled pie and mash shops — are two iconic dishes in London’s food heritage. Nowadays, however, there is an increasing awareness that there are issues attached to serving these dishes. At an appearance before the World Fisheries Congress in May, Prince Charles, long a champion of the organic movement, questioned whether this “iconic national” dish had a future because of “dire” overfishing. “The simple fact is that fish and chip shops rely on there being plenty more fish in the sea and that is only going to be the case if we take care of fish stocks now and plan for them to be there into the future,” Prince Charles said. From their small offices in North London, Sustain, an advocacy group working to promote sustainability in the food chain, have come up with a simple but striking idea to highlight this issue. Sustainable Fish City is a campaign to transform London into a city that sources its fish responsibly, with catering companies, meal providers, and chefs signing up to a pledge to do just that. London’s Olympic Games provided the impetus for the campaign, explains Jon Walker, Sustain’s campaign manager. “In 2009 we approached the organizers of the Olympics Games and said ‘greenest games ever’, how about a sustainable food policy? To their credit they opened the doors to us to create a food vision for the Games, the London 2012 Food Vision,” said Walker. The campaign has attracted considerable support from high-profile figures in the food world, among them campaigning chef and food writer Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, whose own recent campaign against discarding dead by-catch in the fishing industry has achieved huge support.
“I like big ideas and bold ambition,” declares Hugh, “Sustainable Fish City sets the challenge for the whole city of London to buy fish only from sustainable sources and it has already built up huge momentum, with caterers that serve over 100 million meals a year already making the switch to sustainable fish.” The campaign’s ambassador is acclaimed French chef Raymond Blanc of Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons. Blanc took on this role “because I care deeply about these issues. Today’s chef is not a craftsman, he also needs to be a teacher, a transmitter of values and an expert in sustainability issues and – of course – he needs to make money. It’s a tough ask. Welcome to the new world! Actually this is to the good, for chefs are now reconnecting with the true values of gastronomy.” Thomasina Miers, winner of Masterchef UK in 2005 and founder of Wahaca, a chain of Mexican restaurants, is among the restaurateurs who have signed up to Sustainable Fish City. “Sustainability was always part of Wahaca from the beginning,” she says. “We wanted to put fish on the menu and were one of the first restaurants to use Marine Stewardship Council sourcing. Fish sourcing sets alarm bells ringing to me, but there are a number of chefs who don’t seem to think it applies to them because they’re amazing chefs. Diana Kennedy sent me the Thomas Keller article where he says it’s not a chef’s responsibility – I could not disagree with him more. I think as chefs we have absolute responsibility and, excitingly, we have the chance to tell people about what we’re doing, to communicate a message.”
Caroline Bennett, who founded London’s first conveyor-belt sushi restaurant Moshi Moshi Sushi in 1994, is a restaurateur working hard to implement sustainable fish sourcing, not just in her own business but among the restaurant trade. Having opened a sushi restaurant offering a range of fish, Bennett vividly describes her personal revelation as to the consequences of her actions “It was during the summer of 1998 and we just didn’t have any bluefin tuna,” Bennett explains. “I’d be berating the chefs ‘how can we call ourselves a Japanese restaurant when we don’t have any toro on the menu?’ The chefs said they’d ordered it but the suppliers didn’t seem to have it. I ended up phoning Greenpeace and speaking to Carl Safina. We had this surreal conversation where I was asking him where I could source it and he was saying ‘Well, you can’t eat bluefin tuna; it’s like eating a rhinoceros’. The penny dropped and, once I knew, I couldn’t continue to profit out of something so endangered.” Caroline took bluefin tuna off her menu in 1999 — and promptly lost all her Japanese customers. “My shareholders were furious with me,” she laughs wryly. “Sorting out sustainably sourced fish is so difficult; it’s taken me years. Tiger prawns are a very difficult fishery. There were sustainable prawns out there but they weren’t prepared in the Japanese way — butterflied with the tail tips on. This is where restaurants really fail, I think, because they do things on price, but often on convenience.” Unable to source sustainable, prepared prawns, Moshi Moshi Sushi now buys sustainable prawns and prepares the prawns themselves. “I’ve had to put the price up. Our prawn sushi was £2.70 but it’s now £3.90 – a huge jump.”
(Clockwise from top left, across both pages) Jon Walker, manager of London’s Sustainable Fish City campaign; The dining room at Moshi Moshi Sushi, inside the Liverpool Street railway station; Bluefin tuna, a sushi staple, is not served at Moshi Moshi; Caroline Bennett, owner of Moshi Moshi.
A Billingsgate fishmonger steals a moment away for a quick bite to eat at 7:45 a.m. on a recent market morning. Opposite Page: More than 150 species of fish and shellfish are sold at Billingsgate each market day.
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Together with scientist Malcolm MacGarvin, Caroline Bennett has now founded Pisces, which links small-scale fisheries directly with restaurants. “It’s an exercise in logistics,” she explains. “We want to reward fishers who are fishing sustainably so we pay them a consistent price, which works at around 15-20% above market rates over a year. I don’t think we should be using any large fishing fleets,” she declares flatly. “If you’re in the UK why not use small scale-caught fish from around the coast and use lots of different species? My argument is that the focus should be on how it’s caught, rather than what species it is. We work with four fishing boats and are using only line-caught and potter, so we take just what we want and any other catch is returned live to the water,” she continues. “Restaurants will say they only use ‘day boat fish’, but day boats can be trawlers as well as small boats; the vocabulary is misleading. On our menu, we just put Cornish catch of the day. Everybody could do that; it’s not difficult. The plus is that the quality of what we’re getting is unrivalled. I went out the other day to an expensive Japanese restaurant and thought ‘they’re charging five times what I charge for scallops and ours are much better quality.’” Sustainable sourcing is key for Geetie Singh, founder of the Duke of Cambridge in Islington, Britain’s first gastropub to be certified organic by the Soil Association. Singh serves a menu that changes daily, and is based on locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. “Buying fish sustainably is probably the most direct form of procurement purchasing that a restaurant can do to make a direct, positive change to the way our oceans are,” she asserts. “I operate under the Marine Conservation Society system, which has the advantage of being very clear.” Supportive of Fearnley-Whittingstall's issue of wasted by-catch, however, means that Singh is now considering moving to supporting specific methods of fishing and small fishers, "which through Pisces has become viable.”
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(Clockwise from top left) The trading floor of the Billingsgate Market; A smoked fish purveyor; Marketgoers chat during a coffee break; Seahawk Marine Products, a Billingsgate seafood distributor. Opposite Page (Clockwise from top right): The exterior of the Duke of Cambridge Pub, England’s first certified organic pub; Prepping food in the pub’s kitchen; One of the many talented chefs at Duke of Cambridge Pub, Geetie Singh.
There’s no doubt that the issue of sustainable fish is rippling out through the capital. At Billingsgate, London’s historic wholesale fish market, Kirstie Grieve, the Business Development manager, is undertaking a sustainability audit of the merchants and in the process of creating a sustainability charter, “a work in progress”. At the Billingsgate Seafood Training School, the school’s principal, C.J. Jackson, explains that teaching about sustainability to school children is part of the school’s role. When it comes to the school’s popular cookery courses, sustainability is a factor in the teaching: “we focus on using species that are not in the top five, so we’d use coley instead of cod, teach people how to prepare gurnard. When you come to our market there are 150 species, but if you go to a supermarket, they might just sell 30. The whole thing is to encourage people to ring the changes, try a new fish.” jul.aug 2012 | spensermag.com
(Clockwise from top left, across both pages) Beech flour, left, and juniper shavings, right, are used to smoke the salmon; Each filet is hand tied with butcherâ€™s twine; Salmon hanging in the smoker; Ole-Martin Hansen; Outside the Hansen & Lydersen smoker; Flaming the beech and juniper mixture. Previous Pages (From left, across both pages): Hastings, a small fishing village on the south coast of England, has the largest beach-based fishing fleet in the UK; A Hastings fisherman on the English Channel; Fish that is not sold locally, like at this Hastings fish and chips shop, often makes its way to Billingsgate.
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Like fish and chips and jellied eels, smoked salmon, with origins in the city that date back to the nineteenth century East End Jewish community, is another iconic London food that is running into sustainability issues. Today's smoked salmon is very often made using fish raised in industrial farms with substantial environmental impacts. Therefore, it is no surprise that Norwegian Ole-Martin Hansen is creating a stir with his carefully-crafted, slow-smoked salmon, made to Ole’s grandfather’s recipe in a small, hand-built smoking shed in the Stoke Newington district of London. From the quality of the wood used to smoke his salmon – “beech flour for sweetness” and juniper shavings “for the poetry of the forest” – to his refusal to vacuum-pack the finished product, wrapping it instead in “natural paper, free of any chemicals” and insistence on slicing it vertically, rather than on a bias, Ole is a perfectionist who takes pride in what he makes. That starts with the salmon he uses, which is sourced from a single, sustainably operated farm in the Faroe Islands. “Other farmed salmon looks like a ball, compared to these salmon, because it’s all about the weight so they feed them a lot. The fish from the Faroe Islands are lean; they look like wild salmon. Sustainability is hugely important to me. I think there’s loads to do. If you break the ice, other people follow, even if it’s expensive at the beginning.” Of course, small-scale food producers and dedicated restauranteurs, like Hansen, Bennett, and Singh are just the tip of the iceberg. Across the capital, major institutions ranging from the London Zoo to the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs have taken the Sustainable Fish City pledge since the campaign's public launch in January 2011. Making this commitment does not necessarily mean that these organizations already serve fully sustainable fish (though many do). But they have publicly pledged to make the transition and are being supported in that effort by the campaign's sustainability experts. With these early success in hand, Chef Blanc is hoping to see the Sustainable Fish City message spread beyond London. “I would like to see Sustainable Fish communities, villages, towns and villages spring up all over the UK," he says, "and would love to have some competition from America!”
jul.aug 2012 | spensermag.com
Gravad Max Recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall Serves 10 as a starter About 10 very fresh, medium-large mackerel For the cure: About ½ cup (100g) superfine sugar About ¹⁄ ³ cup (75g) coarse salt About 1 tbsp. (15g) coarsely ground black or white pepper, or a mixture A large bunch of dill, coarse stems removed, finely chopped For the accompanying sauce: 4 tsp. English mustard 4 tsp. light brown sugar 2 tsp. wine vinegar 2 to 3 tbsp. chopped fresh dill 6 tbsp. crème fraîche 1. The quickest way to prepare the mackerel is to take the fillet from either side of an ungutted fish, bait-cutter style – i.e., slicing from head to tail as close as possible to the backbone. Wipe any blood or guts from the board you are working on as you go. The whole frames (i.e., skeletons with heads and tails still on and guts attached) from which the fillets have been taken can be kept and frozen. 2. Mix together all the ingredients for the cure. Sprinkle some cure lightly over the bottom of your chosen tray, box, or dish, then place the first layer of fillets on it skin side down, with the thin edges just overlapping. Then sprinkle another, slightly thicker layer of cure over. Arrange the next layer of mackerel skin
side up and sprinkle over another layer of cure, then place the next layer skin side down. Keep going until you’ve used all your fish, or filled the dish. 3. Put the board/lid/plate on top of the final layer and weight it down with a brick, storage jar, or whatever comes to hand. Place in the fridge. You can eat the gravad max after 24 hours, but 48 is best. For really big fillets, you could wait for 72 hours. Remove the board and lift out the fillets carefully, one at a time. Give them a very quick rinse and then pat dry immediately with a clean cloth or paper towels. 4. You could serve whole fillets, leaving the problem of cutting it away from the skin and avoiding the pinbones (which are still there, running down the middle of each fillet) to your guests. Or, you could be kinder and trim the fish before serving. So, place the cured fillet on a board, skin side down, and run a flexible filleting knife between the flesh and the skin (as shown in the lower picture on the opposite page). Alternatively, you can sometimes just start the process with the knife, then peel the skin off with your fingers. 5. Now slice the skinless fillet off either side of the pinbone line to give you 2 long fillets – and a very thin waste piece in the middle with the pinbones in it, which you should discard. The belly-side fillet may require a final trim to remove the fine belly bones. 6. To make the sauce, mix the mustard, sugar, and vinegar together. Add the dill, mix well, and leave to macerate for a few minutes. Mix again, then stir in the crème fraîche. Serve the mackerel – 2 whole fillets or 4 trimmed pieces per person – with the creamy sauce on the side and plenty of brown bread and butter.
Thai Whelk Salad Recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall Serves 4 as a starter For the stock: Large knob of fresh ginger, sliced 3 or 4 garlic cloves, crushed 1 tablespoon salt Stems from a bunch of cilantro (used for the salsa) Plus, if they are on hand: 3 or 4 lemongrass stalks, sliced 2 onions, sliced A few bay leaves 2 dozen large or 3 to 4 dozen smaller whelks, plus a couple extra for the cook For the salsa: 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced 3 medium-hot fresh red chiles, seeded and very finely chopped ½ small garlic clove, very finely chopped 1 small or ½ medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into pea-sized dice Leaves from a large bunch of cilantro, chopped 2 tbsp. sunflower, peanut, or light olive oil Juice of 1 orange Juice of 1 to 2 limes A few drops of fish sauce (optional) Salt 1. To make the stock, put all the ingredients into a large pan (plus any of the extras you have on hand) with 3 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, scrub the whelks under cold running water. As you handle them, you may find that some of them release a certain amount of slime – don’t worry about this, just rinse it away. 2. Drop the whelks into the boiling stock and cook at a cheerful simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, then drain and leave to cool. Make the salsa by combining all the ingredients in a bowl, adding the lime juice, fish sauce, and salt to taste. Stir together thoroughly, then set aside to infuse for at least 1 hour. 3. Remove the cooked whelks from their shells with a fork, discarding the coarse cap from the front end and the dark digestive sac from the tail end. If any are still a little slimy, give them a wipe with a tea towel. 4. Toss the whelks thoroughly with the salsa. Leave to infuse for an hour or so, then toss again. Taste one whelk, adjust the seasoning with more lime juice or salt if you like, taste another, then serve.
â€ŠGrilled Sardinesâ€‚ Recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall Serves 4 12 large, fresh sardines or Cornish pilchards 1 tbsp. olive oil 2 tsp. chopped fresh marjoram 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped Coarse or flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper Lemon wedges, to serve 1. In a bowl, mix the olive oil with the herbs and garlic. Massage this mixture over the fish, rubbing a little inside the belly, too. Sprinkle generously with coarse salt and pepper. 2. Lightly oil the sardines and pack them into a grill basket. Cook the fish over very hot, glowing embers for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until golden and crisp. Serve with lemon wedges, and accompany with bread and a tomato salad.
Scallops with Chorizo Recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall Serves 4 as a starter, 2 as a main course 12 large diver-caught scallops Olive oil ½ lb. (250g) fairly hot chorizo, cut into ³⁄8- to ¾-inch-thick slices 1 tsp. fennel seeds (optional) A few bay leaves (optional) A squeeze of lemon juice Salt and freshly ground black pepper Optional extras: Baby fava beans and/or peas, podded and blanched for 2 minutes 1.If the scallops are still in the shell, open, removing and reserving the frills to make fish stock. If the corals are plump and bright orange, leave them attached to the main muscle. Otherwise add them to the frills for stock. Pat the scallops dry with paper towels and set aside.
2. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan over high heat, add a little olive oil, then throw in the chorizo and, if you like, a sprinkling of fennel seeds and a few bay leaves. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring all the while, as the chorizo releases its salty, spicy fat. 3. Move the chorizo to one side of the pan. Check that the pan is still really hot, then add the scallops. Leave for about 45 seconds to 1 minute, then carefully turn them over. After another scant minute, using a sharp shake of the pan – or a light stir with a spatula – toss the chorizo and scallops together with all that lovely, flavorsome fat. (This is the moment to add the optional fava beans and/or peas.) Cook for just another minute, tossing and shaking regularly. 4. Add a twist of pepper, a little bit of salt (the chorizo is already pretty salty), and a few drops of lemon juice, then divide the mixture among warmed plates and serve right away, with bread and a green salad – for which the oil from the pan, with a few more drops of lemon juice, will make a sublime dressing.
All London recipes reprinted with permission from The River Cottage Fish Book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Nick Fisher. Copyright © 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press.
“CAPTIVATING...ELEGANT AND TASTY” — Los Angeles Times
SPECIAL FEATURES: Deleted Scenes, Masters, Sushi Gallery, Commentary with Director David Gelb and Editor Brandon Driscoll-Luttringer, Theatrical Trailer
“A FOODIE’S DREAM NIGHT AT THE MOVIES. THE GENTLE SHAPING OF THE FISH AND SUSHI COULD LULL YOU INTO A TRANCE.” — TIME Magazine
“VIEWERS WILL BE TEMPTED TO HOP THE NEXT FLIGHT TO TOKYO” — New York Post
AND ENGROSSING” — The Oregonian
“CLEAN AND ELEGANT” — The Moveable Feast
AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY™ AND DVD JULY 24TH!
“DELECTABLE” — San Francisco Chronicle
JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI is the story of 85-year-old Jiro Ono, considered by many to be the world’s greatest sushi chef. He is the proprietor of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a 10-seat, sushi-only restaurant inauspiciously located in a Tokyo subway station. Despite its humble appearances, it is the first restaurant of its kind to be awarded a prestigious three-star Michelin Guide rating, and sushi lovers from around the globe make repeated pilgrimage, calling months in advance and shelling out top dollar for a coveted seat at Jiro’s sushi bar. JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI is a thoughtful and elegant meditation on work, family and the art of perfection, chronicling Jiro’s life as both an unparalleled success in the culinary world and as a loving yet complicated father.
© 2011 Sushi Movie, LLC.
www.sushimovie.com FOR MILD THEMATIC ELEMENTS AND BRIEF SMOKING
© 2012 Magnolia Home Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.
on your iPad.
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Houston’s Best Bartenders Explore the Traditions of Southern Cocktail Culture by Tyler Rudick • photography by Hilary Kline
OSITIONED AT THE CROSSROADS of three major regions — northern Mexico, the West and the Deep South — Texas is a state with a bit of an identity crisis. But while Austin and Dallas embrace
their Western cool and cities like San Antonio retain their strong Mexican roots, Houston often finds itself downplaying its Southern heritage for the sake of not complicating the Lone Star State’s proud cowboy image.
Luckily, as the local food movement continues to spread across the nation, Houston is starting to rediscover some of the long-overlooked traditions that link the city to the nearby beaches of the Gulf Coast and meandering bayous of neighboring Louisiana, whose borders lie a mere two hours to the east. Sure, there may be an annual Houston Rodeo, but one look at the landscape of hurricane-whipped palm trees and marshes clearly reveals that southeast Texas is better-suited for crawfish than cactus.
Houston mixed-drink wunderkind Bobby Heugel is hoping to delve even deeper into the regionâ€™s unique history with the second annual Summer of the South menu for his award-winning cocktail destination Anvil Bar & Refuge. With a collection of Dixieland-inspired concoctions ranging from classics like the Sazerac to new creations like The Brave (think tequila and bitters), the summertime Anvil menu is designed to explore Texasâ€™ Southern side, while attempting to shed light on a drinking history
(From left, across both pages) Anvil Bar & Refuge in Houston, Texas occupies a former Bridgestone-Firestone tire store built in the late 1950’s; The bar’s interior showcases the building’s original brick walls and industrial ductwork, along with a custom bar top made from weathered 12-gauge steel plating; The namesake anvil sits proudly on the bar.
often overshadowed by the Martinis and Manhattans of the North. “The South turns out to be one of the most challenging regions to learn about cocktails,” Heugel explains, noting the hours that he and his team of bartender-historians rummaged through vintage hotel menus and old cookbooks. With a strong temperance movement and a bleak history of Jim Crow-style liquor legislation, the South as a whole tended to stay quiet about the demon alcohol as Yankees published book after book of cocktail recipes, starting with Jerry Thomas’ monumental 1862 guide to “plain and fancy drinks.” “As a group, we could probably rattle off 100 drinks from the North off the top of our heads,” Heugel laughs. “If you asked for 20 good Southern cocktails, though, we’d need some more time.”
According to renowned drink historian Chris McMillian, the story of the cocktail stretches back more than two centuries to an 1806 newspaper article from Hudson, New York that defined the beloved barroom staple as any spirit mixed with water, sugar and bitters — which were known to most denizens of the early 19th century as medicinal cure-alls. It would take another two decades for the cocktail to really gain its foothold thanks to an essential ingredient we take for granted in our own times . . . ice. “The modern age of drinking as we know it largely begins with Frederic ‘The Ice Man’ Tudor,” explains McMillian, who operates the esteemed Bar UnCommon in New Orleans. “He’d bring a shipment down South from Boston and offer it to bars for free of charge for the first week. In places like New Orleans where it’s almost always hot, people ended up wanting cooled drinks all the time.”
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Bartender Chris Frankel prepares the Savannah Deluge, which he created to highlight the history of madeira in the South. Opposite Page (Clockwise from far left): Bartender Matt Tanner prepares the Fredericksberg Flip; Most of the syrups bitters and tinctures used at Anvil are made from scratch; Vintage glassware was “unearthed” at small stores in and around Houston; Citrus juices are squeezed fresh every day.
The Ice Man found his market and drinking would never be the same. As the biggest port in the South and second in the nation after New York, antebellum New Orleans proved the ideal test kitchen for the young cocktail as hordes of business speculators rushed to the Gulf Coast. “The city had this amazing variety of spirits coming down the Mississippi and through the port, plus all these fresh shipments of ice,” Heugel says. “You really can’t talk about the cocktail without talking about New Orleans.” McMillian explains that while wheelers and dealers filled hotel bars in the 1830s and 40s, the city’s hospitality industry was busy mixing popular iced drinks like the mellow and refreshing Sherry Cobbler. As the Big Easy continued to boom and new ingredients arrived from Europe and Latin America, bartenders started developing homegrown creations like the iconic Sazerac, which called for a healthy dose of bitters from the French Quarter apothecary of Antoine Peychaud. “In New Orleans, you get these anise flavors like pastis and absinthe along with all these spirits coming down from Kentucky and rum arriving from the Caribbean through the Gulf,” Heugel notes.
This year’s Summer of the South menu represents this fusion of ingredients with classics like the Seelbach, which mixes bourbon with Peychaud’s bitters and the citrusy island flavors of curaçao. Anvil bartenders follow the tradition with newly designed drinks such as the Bald Cypress Regatta, a blend of rum and absinthe with a dash of cane sugar. “With these summer cocktails,” Heugel says. “We’re hoping to uncover and put forth some of this lost history to find out how we got to where we are today.” Arguably the most iconic of Southern cocktails, the mint julep has become one of Heugel’s leading testaments to the historical value of the nation’s drinking traditions, particularly those in the South. “Today, when we talk about the mint julep, we think about how it’s served in this special cup with lots of mint on top and a huge mound of ice. Sure, it’s a wonderful way to make the drink but there’s all of this history that goes into it as well,” Heugel continues. “When the julep was at the height of its popularity in the mid 1800s, ice was actually more expensive than meat and was almost always a sign of wealth in the South. That’s why it was served in a silver cup with lots of ice. You can’t separate the recipe from the history.”
Although the cocktail continued to evolve through the 19th century with the Brandy Crusta (which became the Sidecar and Margarita) and fin-de-siècle faves like the Martini, Prohibition virtually stopped a century of drink-making dead in its tracks. But while the Noble Experiment shuttered barrooms across the nation, Heugel explains that Texans had the benefit of a quiet corner of cocktail history just across the Rio Grande. “The original Tequila Sunrise was really a Juarez cocktail for people who’d hop the border for some tequila with crème de cassis and grenadine in it,” he comments, adding that he made sure to include the drink on Anvil’s summer menu. “The Cadillac Bar in the part of Laredo that’s in Mexico was opened by owners who left Louisiana during Prohibition. They offered different drinks from New Orleans and marketed them as their own, one of which would be the Ramos Gin Fizz.” As the popularity of handcrafted drinks continues to spread across the county, Heugel notes that regional drink options have been sacrificed for the benefit of a larger nationwide interest in rediscovering quality spirits and mixed drinks. “We see more and more restaurants concentrating on the culinary cultures in their immediate vicinity, but the cocktail community has maintained more of a national focus as it tries to revitalize a classic American tradition. Our aim is that, even if cocktail bars are part of a national movement, they should still be unique to their region.”
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Anvil co-owner and head bartender Bobby Heugel shakes the Absinthe Suissesse, which is a classic New Orleans brunch cocktail. Opposite Page (From top): Manager and bartender Alba Huerta prepares the Jackson Julep, a date and cinnamon laced twist on the iconic mint julep; A mortar and pestle is used to grind whole spices for use in cocktails.
Absinthe Suissesse Recipe by Bobby Heugel Makes 1 cocktail 1 ½ oz. Kubler Absinthe ½ oz. orgeat ½ oz. crème de menthe 2 barspoons Turbinado syrup (see recipe below) 1 egg white ½ oz. heavy cream Nutmeg (for garnish) 1. Add all of the ingredients except the cream and the nutmeg to a cocktail shaker and shake hard until the egg is emulsified. Add the cream and shake hard again until completely emulsified. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into large wine glass or large cocktail glass. Grate nutmeg on top for garnish.
Fredericksberg Flip Recipe by Matt Tanner
Makes 1 cocktail
Makes about 2 cups 2 cups Turbinado sugar 1 cup water 1. Combine the ingredients in a small sauce pan and stir over low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Let cool and pour into sterilized bottle. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
¾ oz. Buffalo Trace Bourbon ¾ oz. Becherovka Herbal Liqueur ½ oz. Turbinado syrup (see recipe to the right) ½ oz. lemon juice 1 barspoon cacao-sarsaparilla bitters (see recipe below) 3 oz. hefeweizen beer 1 whole egg Nutmeg (for garnish) 1. Pour all of the ingredients except for the nutmeg into a cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake hard for a very long time. Strain the drink into a skinny Collins glass and garnish with fresh grated nutmeg.
Cacao-Sarsaparilla Bitters Makes 750 mL 1 750 mL bottle Rittenhouse 100 proof Rye 1 ½ lbs. cacao nibs 4 oz. sarsaparilla root 1. Add the rye and the cacao nibs to a large, sterilized, glass container, saving the Rittenhouse bottle. Cover container with lid (or plastic wrap). Let sit for two weeks at room temperature. Strain out the cacao nibs and add in the sarsaparilla root. Recover the container and let sit for one more day. Pour the mixture through cheesecloth set over a fine mesh strainer into a pitcher and then funnel back into the original Rittenhouse bottle. These bitters will last indefinitely, but they are best used within one year.
Jackson Julep Adapted from recipe by Alba Huerta Makes 1 cocktail 8-10 mint leaves, plus more for garnish 1 barspoon cinnamon-date syrup (see recipe below) 1 oz. Kina L’Avion D’or ½ oz. Daron Calvados ½ oz. Laird’s 100 proof Apple Brandy Dash Angostura Bitters 1. Muddle the mint and syrup in the bottom of your serving glass (or if you have one, a silver julep cup). Leave muddler in the glass and pour the Kina, calvados and apple brandy liquor over to rinse. Stir, add the bitters and crushed ice, then stir 20 times. Top with more crushed ice, then garnish with more mint and powdered sugar.
Cinnamon-Date Syrup Makes about 2 cups 6 cinnamon sticks 3 cups water ¼ cup Turbinado sugar 10 Medjool dates, pitted 1. Place cinnamon sticks in dry sauté pan over medium heat. Toast cinnamon, shaking pan repeatedly, for 3-4 minutes. Add water, sugar, and the toasted cinnamon to a sauce pan set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks from the pan and bring the water back to a boil. 2. While the cinnamon water is heating, add the dates to a heatproof bowl. Carefully pour the boiling water over the dates. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave them to steep for one hour. Pour the date mixture through cheesecloth set over a fine mesh strainer into another bowl. Squeeze the cheesecloth to extract all of the liquid. Store in a sealed, sterilized container in the refrigerator.
Savannah Deluge Recipe by Chris Frankel Makes 1 cocktail 1 oz. Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac 1 oz. Blandy's 5 Year Old Sercial Madeira ½ oz. Root Liqueur 2 Barspoons maple syrup 2 Dashes Peychauds Bitters Star anise and grapefruit (for garnish) 1. Add all of the ingredients to a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir until well chilled and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a whole star anise and a piece of grapefruit zest.
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The Next Generation of Inupiat Eskimos Carry Out the Centuries-Old Tradition of the Whale Hunt photography by Jonathan Harris
jul.aug 2012 | spensermag.com
THE INUPIAT ESKIMOS HAVE HUNTED Bowhead whales in Arctic waters for more than 2,000 years. To this day, the hunt remains a communal activity that supplies much-needed, nutrient-rich protein for the 6,674 Native residents of 11 small whaling villages spread across the 89,000 square miles of Arctic wilderness that encompass Alaska’s North Slope Borough. Defined by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) as a subsistence activity, the annual hunt provides the Inupiat villagers not only with a primary source of food but a sense of cultural identity and an historical connection to the generations that came before. Artist and photographer Jonathan Harris spent nine days living with the Patkotaks, a family of Inupiat Eskimos in Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost settlement in the United States. The first of Harris’ several days were spent in Barrow, exploring the village, collecting gear, and helping the Patkotak whaling crew to prepare for the hunt. “We then traveled by snowmobile out onto the frozen Arctic Ocean, where we camped three miles from shore on thick pack ice, pitching our tents about ten feet from the open water,” Harris recalls. “Boats were readied, harpoons prepared, whaling guns loaded, white tunics donned, a snow fence constructed, and then we sat silently in the -22°F air, in constant daylight, waiting for whales to appear.”
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Under international law, as set forth by the coalition of nations that form the IWC, no person may sell or offer for sale whale products from whales taken in the hunt except for authentic articles of Native handicrafts. Since everyday food items must be flown into this remote part of the world from thousands of miles away (there are no roads to Barrow), a gallon of milk can reach $13, boneless chicken breasts wouldn’t be out of place at $20 per pound, and it could cost almost $15 for a simple bag of carrots. By contrast, Bowhead whale meat, which is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and protein, is handed out to the members of the local community in a hierarchy based on centuries-old traditions. The successful whaling captain is given the prime parts of the whale, which he then freely distributes throughout the community, often at traditional harvest festivals. Other portions are set aside for whaling crews that actively participate in the butchering. Nothing is wasted. The Bowhead whale annual catch quotas are set by the IWC and are based on the subsistence needs of the aboriginal Inupiat population, as well as scientific analysis from the IWC that ensures the hunts remain sustainable given Bowhead population levels. The latest IWC estimate of the Bowhead population was set in 2004 at 12,631 and is estimated to be growing at a rate 3.5% per year. A report by the University of
Alaska Fairbanks Marine Advisory Program showed that 38 whales were landed by Inupiat whalers on the North Slope in 2011. Only native licensed whaling captains or crew under the control of those captains may engage in whaling, and according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the US agency that manages international whaling activities, they can not receive any money for participating in the hunt. Each umiak, the traditional hunting boat made from seal skins that have been stretched over wooden frames, holds a captain and harpooner in addition to other hunters. Set to sea on the vast Arctic waters, the small wooden boats are testament to an earlier time. Every year, as the ocean thaws, the polar ice cap breaks away from the mainland, often in a single massive chunk, creating a canal of open water called the "lead". It is through this lead that Bowhead whales migrate north to the Arctic Circle, where they spend summers, surfacing for air every 30 to 45 minutes en route.
hauled up onto the ice using a block and tackle system that resembles a giant tug of war between man and sea, and summarily butchered, the meat and blubber then distributed to the Barrow community.” Harris documented his entire experience with a graphic sequence of 3,214 photographs, which were taken at five-minute intervals, even while sleeping using a chronometer, establishing a constant “photographic heartbeat”. In moments of high adrenaline, Harris’ photographic heartbeat quickens to a maximum rate of 37 pictures, all taken in the first five minutes after the first whale had been landed, mimicking the changing pace of his own heartbeat at the time. The photographs that appear on the following pages represent a few of the highlights of Harris’ work. The intention in publishing this photo essay is to introduce you to one of the oldest food stories in the history of the Americas. These images represent, as Harris says succinctly, “an epic personal experience from the physical world” that has been “translated to the Internet, so that many people can share it.” To see the full chronology of Harris’ images, a visual work of human storytelling, visit http://thewhalehunt.org.
“We saw hundreds of whales on the horizon, but most were too far away to attack,” Harris recalls of his time with the whalers. “Finally, on the fourth day, two whales − each 36 feet long and weighing around 40 tons − were harpooned,
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(From left): Captain Simeon Patkotak; Co-Captain Crawford Patkotak.
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b.y.o.b. - honey & jam
Honey & Jam, the beautiful food blog authored by 21-year old Hannah Queen, and Spenser have similar origins. We and Hannah both knew that we weren’t going to start our respective publications until we had a name we loved. As Hannah tells the story, back in October of 2008, she spent about a month going back and forth on this name or that. Late one night in November, “Honey & Jam” popped into her head. She was drinking tea, with honey, and eating toast, with jam. It just worked. Hannah lives in northern Georgia, a mountainous region known for its scenic beauty. She is an avid self-taught baker who likes to focus on simple cooking with fresh ingredients. When she isn’t baking, she works as a freelance photographer and helps out her mom who is a caterer. She passes the time with good music - bluegrass and big band - and trips to the farmers market. We consider ourselves lucky to have had the chance to talk to Hannah about her blog and her love for baking.
SPENSER MAGAZINE: We have to ask. You are only 21, but you have been working on Honey & Jam since you were a teenager, how did you get so good at baking and photography so quickly? HANNAH QUEEN: I didn’t grow up in the kitchen at all. My parents were always really busy and I didn’t have grandparents who taught me. When I was 17, I picked up a cupcake cookbook and decided to teach myself how to bake. It took off from there. I started the blog as a creative outlet and, without much of a plan, it turn into something focused on baking and photography. SM: In one of your very first baking posts, involving Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for Swedish Visiting Cake, you casually switched out the type of pan called for in the recipe. What would you say to most folks who are too intimidated to make baking substitutions? HQ: Baking is very scientific, but people should understand that it is also very adaptable. If you go into it thinking ‘you need follow the bones of the recipe, but some things can be switched around’ you will have a much better time in the kitchen. SM: Do you have any particular ingredients that you love to bake with; that you always keep in your pantry? HQ: I love incorporate tea and I always keep white whole wheat flour on hand. I love to bake with whole wheat, but it’s not the best because it tends to create a heavier baked good. With white whole wheat, you get the whole grain benefit but it’s definitely better for baking. I always have chocolate chips, because I always want to be able to make chocolate chip cookies. Beyond that, I like to use whole vanilla bean rather than extract and whole nutmeg rather than pre-ground nutmeg. Once you’ve used whole vanilla and whole nutmeg, you realize the difference they can make. SM: Being from Georgia, you are used to drinking sweet tea, but many people outside of the South think of tea as a savory ingredient. Do you have any tricks for baking with it and for dealing with the tannins and bitterness? HQ: For me, culturally, it’s a sweet ingredient. I think that’s why the idea of incorporating it into baked goods was kind of intuitive. This is something I grew up drinking sweet so it’s going to work well in cake. When you are adding it to baked goods, you need it to be strong. But, it can go kind of bitter. If you add a pinch of baking soda, it takes away that bitterness. I think that is just one of those things I have always known growing up in a Southern household. SM: Where do you source your ingredients? Do you find it hard to source some things living where you do? HQ: I live in a really rural area about two hours north of Atlanta, right at the start of the Appalachian Mountains. It definitely has a farming history that is just starting to come back. There is a great apple orchard here that also sells peaches and blueberries and all sorts of things. I end up sourcing a lot of my produce through them. Until one year ago, I had to mail order for things like specialty flours and whole vanilla bean. Just recently, however, our local gro-
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cery store started carrying many of the things I need. I do still end up taking trips to Atlanta just to get ingredients. SM: You said you taught yourself how to bake. Your parents weren’t big cooks when you were younger? HQ: They have become great cooks, my mom especially, in the last five years. She has even started catering with a friend of hers. She didn’t grow up cooking and baking so we have kind of learned to cook and bake together. It has been a cool experience. The biggest thing we have learned together, do not be afraid in the kitchen. With baking, you just have to go for it, because it can be so scary. Just don’t be afraid. Follow recipes to start with and, as you get more confident, start creating your own recipes. It is not as hard as it sounds. You will have complete failures but that is ok. Those make for the good stories.
Black Tea and Blackberry Sorbet Recipe by Hannah Queen Makes about 1 quart 2 cups water 2 black tea bags 1 cup sugar 3 cups fresh blackberries 1 tbs. vodka 2 tbs. lemon juice 1. Bring water to a rolling boil. Remove from heat, add tea bags and allow to steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags, add sugar and heat until the sugar dissolves. Allow to cool completely. Puree blackberries in a food processor, then push through mesh sieve to remove seeds. Add vodka and lemon juice. Add to tea, then pour back through sieve. Process the mixture in an ice cream maker, according to manufacturers instructions.
s "Always look ahead and above you. Always strive to improve your craft." - Yoshikazu Ono, Jiro Dreams of Sushi