A Summer of Fresh Flavors
Every American region celebrates summer with its own culinary stamp. The South pours out fresh peach ice cream and catfish fried in crunchy cornmeal batter. Texans mop up with slow-cooked, deep seasoned barbecue. Californians entertain outdoors with avocados, baby greens, goat cheeses and sun dried tomatoes. Nantucket... Nantucket cooks scallops—and everything fresh under the tiny island's sun.
I've never been to Nantucket Island, some twenty-six miles off Cape Cod, but The Nantucket Table, with its rich photographs and invigorating recipes has taken me there vicariously. I don't believe there are any poor people or ugly people on Nantucket—there rarely are in such resort communities. It's also true that in places where residents can easily live off the land, people tend to simply look healthy and beautiful. Nantucket's bounty spills over with seafood and shellfish, cranberries and blueberries, mesclun lettuces, fresh herbs, lamb and the most perfect little vegetables known to man (of course!). The author, Susan Simon explains how the loamy soil grows flawless root vegetables:
"The near absence of clay allows the formation of perfectly straight carrots, globelike radishes, and potatoes that belong in a museum. All things being equal—an uninterrupted growing season, no hurricane-sheared tops, the successful thwarting of underground vermin, and a temperate climate from planting to harvest—the farmer can boast bumper crops of everything that has been seeded."
A professional caterer, Simons makes good use of the island's culinary products. Her recipes are simple, quick and easy to prepare, yet retain the elegance that comes only when such sublime ingredients are treated with respect. Her recipes cast one dominant flavor—a zucchini, beef fillet or monkfish—in the starring role, then brings in a supporting cast of secondary flavors—fresh herbs, fresh vegetables and judiciously restrained spices. Why should anyone want to over-direct the unadulterated talents of Mother Nature—especially in summer?
So close your eyes, relax in a white wooden chair, smell the sea salt and work up an appetite by being lazy. A Nantucket Island summer is just a dream—and a recipe—away.
The Nantucket Table
By Susan Simon
Photographs by Tom Eckerle
ISBN: 0-81 18-1472-6, 1998, $29.95 hardcover
168 pages, illustrated with color photographs throughout
Information provided by the publisher
Copyright © 1998—the electronic Gourmet Guide, Inc. All rights reserved.
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