If you’re a Connecticut native like me who has also spent a lot of time in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, chances are that you have a mental check list of all your favorite roadside seafood spots along the coast during the summer months. One of my favorite places comes from my college days in Bristol, Rhode Island. Situated between Bristol and Newport is Middletown, where a simple family business called Anthony’s Seafood churns out fresh dishes all day. This does not go unnoticed in Yankee Magazine writer Mike Urban‘s The New England Seafood Markets Cookbook: Recipes from the Best Lobster Rounds, Clam Shacks, and Fishmongers (The Countrymen Press, May 24, 2016).
One of the most unique things about Rhode Island is the amazing influence that the Portuguese population has on local eateries. I’m talking East Providence bakeries with sweet breads still warm from the oven. Luckily, this Portuguese influence also trickles down into Anthony’s famous Portuguese Fish Chowder, loaded with shrimp, scallops and chorizo, and can also be found in their spicy stuffed quahogs, know to locals as “stuffies.”
Just in case your mouth isn’t quite watering yet, Urban also released the second edition of travel food guide Lobster Shacks: A Road-Trip Guide to New England’s Best Lobster Joints (The Countryman Press, May 24, 2016), which originally hit shelves in 2012. This delicious compendium includes a “Lobster Lexicon” and the best places for “dining in the rough.” This means places without the creature comforts of fancier restaurants where you can relax and dig into a buttery lobster without worrying about making a mess. You know, the places where you go in a bathing suit and sandals, order at a window and wait for your number to be called. Chances are you’ll sit outside under an umbrella at a picnic table and your cutlery and dishes are of the disposable kind.
So now’s the time to get in your car, find your next favorite seafood shanty, put on your lobster bib and get crackin’!
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of my favorite dishes and one of my favorite childhood haunts, The Chatham Pier Fish Market in Chatham, Cape Cod, which is featured in Urban’s The New England Seafood Markets Cookbook. I actually prefer crab over lobster and these crab cakes are killer, so enjoy the recipe below:
Chatham Pier Crab Cakes
Chatham Pier Fish Market, Chatham, Massachusetts
6 lbs. crabmeat
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1⁄2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
1 cup diced onion
1⁄2 cup diced celery
1⁄4 cup diced red bell pepper
1⁄4 cup diced green bell pepper
1 teaspoon diced fresh garlic
1⁄4 cup dry parsley flakes
3 cups panko or breadcrumbs
11⁄2 cups water
3 cups dried panko
4 tablespoons (1⁄2 stick) salted butter
These crab cakes from Chatham Pier are a bit more exotic than most, with an egg wash, Dijon mustard, diced bell pepper, and parsley flakes. And they’re chock full of tasty crabmeat, the key ingredient for any good crab cake recipe.
Mix all of the ingredients, except the eggs, water, panko, and butter in a large mixing bowl, adding the crabmeat last, to make sure the crabmeat stays intact. Using your clean hands, form the mixture into 15 flat, round cakes about 3 inches in diameter and 3⁄4 inch thick. Set aside.
Make an egg wash by combining the eggs and water in a shallow dish, and whisking thoroughly. Dip the formed cakes gently into the egg wash, then coat each one on all sides with panko or breadcrumbs. Let the cakes stand and firm up in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
Melt the butter in a large skillet, and sauté the cakes in batches on both sides until a golden amber color is achieved, about
3 minutes per side. Serve warm. Makes 15 cakes.