Disclosure: I received a copy of The Jersey Shore Cookbook from Quirk Books to review.
As always, all opinions expressed are my own.
As a Jersey Girl born and raised, there are few summer traditions I love more than heading “down the shore.” This in mind, you can imagine my excitement when I received a copy of Deborah Smith’s new book, The Jersey Shore Cookbook: Fresh Summer Flavors from the Boardwalk and Beyond (Quirk Books, 2016), to review. Smith, founder and executive editor of the online food magazine, JerseyBites.com (to which I am a contributor), has compiled a collection of 50 recipes from some of our state’s best shore restaurants, bakeries, and chefs. As I turned to the recipe for Lobster Mac and Cheese from Labrador Lounge in Normandy Beach, there was no question as to what I’d be making first from the book. When dreaming of a Jersey summer, who can resist a good Lobster Mac?
Sitting with Smith’s cookbook in my “fuzzy socks” on the chilly afternoon of its arrival, its recipes and stories brought me right back to the bustling shore; the rolling waves breaking over my toes, the crisp salt air tousling my hair, and of course, the delicious fresh seafood. After spending a day on the beach, nothing beats a shore meal! A lifelong Jersey Shore resident, Smith’s passion for the book and the community it encapsulates is evident. With backstories accompanying each of the featured dishes and restaurants, the cookbook is as much a tour of the Jersey Shore dining scene as it is a collection of recipes. From breakfast to dessert, The Jersey Shore Cookbook celebrates the best of the region’s traditions and seasonal ingredients. Think: “Brunchwiches” with Pork Roll (quintessential Jersey breakfast fare), Charred Jersey Tomato Salad with Sweet Corn, Seared Jersey Scallops, and Peach Panna Cotta. Hungry yet?
When I find Lobster Mac and Cheese on a menu, particularly in shore eateries, I lose all semblance of willpower. A well-executed Lobster Mac is some of the best of summer comfort food. Labrador Lounge’s recipe marries a rich, buttery four-cheese sauce (Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Asiago, and Swiss) with bright chives, plenty of fresh, sweet lobster meat, and a toasted breadcrumb topping. The nutty, briny, buttery aromas coming from my kitchen as the dish baked were nothing short of heavenly. I don’t know how my taste testers and I found the strength to keep our forks out of the finished dish during the photo shoot! It’s a wonderful dish for luxurious, yet relaxed summer entertaining.
The Jersey Shore Cookbook will be released on April 12, 2016, and is available for pre-order. I know I’ll be cooking from the book all summer long and toting it with me to my favorite local farmer’s markets to shop for ingredients. Thanks, Deborah, for a wonderful addition to our cookbook libraries that will enable all of us to bring the spirit and flavors of the beautiful Jersey Shore into our kitchens.