By Susan Simon
Photographs by Tom Eckerle
"Use this book, smell the rugosa roses, feel the salt spray, sense the Island history, and think about the brave souls who fearlessly forged a life that would inspire future generations. Then you can go to the nearest farm stand, buy some eggplant, tomatoes, corn, and basil, and go home and cook a fast, fresh, and tasty meal to share with family and friends on your own Nantucket table."
—Susan Simon from the introduction to The Nantucket Table
Nantucket Island, twenty-six miles out to sea off Cape Cod, is a world-class resort town that plays host to more than one million visitors each year. Cook and caterer Susan Simon has called Nantucket her summer home since she was a teenager. In The Nantucket Table (Chronicle Books; June 1, 1998; $29.95), Simon pays tribute to her love of good food and her passion for this beautiful island in a volume of recipes that celebrates the freshness of Nantucket summers. Stunningly illustrated with evocative photos by award-winning photographer Tom Eckerle, The Nantucket Table captures the beauty and simplicity of the sweetest, laziest season on the island.
Susan Simon introduces the reader to Nantucket through its rich history. Originally a whaling center, in the last fifty years Nantucket became famous for its much-prized bay scallops. Farming and shepherding also flourished on the rustic island's fertile lands. A sleepy vacation spot at the turn of the century, Nantucket has evolved into a major resort destination. Along with her mother and sister, Simon first arrived in Nantucket in 1960, and it was love at first sight. From weekend visitor to full-time resident, Simon always returns to Nantucket, where she continues to live part of each year.
The Nantucket Table celebrates the joys of the summer table on this bucolic island. Organized by category, Simon's recipes begin with appetizers: Radish and Arugula Sandwiches, Grilled Curried Tuna en Brochette with Mango Mayonnaise, and Smoked Bluefish Pate are some of the simple yet unusual little bites to begin a meal. A first course might include West Creek Cafe Roasted Corn Soup or Bay Scallops and Tomatoes with Pasta Shells. Simon's main course offerings include such celebrated local fare as Summertime Codfish Cakes and Nantucket Baked Bluefish. And there are plenty of recipes for grilled delicacies.
Choose from country-style pork ribs, chicken (to be accompanied by her sister Laura Simon's Best Nantucket Barbecue Sauce), East-East-East Grilled Stripped Bass, Grilled Lemon-Marinated Tuna with Cherry Tomato Splat, an unusual Grilled Lemon Meat Loaf; Grilled Fillet of Beef with Spicy Summer Salsa and Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Yogurt-Mint Sauce. Colorful side dishes and salads such as Sicilian Rice Salad, Lentils and Spinach with Cumin-Onion Vinaigrette, and Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Corn, and Red Peppers are bursting with summer flavors. Desserts and pastries such as Gingery Lime-Blueberry Pie and Main Street Cobbles Cranberry-Apple Cobbler show off the luscious local produce, and Puccini's Favorite Chocolate Tart, a specialty from Lucca, Italy (Puccini's birthplace) could easily become the chocoholic's next favorite addiction. Simon's final chapter features drinks to accompany her meals such as Tom Eckerle's Mintiest Mint Julep, Barley Water Lemonade, and Spicy Cranberry Juice. There is even a section on salad dressings, sauces, and condiments (such as Cranberry-Mango Chutney).
Each chapter features a sidebar story from Susan Simon on a historical or culinary subject indigenous to Nantucket. Readers learn everything from why the island's soil produces "perfectly straight carrots, globe-like radishes, and potatoes that belong in a museum," and about the Portuguese settling of the island, to the return of the striped bass and her tales of days spent as a professional scalloper. Tom Eckerle's seventy-five color photographs of Nantucket architecture, beaches and docksides, lighthouses, and picnic tables and outdoor dining areas offer a splendid visual counterpoint to the flavorful, unfussy foods that are as delicious as they are spectacular looking.
The Nantucket Table inspires readers to create their own bit of this bountiful island even if they are thousands of miles away.
About The Author
Susan Simon's life long love affair with Nantucket began when she was a teenager and continues to this day. She's has summered there, worked as a scalloper, painter, and cook on the island, and is now a part-time resident, visiting as often as she can. Ms. Simon runs a New York based catering firm. This is her second book.
About The Photographer
Tom Eckerle's photographs have appeared in many major publications including The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Food & Wine, House Beautiful, Victoria, Gourmet, and Vogue Entertaining. He lives in New York City.
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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