Recipes for the Perfect Cape Cod Party

From cocktails and small bites to main courses and baked goods, the new book “A Little Taste of Cape Cod” features more than 30 classic and traditional recipes—some with new twists—that will surprise and delight your summer guests.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble

Serves 8

With its elephant-ear leaves and gem-red stalks, rhubarb is a welcome and often whimsical sight, and grows easily and prolifically in many Cape Cod gardens. It can be too tart on its own, but famously paired with its best friend, the strawberry, rhubarb gets tamed enough to shine. In this crumble, a double dose of almond and lots of cinnamon takes it over the top.

These recipes have been excerpted from A Little Taste of Cape Cod: Recipes for Classic Dishes, by Annie B. Copps,
published by Bluestreak, $12.95. Recipes reprinted with permission.

Ingredients:

2 pounds rhubarb stalks (about 10),
ends trimmed and stringy bits removed,
cut crosswise into slices about 1/2 inch thick
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 pound strawberries, hulled and cut into slices about 1/2 inch thick
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup slivered almonds
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a medium bowl, combine the rhubarb with 1/2 cup of the dark brown sugar; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine the strawberries with the remaining 1/2 cup dark brown sugar; set aside.

3. After about 10 minutes, drain and discard any rhubarb juice that accumulated in the bowl and add the rhubarb to the strawberries. Add the cornstarch, lemon juice, and almond extract to the fruit and stir gently until thoroughly mixed. Transfer the fruit mixture to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and spread in an even layer.

4. In another bowl, combine the butter, light brown sugar, flour, oats, almonds, cinnamon, and salt and toss, using your fingers or a pastry cutter, until large (2-inch) clumps of dough form. Evenly distribute the clumps of dough on top of the fruit mixture. Bake until the topping is golden brown and the juices are bubbling, about 45 minutes. Let rest for 15 minutes, then cut into squares and serve.


Stuffed Quahogs

Serves 2 to 4

Buttery Ritz crackers are traditional in this filling and add a rich crunch that is hard to beat, but feel free to substitute panko bread crumbs or other cracker crumbs, if you prefer. To keep the clams upright while baking, place each on a nest of salt.

Ingredients:

12 large Quahog clams,
scrubbed and rinsed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon, melted
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup seeded and finely chopped green or red bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
12 Ritz crackers, finely crushed (about 1/2 cup)
1 cup kosher salt or sea salt
Paprika for garnish

1. Put the clams in a large stock pot and add enough water to cover by about two inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cover and cook until the clams are wide open, 6 to 10 minutes. Remove the clams from the pot and let cool. Discard any clams that did not open.

2. When cool enough to handle, remove the clam meat, transfer to a cutting board and mince finely. Set aside on a plate. (If not serving within an hour, cover and refrigerate.) Break apart the clamshells at their hinges; rinse and dry. Choose 12 of the cleanest, best-looking shells and set aside. Discard the remaining shells. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

3. In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt the four tablespoons of butter. Add the onion, celery and bell pepper and cook, stirring gently, until softened and fragrant, about five minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley, Parmesan cheese, ground black pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Add 1/4 cup of the cracker crumbs and mix well. Pour off any clam liquid that accumulated on the plate and reserve. Add the minced clams to the vegetable mixture. If it seems dry, add the reserved clam liquid as needed. Divide the filling among the 12 shells and pack firmly. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining cracker crumbs and melted butter and sprinkle over the filling.

4. In another small bowl, combine the salt and, working in a teaspoon or two at a time, add just enough water to create a sandy paste. On a rimmed baking sheet, make 12 salt “nests” and place each clam on top of a nest. Bake until the crumbs on top are crunchy and deep brown in color, 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with paprika and serve hot.


Summer Wind

Serves 6

This special drink is summer in a glass—you just might hear Frank Sinatra’s crooning voice in your head while you sip. Beach roses (Rosa rugosa) in various hues of pink and white grow wild all over Cape Cod. The petals are edible and can be used in a great range of recipes. If you are picking petals, be sure they are not on private property and that they have not been treated with chemicals.

Ingredients:

About 40 beach rose petals brushed clean
12 ounces blueberry-flavored
vodka (try Triple Eight from
neighboring Nantucket)
10 ounces lemonade
Ice
1/2 pint blueberries, for garnish
About 20 fresh mint leaves, for garnish

1. In a large pitcher, using a muddler or wooden spoon, muddle the rose petals with a splash of vodka, gently mashing to release the essential oils and subtle aroma in the petals. Add the remaining vodka and the lemonade. Stir well, then taste and adjust the flavors.

2. Pour into six ice-filled tall glasses. Garnish with the blueberries and mint leaves and serve right away.

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