Island Cooking Nantucket Style

We’re on a Boat!

by Leah Mojer

I love watching the harbor fill up, slowly over weeks and weeks. It starts with a handful of barely noticeable sailboats and motor boats, then it seems like overnight that the harbor explodes with hundreds of white masts and hulls. Nantucket on the water is one its greatest treats. Sailing on the Endeavor or hopping a ride to Topper’s on the Wauwinet Lady, spending the day on a charter fishing boat, looking for seals or whales on Shearwater, renting a kayak, or a stand up paddleboard cruise in the harbor. The possibilities for experiencing Nantucket’s open waters are endless! If you find yourself with an opportunity to go for an over sea adventure, planning ahead for lunch or dinner on the water is essential. Here are some tips and tricks to make your boating picnic a successful one!

Unless you are lucky enough to have your boat right off the docks of Straight Wharf, the weight of your picnic is something to consider, since you will most likely be lugging it down, around, aboard, and back. Chinese take out containers are great for picnics since they are so light and stackable. Glass bottles and glassware are usually a no-no on board, so make sure to take wine or beer in collapsable cartons or cans. Or pick up some shatterproof Go Vino glasses from Epernay at 1 North Beach Street.

‘Hoppin’ John Crab Salad

I love this salad for its bright veggies, healthy protein, legumes and serious hunger stomping ability. Bonus: it’s at its best just a few minutes at room temp out of the cooler.

  • 1-1/2 C cooked long grain and wild rice mix
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 C chopped red onion
  • 1/2 C finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 pound fresh crabmeat, picked over for cartilage and shell fragments
  • 2 T chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 C fresh lemon juice
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, to taste. I like a little more than most.
  • Start with a Tablespoon and go from there
  • 1 dash hot pepper sauce, or to taste
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 1/4 t black pepper
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  1. Combine all ingredients and carefully toss to combine. Serve with fresh tomato slices. So easy. So refreshing!

Ratatouille Whole Loaf Picnic Sandwich

I love big sandwiches for a crowd. They are festive, eye catching and delicious since they are made ahead of time and have plenty of time to marinate. Depending on your boat set up, you will either be able to wait to cut the sandwich or have to do it ahead of time. Either way is fine, although I do find tin foil works best for holding a sandwich together for longer periods of time.

  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
  • Coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup pitted mixed olives, such as Kalamata and Cerignola
  • 2 pepperoncini, stemmed
  • 1/2 C fresh parsley
  • 1/4 C mayonnaise
  • 1/4 C olive oil, plus more for grilling
  • 4 small tomatoes (1 pound), sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise 1/4-inch-thick
  • 1 jar (12 ounces) roasted red peppers, patted dry
  • 1 (8-inch) round loaf rustic bread, split horizontally and hollowed out
  1. In a colander, toss eggplant with 3/4 teaspoon salt. Let stand 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse olives, pepperoncini, and parsley until very finely chopped. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in mayonnaise.
  2. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium. Clean and lightly oil hot grill. Toss eggplant, tomatoes, and zucchini with oil and season with salt. Grill, turning frequently, until tender and slightly charred, about 4 minutes for tomatoes and about 7 minutes each for eggplant and zucchini.
  3. Spread bread with olive mixture. Assemble sandwich with peppers, eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes. Serve immediately or wrap in tin foil and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

Green Curry & Coconut Soba Noodles

This is a fun, easy, not to mention healthy (dare i say vegan?) dish that comes together literally in minutes, for those last minute “sunset sails”

  • 1 (8 ounce) package soba noodles
  • 2/3 C almond butter
  • 3 T green curry paste
  • 1 C coconut milk, full fat please
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or regular soy sauce
  • 1 T Chili Oil (sesame based)
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint or basil (or both), chiffonade
  • 1/4 cup toasted pepitas
  1. Boil soba noodles in a large sauce pot until al dente, 3 minutes.
  2. Drain noodles in a colander and rinse in under cold water. Drain.
  3. In a small sauce pot over low heat, whisk together the almond butter, chili oil, green curry paste, coconut milk, and tamari just until combined.
  4. Transfer noodles to a bowl and toss with sauce, chopped mint and pepitas.
  5. Pack it up, and hurry for the sunset!

Orange Yogurt Cake

This recipe gets its moisture from whole milk yogurt, which virtually eliminates the need for whipped cream or frosting on top (ahem, saving you one less thing to carry). The orange zest and juice provide a sweet, tart palate cleansing effect; just perfect when you are floating blissfully far way from your toothbrush.

  • Unsalted butter, softened, for pan
  • 1 C all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 C plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 C plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1/4 C vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest, plus 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 t pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large oranges (1 zested into thin strips, both segmented) optional
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan.
  2. Stir flour, 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, the baking powder, baking soda, salt, yogurt, oil, orange zest and juice, egg, and vanilla in a bowl.
  3. Pour into pan.
  4. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
  5. Pack your cake up in foil.

Optional Garnish, if you’re feeling fancy…

Place zest strips in a bowl. Stir in segments and remaining tablespoon sugar. Pack up with your cake. When ready to serve, garnish cake with some segments; serve with the rest. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Articles by Date from 2012