Island Cooking Nantucket Entertaining

Family Cookout Recipes Old & New

• by Leah Mojer, Cheese & Wine Manager, Bartlett’s Farm

Summertime on Nantucket has many delights. For me, family cookouts are the highlight. I am beyond lucky to have family living on-island, their roots going back many, many generations. Thirteen I believe! In addition to throwing the “Nantucket Native” trump card around, food, culture, and cooking is second nature for my family here. Our love language. Weddings, funerals, new babies, new jobs. Food is how we express our love, gratitude, comfort and joy for one another.

Sometimes, the occasion is simply because it’s gorgeous outside or we have some extra wood to burn in the fire pit, but the procession of events is alway the same. The grill gets fired up, stuffed to the gills with burgers, vegetables, and grilled bread. The deck table, dressed in one of my stepmother’s beautiful paisley tablecloths becomes the centerpiece for the array of delights from the grill. The antique soapstone potting sink is the staging for the bar: its wells filled to the brim with craft bottles of ice cold beer and wine. Next come the cousins, siblings, neighbors, and coworkers, all family once they step into the backyard. All those family recipes, some old and some newly born out of inspiration from a beautiful tomato, a glistening filet of fresh striper, or fresh ear of native corn come to life outside on the back deck, under the giant umbrella sparkling with Christmas lights. Pure heaven.

Maplebrook Ricotta with Garlic Herb Oil

We started making this appetizer out of necessity when the herbs were getting a bit too prolific. We’ve never looked back.

  • 1 container Maplebrook Ricotta

Garlic Herb Oil

  • Assorted fresh herbs, minced; I like lemon thyme, basil, and chives but go wild. whatever you have!
  • 1-2 cloves Garlic, shaved
  • 1-2 swirls of your best Olive Oil
  • 1 generous pinch of your best Salt
  • 1-3 turns of fresh cracked Pepper
  1. Combine ingredients in a mason jar. Shake until incorporated. Use on everything. Or in this case, put ricotta into a pretty bowl, and spoon over herb oil and finish with additional salt and pepper. Serve with crudite, crackers or of course, grilled bread!

MJ’s Grilled Bluefish

I had this over two summers ago and I am still dreaming about it. Fresh (only a few hours old) bluefish fillets will definitely work best. Don’t skip the gin shot either, I think that must be the secret ingredient.

  • 2 fresh-caught Bluefish Fillets
  • 1 Large Vidalia Onion, sliced into rounds
  • 2 medium-size Bartlett’s Tomatoes, chopped
  • Fresh Herbs (thyme, marjoram, rosemary, chives, parsely) chopped
  • 1/2 C Mayonnaise
  • 1 shot Local Gin (888 Gale Force)
  • Kosher Salt and fresh Pepper
  1. Catch and filet a bluefish. Preheat grill to medium-high. On a long, large double thick sheet of tin foil drizzled with olive oil, place bluefish fillets skin side down. Slather each fillet with mayo and liberally season with salt and pepper. Layer onion rounds over each fillet, then tomatoes and herbs. Pour gin shot over and season with additional salt and pepper. Fold tin foil over to make a nice neat well-sealed packet.
  2. Place the foil packet on the grill and let cook for 20 minutes. Remove from grill and let sit 10 minutes. When ready, CAREFULLY open foil to let steam escape. Oven mitts are a good idea for this. Serve with grilled bread.

Pimento Cheese Spread with Grilled Bread

My southern family would have my head for messing with the perfection that is southern pimento cheese. Luckily, they don’t live here.

  •  1-2 Garlic cloves depending on your taste for garlic
  • 2 jarred Roasted Red Peppers, drained well
  • 3 C shredded Sharp Cheddar
  • 2 T Paprika
  • 1/2 t Cayenne Pepper, or more depending on how spicy you like things. Be careful though, the heat will continue to bloom as it sits.
  • 1/4 C Honey
  • 5 or 6 Dill Pickle Chips, chopped
  • 1 T Pickle Juice
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese, room temp
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Put all ingredients except cream cheese into a food processor. Blend until a chunky paste is achieved. The mixture will look broken, but don’t worry. Add cream cheese and pulse until the mixture is smooth. Slather pimento cheese on a loaf of your favorite bread, sliced, brushed with oil and grilled. Pimento Cheese also goes wonderful on top of a Burger, with the traditional celery sticks or spoon over grilled Portobello Mushrooms.

An Ode to Slump

A fun old word for a baked fruit cobbler from generations gone by.

Blueberry Plum Slump

  • 1 C Blueberries, washed and dried
  • 2 ripe Plums, pitted, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons Lemon Zest, divided
  • 6 T unsalted Butter, plus more for buttering dish
  • 1 C fine grind Cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 t Baking Powder
  • 1/2 t Kosher Salt
  • 7 T Sugar, divided
  • 1/2 C well-shaken Buttermilk
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 3 T Crème fraiche
  • 1 T Maple Syrup
  1. Preheat your oven to 375° F. Butter a 9-inch ceramic deep-dish pie plate or similar dish. Gently toss blueberries and plums with 1 T sugar and 1 t lemon zest in dish. Arrange fruit in a mostly single layer.
  2. Melt butter in a bowl in the microwave (about 30 seconds). Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, baking powder, and salt, remaining zest and remaining sugar. Whisk dry ingredients together thoroughly to combine. Add melted butter to dry ingredients, using a spatula to scrape out the bowl. Fold until combined. Fold in remaining ingredients (buttermilk through maple syrup); making sure each is uniformly mixed into batter before adding the next.
  4. Pour the batter over fruit and bake for 35-38 minutes, or until slump is fragrant and the top is golden brown. Serve and enjoy slump warm, topped with vanilla ice cream.

“Lemony Lady” Beer Cocktail

  • 2 cans Cisco Brewers Grey Lady or other belgian beer
  • Angostura Bitters
  • 4 Lemon Wheels
  1.  When the weather is warm, I crave this bubbly citrusy beverage over everything else. Plus it feels like you’re drinking a cocktail, but it’s way lower in alcohol. Makes 4.

Articles by Date from 2012