Coastal Cuisine: Seaside Recipes from Maine to Maryland

by Connie Correia Fisher with Joanne Correia

Published by Small Potatoes Press

160 pages, 1999

Buy it online






Pass the Chowdah

Reviewed by Linda L. Richards


There is an innocent charm about Coastal Cuisine: Seaside Recipes from Maine to Maryland. And it's not unpleasant. New Jersey author Connie Correia Fisher has built a cookbook around her own passions for the seaside places she visits in the summer. In her introduction, she waxes poetic about summer for a bit, then heads for the place where the book begins:

Summer's over and what memento did I bring home to remember my summer holiday? Usually nothing but some sand in my sneakers. All too quickly, the memories of towns and sailboats and beaches fade away. Oh, how I wish the flavor could remain. So I asked the chefs at my favorite seaside haunts if they could help me preserve the taste of summer, packaged up so I could take a little piece of it home.

It can, from this, be gleaned that Correia Fisher has a most excellent taste in "favorite haunts." There are about 100 recipes in Coastal Cuisine, brought together from 65 inns and restaurants from coastal Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. And though there is much that is seafood-based, don't expect endless recipes for crabcakes and chowders -- though a few of both are included. These recipes are mostly at least a little bit more upscale. Things like Truffle Whipped Potato Profiterole; Lobster Risotto and Bluefish Paupiettes with Thyme and Basil all sound wonderful, even if they're not restricted to eateries of that region.

Correia Fisher has done a good job with this collection. Not only do the recipes include an interesting cross-section of appetizers, entrees, side dishes and desserts but she's also taken it a bit farther and gotten each chef to include a soupcon of personal information about themselves and -- perhaps with the more reluctant ones -- about the restaurants. It might be interesting (if not particularly surprising) to know that, for instance, Phillips by the Sea in Ocean City, Maryland is best known for their Maryland-style crab dishes and fresh fish, or that Diane Muentz, chef at Alexander's Inn at Cape May, New Jersey enjoys politics, making wedding cakes and antiques. While these little bits of personal information add nothing to the book's usefulness, it really is kind of fun.

Coastal Cuisine will do little to increase your knowledge of the history of food in the regions it covers, nor will it do much to enlighten you about the area -- beyond the restaurants and the people who run them, of course. It's still a fun little book, nicely executed and packed with restaurant-proven recipes to try yourself. | August 1999


Linda L. Richards is the editor of January Magazine.