“The Jersey Shore Cookbook: Fresh Summer Flavors from the Boardwalk and Beyond” by Deborah Smith, Quirk Books, $22.95, 176 pages, hardcover
Three stars out of five
Until Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast in 2012 and devastated New Jersey’s beach areas, most Americans probably were unfamiliar with the little resort towns that dot the Jersey Shore. Blogger and Jersey Shore native Deborah Smith hopes to change that with her new book, “The Jersey Shore Cookbook: Fresh Summer Flavors from the Boardwalk and Beyond.”
Smith says food is an important part of the Jersey Shore experience, and she offers a look at the area’s food culture by featuring the resort towns’ best restaurants and dishes.
“More than 59 million people call the Jersey Shore their vacation destination every year,” she writes in the book’s introduction.
She says some of the featured restaurants are family-owned, some have been in business for decades and others are relatively new.
“Most of them endured devastating damage from Hurricane Sandy, but through the help of their communities, staff, and customers, they are back and better than ever,” she says.
Her book celebrates local, fresh foods and looks at all types of dining experiences, from casual places to fine dining. Recipes are divided into five sections: Breakfasts; Starters and Sides; Soups and Salads; Main Courses; and Desserts. They begin with Eggs Oscar and end with Peach Panna Cotta, and each is accompanied by a vignette of the restaurant which shared the recipe.
Surprisingly, one of the featured dishes is Cajun Shrimp and Grits, which Smith says is one of the longest-running dishes at Brickwall Tavern and Dining Room in Asbury Park. The recipe is nothing like the shrimp and grits dishes Louisiana diners are used to eating. The shrimp are tossed in Cajun seasoning and seared in canola oil. Each serving includes four shrimp arranged on top of grits flavored with Parmesan cheese.
Other recipes include Watermelon Gazpacho, Island Time Fish Tacos, Jersey Clams and Linguini, and Key Lime Pie.
In addition to the 29 restaurant profiles, Smith includes a handy contributor directory and a restaurant index. And, the book is illustrated with full-color photographs by Tom Clarke.
This cookbook is a good choice for the “foodie” who loves reading about the food culture of other areas of the country.
Cheramie Sonnier is a food writer and columnist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow her on Twitter, @CheramieSonnier.