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Vintage Cookbooks: Nothing fishy about 'Taste of Gloucester'

Thursday, January 03, 2002

By Alice Demetrius Stock, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

It's easy to find a recipe for preparing cod, halibut or trout, but in "The Taste of Gloucester: A Fisherman's Wife Cooks," there are recipes for eel, dogfish, squid, cusk and other unusual varieties of Atlantic seafood -- particularly critters caught off the rocky, wind-swept coast of Massachusetts.

This fund-raiser, written and compiled in 1976 by The Fishermen's Wives of Gloucester and The Cape Ann League of Women Voters, is fun, informative and still in print.

The Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Association, a nonprofit organization since 1969, promotes "the New England fishing industry, helps preserve the Atlantic Ocean as a food supply for the world and assists active and retired fishermen and their families."

And they promote Gloucester, Mass. (said to be the oldest fishing port in the nation), "for its beauty, culture and working waterfront."

Fishermen from traditionally seafaring areas of the world such as Italy, Portugal, Scandinavia, Greece and New England have made Gloucester their home. The blending of their cultures has had an influence on the area's dining choices, raising seafood to "a separate cuisine of unique dishes."

For instance, Scallops Portuguese uses 1 pound scallops, cooked for 5 to 7 minutes in 1/4 cup of butter and a clove of garlic. They are sprinkled with salt, pepper and 1/2 cup chopped parsley, cooked a minute longer and served hot.

To prepare eel Greek style, the cook sprinkles salt and pepper over 2 pounds of skinned eel cut into 2-inch pieces. The eel is heated in 1/4 cup olive oil flavored with a teaspoon chopped parsley, a pinch of thyme and the juice half of a lemon, then baked at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

A sauce for baked or broiled fish uses 1/2 cup Italian wine, 1 stick butter, 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon each salt, pepper and sweet basil. The ingredients are combined, heated to a simmer and poured over cooked fish.

Now in its eighth edition, "Taste of Gloucester" has been updated with a microwave recipe for cape shark in cracker crumbs and expanded, for tourists, to include recipes from area restaurants: marinated octopus from Halibut Point; monkfish piccata from Blackburn Tavern; stir-fry skate with vegetables from Gloucester on the Waterfront.

Besides instructions for recognizing, selecting and cleaning seafood, "Taste of Gloucester" includes a number of poems relating to the sea and a list that names all the captains of the Gloucester fleet.

Sources for ordering are local book shops or the Internet (www.yankeeharvest.com). Or write to The Gloucester Cookbook Committee, Box 1181, Gloucester, MA 01930-5381. Cost is $11.95 plus $2.25 for postage and handling.

SHRIMP DIP

Crab or lobster may be substituted for shrimp in this quick, easy party dish.

8 ounces cream cheese
8 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons onion juice
2 diced fresh tomatoes
1/2 pound coarsely chopped cooked shrimp, cleaned, rinsed and dried

Blend together the cream cheese and mayonnaise (we used salad dressing).

Mix in Worcestershire sauce and onion juice (we used 2 tablespoons minced, fresh onion), tomatoes (we used 1/2 cup seeded plum tomatoes) and shrimp.

Makes 3 cups to serve chilled with crackers or corn chips.

FILLET OF SOLE QUICKIES

2 pounds fillet of sole or any mild white fish (we used frozen orange roughy fillets, thawed and rinsed)
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs

Beat together the milk, egg and salt.

Dip fish slices in the milk mixture (with the left hand) and roll in the seasoned bread crumbs (with the right hand).

Place in a baking dish and bake at 450 degrees about 15 minutes, or until the thickest piece flakes easily with a fork.

Garnish with lemon slices dipped in chopped parsley. Serves 4 to 6.

Both recipes from "The Taste of Gloucester: A Fisherman's Wife Cooks" (5th edition), 1976.

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