Recipe: Softshell Crab Summer Rolls

Recipe for Softshell Crab Summer Rolls, adapted by the James Beard Foundation

 

Summer is a season of limited-engagement foods. One of its most precious treats is the softshell crab, a blue crab that has abandoned its hard shell for a temporary, thin skin that's completely edible and full of flavor. Thankfully, it only takes a little work to savor these fleeting crustaceans: many cooks opt to simply batter, season, and fry their softshell crabs, a preparation that's equally delectable in a sandwich, on a salad, or by itself.

 

At Maritime Parc in Jersey City, chef Chris Siversen places softshell crab tempura inside Vietnamese summer rolls. Fresh herbs, shaved vegetables, and an addictive red curry mayo join the crabs inside the wrappers. If that's not enough to tempt you, just know that softshell crabs' days are numbered.

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Recipe Roundup: On the Grill

Grilled Hanger Steak with Peperonata

 

There's nothing like a smoky, grilled piece of meat or fish to remind us why we love summer. (A six-pack of ice-cold beer doesn't hurt either.) Here are some of the grilled dishes on our current must-cook list:

 

Grilled Salmon with Summer Salad
A salad of corn, tomatoes, and basil dressed with a Dijon vinaigrette transforms perfectly cooked salmon fillets.

 

Grilled Hanger Steak with Peperonata
Hanger steak only needs a brief sear on the grill, while the peperonata comes together in about 20 minutes.

 

Spicy Grilled Shrimp and Pancetta
Easy. Fast. Addictive.

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Recipe Roundup: Berries

berry recipes from the James Beard Foundation

 

Went a little berry crazy at the farmers' market? Put that summer fruit to good use with these celebration-worthy recipes.

 

Blueberry Boy Bait

Named for its rumored man-attracting powers, this cake is delicious on its own or à la mode.

 

FireBird Raspberry Vodka

Savor the taste of summer all year long with this ultra-easy recipe for raspberry-infused vodka.

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Recipe: Spicy Grilled Octopus and Watermelon Skewers

 

We love the equal-opportunity aspect of grilling: the high-heat technique is happy to lend its smoky stamp to almost anything that graces the grates.

 

In this Asian-inspired canapé, Oceana's Ben Pollinger gives octopus some time over the coals. First the tentacles marinate in a bold mix of Korean chili paste, sesame oil, and soy sauce, then take a long steam until tender. After a couple minutes on a very hot grill, the lightly charred octopus is tossed in a Thai basil and kaffir lime vinaigrette, then coupled with juicy cubes of fresh watermelon.

 

Get the recipe here.

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Recipe: Oyster Shooters with Tomato, Lime, and Chilies

 

Executive chef Andrew Hebert, who works under the auspices of Jody Adams at Boston's Trade, says the inspiration for these restorative seafood shooters came from his mentor. "When Jody was 16 and traveling in Guatemala, she was turned onto a vibrant and spicy seafood cocktail called vuelve a la vida ("return to life" in English). It's famous in the region for curing hangovers and pleasing the palette, but to me it screams summertime, and I love the balance of sweet and sour." At Trade, Herbert makes a miniature version with Island Creek oysters from nearby Duxbury, packing them with tomato juice, ginger, serrano chili, and citrus into a single slurp. When you need to jump start your palate—or yourself after a rough night—these little spark plugs will do the trick.

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Recipe: Corn Bisque with Crema

 

Grilled ears of corn, caked in butter, lime juice, and chili powder, are one of summer's greatest, messiest backyard treats. But for gatherings that merit food with more finesse, Brian Roche of Boston's Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar has translated that winning Mexican formula into an elegant bisque. He keeps the ingredient list short, letting the corn's flavor sing loud and clear. The recipe does call for a good pinch of sugar, but if you're using corn that's especially sweet, you may not even need it.

 

Get the recipe here.

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Recipe: Peach Tarte Tatin

Recipe for peach tarte tatin, courtesy of the James Beard Foundation

 

For a high-summer spin on classic tarte tatin, chef Corey Heyer of central New Jersey's Bernards Inn trades apples for juicy peaches. The variation doesn't stop there: instead of cooking the fruit over a layer of sugar and butter, Heyer makes the caramel separately, then adds the peaches and simmers them until puckery. The fruit is then transferred to a pie dish and draped with a sheet of puff pastry before baking. In keeping with tradition, there's still the swift drama of flipping the pan and the big reveal of the tarte's fruit-bejeweled face.

 

The recipe may not sit well with purists, but that just leaves more for us. (And sooner than we know it, there will be plenty of time for apples.)

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Recipe: White Chocolate–Lemon Verbena Panna Cotta with Raspberries and Pistachios

 

When the North Fork Table & Inn's Claudia Fleming teamed up with Godiva® to create a dish for JBF’s Chefs & Champagne® last year, she faced the challenge of fashioning a dessert that was anchored in chocolate and yet light on its feet. She found a dazzling solution in oft-maligned white chocolate, which proved to be a seamless enhancement to classic panna cotta. Infusing the cream-based dessert with heady lemon verbena added a summery vibe, which was boosted by a verbena-scented raspberry compote and sugar-slicked pistachios. 

 

Get the recipe here.

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Recipe: Sweet Corn Budino with Blueberries and Cornmeal Shortbread

Karen DeMasco's recipe for Sweet Corn Budino with Blueberries and Cornmeal Shortbread, adpated by the James Beard Foundation

 

This homey budino from JBF Award winner Karen DeMasco will test your loyalty to Grandma's corn pudding. Corn kernels sweeten a custard base, which is topped with blueberry compote and accessorized with cornmeal shortbread cookies. It's a dessert to make for a dinner party with good friends. 

 

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Recipe: Blueberry Boy Bait

Kierin Baldwin's recipe for blueberry boy bait, adapted by the James Beard Foundation

 

It's said that boy bait, a standard-issue, homespun coffee cake, gained its flirty name at a national Pillsbury baking contest, where teenage boys found the treat to be impossible to resist. At the Dutch in New York City, pastry chef Kierin Baldwin soups up her boy bait with blueberries: some are folded into the batter, while the rest are scattered on top before baking. Coupled with a scoop of ice cream or a mug of coffee, it's sure to lure in everyone. 

 

Get the recipe here.

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