Jasper White shares a few tricks.
To New Englanders, the idea of yet another seafood cookbook probably sounds awfully been-there, done-that. But The Summer Shack Cookbook: The Complete Guide to Shore Foo (W. W. Norton, $35), out this month, is different. Inspired by Jasper White’s unstuffy restaurants, the book doesn’t take itself too seriously—there’s a quote from Jimmy Buffett and a recipe for something called the Fabulous Retro Shrimp Cocktail. More important, White, one of Boston’s first celebrity chefs, knows how to write stellar, accessible recipes for stuff we crave—“spicy and greasy” Rhode Island calamari, beer-battered fish and chips, and the beloved Summer Shack corn dogs—and passes along worthwhile tips, like how to clean squid and crack conch, and why you shouldn’t freeze most shellfish. Seasoned foodies, too, will enjoy the book, especially the primer on oyster varieties that offers plenty of “I know more than you” ammo. White’s past the point of needing a food-porn ego book: His adoration of simple shore food permeates every page. —Christie Matheson