Recipes: New England Classics

Yes, lobster rolls and clam chowder can be healthy.

Clams photo via shutterstock

Clams photo via shutterstock

New Englanders are serious about traditions and our favorite local foods are no exception. Luckily, you can eat some of New England’s classic recipes without needing an extra hour of cardio at the gym with just a few basic tweaks—and you won’t even miss the full fat versions. Buying seafood and vegetables during peak season is critical when making these dishes. And now is the time when fresh produce is at our fingertips, and seafood comes pouring in from the nearby fishing piers. Just like local a farmer’s market supports the New England economy, buying local, sustainable seafood will help keep our local fisherman in business and our bellies happy with lobster.

Here are nine recipes to try:

1. Oysters with Mignonette Sauce
via Live Life Beautifully

Local New England oysters have an unmatched salty, fresh flavor. A traditional mignonette sauce is basically shallots and vinegar, but this recipe adds sweet apples and thai chilies for a sweet heat that will play perfectly with the naturally briny oysters.

2. Fennel, Dill, and Cucumber Salad
via Feasting at Home

With a pile of fresh steamers, it’s nice to have a bright side dish. Fennel supports the digestive system, and is crunchy and sweet, which makes it a perfect accompaniment to a seafood platter.

3. Plum Island Sound Clam Chowder
via Cooking Light

Normally clam chowder is something we go to for a calorie splurge, but when making it at home, it’s easy and just as delicious to make a lighter version. This recipe uses 1 percent milk and evaporated fat free milk to cut calories yet still maintain a creamy consistency. You can use thick cut bacon for flavor or substitute with turkey bacon. Splurge at your own risk.

4. Perfect Steamed Lobster
via Umami Girl

Every family in New England probably has a way to cook steamed lobster. This recipe also gives advice on how to choose, cook, and eat whole lobsters. Get out your cracking tools, melt some fat-free butter, and get ready for messy fun.

5. Blueberry Lime Hand Pies
via Fig Test Kitchen

Think of these as portion control pies. Perfect for picnics with an all fruit filling (most recipes include cream cheese in the filling), these hand pies use lime juice and zest for a summery kick. Puff pastry is simple to work with but keeping it cold is key. If it gets too warm, the dough will get tacky and difficult to work with, and then it won’t puff properly in the oven.

6. Smoky Corn Chowder
via Kitchen Ninja

Fresh corn is a reason to celebrate summer. If you’re anything like us, you overindulge and purchase triple the amount of corn you need and then panic that all those fresh ears of sweetness will go bad. Corn chowder is your answer. To take the kernels off, simply stand the ear up in a shallow pie dish or bowl and use a small paring knife to cut off the kernels. Everything will be caught in the dish and you won’t have to chase corn around your kitchen.

7. Baked Clam Cakes
via Farm to Belly

Clam cakes are a staple on the Rhode Island coast, and with this recipe there’s no driving (and no frying) involved. To make these healthy, we lose the flour and extra oil and get baked clam cakes that would go well with a side of sautéed summer vegetable or as a salad topper.

8. Strawberry Rhubarb Galette
via Brooklyn Atlas

When talking classics, it doesn’t get any more traditional than strawberry and rhubarb. A galette is a cross between a tart and a pie. Instead of baking it in a dish, a galette lies flat and the edges are folded over to resemble a dessert pizza. This recipes includes the dough recipe (always impressive to make for your friends) but if you’re short on time, use store bought dough and roll it out to the correct size.

9. Flatbread Lobster Roll
via The Bite House

Here’s your excuse for eating a lobster roll while still staying healthy. Lose the mayo and drizzle the garlic butter.  Lose the buttered bun and go for the flat bread instead. Voila, you have a healthy lobster roll. The blog has a link to cooking lobster or you can try the perfect steamed lobster link above. If making your own flatbread is a little much for you, you can always use a pita.