Matt Jennings, who’s trying to make America yankee-food conscious—and no this has nothing at all to do with the guys in pinstripes in the Bronx.
I’m talking about New England, down the coast and along the islands of Maine and Nantucket, and then inland back in the mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont. That’s the land Jennings grew up in, where there are cheeses and cranberries, clams and pork, and the descendants of Puritans and Portuguese cod-fishers.
Jennings has a new book out, “Home Grown: Cooking from my New England Roots,” and it’s the product of cooking for years and years from deep Yankee knowledge. Want to tap into the wisdom? I have a little gallery here of some of Jennings’ published recipes down the years, if you like his flavors go get the book! It’s like a little vacation up where Yankee food doesn’t have anything to do with stadium cracker-jacks.
Blood Orange Shandy
New England was where the big shipping routes of early America all came to port, in Boston, and a hundred harbors. They’d come back from Asia with oranges, and what better way to celebrate the coming citrus high-season than with a little blood orange juice squeezed into a wheat beer? That’s fun.
Lamb And Bacon Sliders
A meatball that doubles as a slider? That’s a good idea! Matt Jennings is a Patriot’s super-fan, and this is what he serves for game days, a lamb-and-pork big meatball with a marinara sauce and a crema made of equal parts tangy Greek yogurt and mayonnaise.
Corn And Clam Chowder
Nothing is more New England than a good potato-and-cream clam chowder, and Jennings makes one worth building a dinner party around. Serve a creamy white like a fat Chardonnay, and that’s a good evening.
Matt Jennings’ Mom’s Cranberry Relish
This is close to what I grew up eating, a chunky cranberry and fresh orange relish that really brings some pop and acid to your cranberry situation. This is also easy peasy, and before Thanksgiving makes a mighty nice side to pork or chicken.
Can’t decide between spaghetti with clam sauce and spaghetti carbonara? Why should you? This genius recipe, which is also in Jennings’ cookbook, brings all the comfort of carbonara and adds the minerality of the ocean—such a smart way to capture so much of what’s great about New England food, the great mix of Portuguese and Italian immigrants, the sea, the restaurants!