New Castle News

October 26, 2013

Culinary Conversation: Jersey? Sure? Garden state offers bounty of regional treats

By Staff
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — When you have a craving for anything fishy, the best place to be is near a coastline.

Atlantic City was such a place. It was one of the destinations of a recent vacation. I had never been there. That means I have never walked the boardwalk until last week.

Although it is dominated by classy, upscale hotels, there are still plenty of souvenir shops pitching kitschy items, and stands selling saltwater taffy and fudge. Ice cream sandwiches made with waffles are a staple on the boardwalk, too.

We also visited Cape May, N.J. — a charming seaside town with row after row of Victorian gingerbread houses in colors ranging from pink to red to bright green.

I was in seafood heaven. Deciding what to order was rough. Swordfish, salmon, scallops — my favorite — and shrimp are caught almost outside restaurant doors, which gives new meaning to the word fresh.

Did I mention crab cakes? At Gallagher’s Steakhouse in our hotel, I had the most amazing crab cakes — some of the best I have ever eaten.

But I also discovered that like all states, New Jersey, has some treats it calls its own, and they are part of today’s column. And though it might be easier to purchase a box next time you’re near the shore, just for fun, a recipe for saltwater taffy is also included.

As the holidays are approaching, gather up your favorite recipes for entrées, side dishes, pies and cookies and send them to Culinary Conversation. It’s a tasteful place to be.

Crab Cakes

Mix all ingredients gently.

Let mixture rest for 20 minutes.

Shape into patties. Pan fry by heating sauté pan. Add oil to lightly coat pan. Cook 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Baked Sea Scallops

Preheat oven to 425.

Place scallops, melted butter, garlic and shallots in a bowl. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir gently to combine. Transfer to a casserole dish.

In a separate bowl, combine bread crumbs and olive oil. Sprinkle on top of scallops.

Bake in preheated oven until crumbs are brown and scallops are done, about 11 to 14 minutes. Top with parsley and serve with lemon wedges on the side.

Jersey Shore Ice Cream Sandwiches

Arrange 2 waffles on a serving plate. Divide vanilla ice cream, strawberry ice cream and chocolate ice cream evenly over waffles and drizzle with chocolate syrup. Top with remaining waffles to create 2 sandwiches.

New Jersey

Crumb Cake

Cake:

Topping:

Beat eggs and milk; mix with butter.

In another bowl, mix flour and baking powder; then add to butter mixture. Stir in vanilla.

Pour batter into a greased 9x13-inch pan.

For crumb topping, cut butter into sugar, biscuit mix and cinnamon. Sprinkle over batter in pan.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until done.

Top with the powdered sugar when cool.

New Jersey Diner Style Tuna Melt

In a bowl, mix tuna, mayonnaise, celery, onion, parsley and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the rye bread slices on a baking sheet and broil 1 minute in the preheated oven, until lightly toasted. Remove from heat and spread with the tuna salad. Place 1 cheese slice over the tuna salad on each piece of bread; layer with a tomato slice and top with remaining cheese slices.

Return layered bread to the preheated oven and broil 3 to 5 minutes until cheese has melted.

Atlantic City Salt Water Taffy

Combine sugar and cornstarch; put into a saucepan and add corn syrup, butter and water.

Stir until boiling point is reached and boil until mixture reaches 256 degrees on a candy thermometer or until a small portion forms a ball when tested in cold water.

Add salt, pour onto a greased slab and allow to cool slightly until the mixture can be handled. Pull until light in color.

Divide into separate portions, and color and flavor each portion as desired, while it is being pulled.

Lemon, orange, peppermint, lime, strawberry or pineapple flavors may be used, and pink, green, yellow or orange color pastes. Don’t use too much color. The candies are usually quite pale and pastel in tint.

Pull out until 11⁄2 inches wide and 3⁄4 of an inch thick. Cut into pieces with a scissors and wrap in wax paper. Twist ends to seal.

(*Recipes have not been tested.)