Regional Island Recipes

Portuguese Cod and Mussels

The Standby Restaurant used to be one of Martha's Vineyard's best restaurants. Unfortunately it is gone, but, the Chef gave me the recipe for my favorite dish. I am going to share this wonderful dish with you. If you like it, please let me know.

Portuguese Cod and Mussels

Serves 2

  • 1 pound fresh cod (I guess you could use frozen)
  • 18 mussels, clean and discard those that appear to be dead, i.e. open mussels that will not close their shells when light pressure is applied a few times
  • 1 cup diced plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup diced red onions
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp. chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 4 tbls. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • Capers and whole kalamata olives

Heat a frying pan that does not have a plastic handle, on medium/high heat. Add oil, cook onions for about 2 minutes, then add tomatoes and cook for about 3 more minutes. Add garlic, red pepper flakes; salt, pepper, parsley, thyme and white wine. Add capers and olives.

Bring mixture to a low boil. Add cod and mussels, then place entire pan in a 425 oven for about 8 minutes.

My Chef friend served this dish with mashed potatoes. Place a serving of mashed potatoes in the center of the plate. Place a serving of the cod on top of the potatoes. Place a serving of the mussels, still in the shells, around the plate in a circle. Pour the pan juices over cod.



Clam Chowder

A visit to Martha's Vineyard is not complete until you have had a cup of our traditional chowder. This is the recipe that I use. I hope you like it. Let me know if you do.

Clam Chowder

Serves 8-10

  • 4 cups of shelled clams/quahogs(about 6 pounds in the shell) or you can use canned chopped clams, saving the juice
  • 2 cups dry white wine or water
  • 3 oz. slab bacon, cut into 1/3 inch dice    or salt pork
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 3 cups diced red bliss potatoes, skin on potatoes
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed and chopped or 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 quarts light cream

In a medium sauce pan, combine the clams and white wine. Heat over low flame to steam the clams open. Shuck the clams saving the juice. Strain the clam juice and reserve. Rinse the clams clean and roughly chop.

In a large pot, saute bacon until brown. Add onions, celery, thyme, garlic, bay leaf, pepper and saute for about 5 minutes. Pour the reserved clam juice and the potatoes in the pot. Add enough water to completely cover the potatoes. Stir. Simmer this mixture until the potatoes are tender. About 10 minutes.

Melt the butter in a separate small saucepan. When it is bubbling, add the flour and cook for about 5 minutes stirring often. Set aside. 

When the potatoes are tender, add the chopped clams and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the butter and flour mixture to the large pot and continue simmering for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. This is the chowder base.

In a separate saucepan, scald the cream by heating it until small bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Do not boil. Stir the hot scalded cream into the large pot, mix together and remove from heat.

I usually make a double batch and freeze the leftovers in serving size freezer/microwave containers. That way, the next time you want chowder, all you need do is heat it up in the microwave!

You can also make and freeze or refrigerate the chowder base. Defrost. Make and pour in the scalded cream.


Codfish Cakes with Dijon Mayonnaise

Our week wasn't complete unless we had codfish cakes. They would either be Friday or Saturday supper with Boston baked beans.

Codfish Cakes with Dijon Mayonnaise

For the mayonnaise:

  • 1/4 cup commerical mayonnaise
  • 1-1/2 tsps. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 tsps hot water

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard and lemon juice. Add salt, pepper and the water. Set the mayonnaise aside.

For the codfish:

  • 4 tbls vegetable oil
  • l large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 pounds skinless, boneless cod or scrod
  • 2 cups cooked potatoes, mashed
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup cream

Cook the fish; I usually place cod on microwaveable plate, put half of the onions, bell pepper, crushed pepper, thyme, parsley and salt on top. Microwave for about 2 minutes or until the fish flakes (only takes few minutes).Break the fish up into small pieces. You can also steam the fish.

Saute the other half of the onions, bell pepper, crushed pepper, thyme, parsley and salt in a frying pan. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl combine the cooked fish, all of the onions, bell pepper, crushed pepper, thyme, parsley, salt and the mashed potatoes. Mix in the lighty beaten egg and the cream. Form mixture into patties. Saute the fishcakes in oil until browned.



Seafood Boil (clambake in a pot!)

This is a signature dish from the sea. You can create the traditional clambake on the beach to your stovetop!

Seafood Boil

Serves 4-6

  • 1 dozen cherrystone clams, scrubbed
  • 1 dozen mussels, scrubbed
  • 2 one-pound live lobsters
  • 1/2 pound peeled or unpeeled large fresh shrimp
  • 1/2 pound fresh scallops
  • 6 unpeeled red potatoes, cut in quarters
  • 1 large onion, cut in quarters
  • 1/2 pound smoked sausage, cut in slices
  • 1 package of crab boil, tied tightly in cheesecloth
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 lemons, cut in half, squeeze the juice into the pot, then toss in rinds
  • 2 ears fresh corn, cut in half
  • salt, to taste
  • dash of white vinegar

Fill a large stockpot, with a straining basket, 2/3 full of water. Add potatoes, onions, garlic, salt, crab boil, vinegar, lemons and sausage to the pot. Cook covered over medium heat until the potatoes are tender and the water is boiling, about 45 minutes.

Add the corn to the pot and cook for 10 minutes. Let the water come to a full boil again, and add the lobsters, clams, mussels and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and add the shrimp and scallops, Let the pot stand, covered, for five minutes.

Remove straining basket with the seafood, etc from the pot. Separate the lobster claws and the tails from the lobster. Arrange the tails, sausage, seafood and veggies on a large serving platter. Serve with melted butter, cocktail sauce and hot sauce. Enjoy!

You can use the liquid that is in the stockpot,for the liquid in the clam chowder recipe to give it extra flavor. Be sure to pull the lobster meat out of the lobster body and add this to the clam chowder as well.