Chowder comes from the French word "chaudiere," meaning "large copper pot." In Brittany, fishermen would combine their fish in one of these pots, add spices, and share the resulting soup. This custom traveled with the Bretons to Newfoundland and then down to New England.

How to Make Baked Scallops with Ritz Crackers Topping



A reader favorite, this simple recipe for baked scallops with Ritz crackers has stood the test of time. Here's how to make it at home.

Amy Traverso
Perhaps it’s because the combination of flavors in this simple casserole is so classic — just scallops, lemon, butter, vermouth, and Ritz crackers. Taking a bite of baked scallops with Ritz crackers is like going back in time, or hopping a fast boat to some seaside restaurant where a ship’s wheel hangs on the wall and Grapenut pudding is still on the menu. In other words, it’s an old-school pleasure, and we mean that in the best possible way. It’s also purely delicious, and incredibly easy to make.
Here’s how to make homemade baked scallops with Ritz crackers in step-by-step photos. Just want the recipe? Head on over to the Baked Scallops Recipe.
A note on scallops: the best-tasting ones are natural or “dry” scallops, which look like those in the photo below. Many supermarkets sell scallops that come soaked in a bath of sodium tripolyphosphate, which causes them to swell with water, thereby diluting their flavor. You can easily recognize those scallops because of their milky white appearance. Such treated scallops are  less expensive per pound (though more profitable for the packer, since you’re paying for more water weight per pound). If you can find natural scallops on sale, you’ll enjoy their superior flavor and texture. But this recipe will work well with either type.
To start, arrange two pounds of scallops in a single layer in a 9- by 13-inch baking dish (our retro enamel pan was a bit smaller, so we used an additional dish for the overflow). Preheat your oven to 325° and set a rack to the second-from-the-top position.
In a small bowl, stir together 1 cup of crushed Ritz crackers (or similar), and 1/4 teaspoon each of garlic salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle this over the scallops. Next, sprinkle 1/4 cup of Parmesan.
Sprinkle all over with butter, lemon, and vermouth, cover with foil, then transfer to the oven.
Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. At this point, the scallops will be cooked through, but if you’d like to brown the top a bit more, turn your oven to the “broil” setting and let the top sizzle for a minute or two (do not move the pan closer to the flame), keeping a close eye on the pan the entire time.
Serve the baked scallops hot, sprinkled with fresh herbs like chopped chives or parsley, if you like, and garnished with a bit of lemon.
For more, check out our scallops guide for the difference between sea scallops and bay scallops, and try our recipe for light and crispy oven-fried scallops.


Red Snapper Hot Dogs | Maine’s Favorite Home-Grilled Hot Dog



Known for their neon red color and natural casing "snap," Maine's red snapper hot dogs are a backyard barbecue and camp grill favorite.

Aimee Tucker • May 22, 2018

One way to know for sure that you’ve crossed into Maine is when you notice certain brands of hot dogs in the grocery store are a shocking, bright red. Ladies and gentlemen… the red snapper hot dogs of Maine.
A favorite mainstay at family barbecues and campsites all across Vacationland, these natural casing beef and pork franks earned the name “red snapper” because of their obvious color (just red dye) and the SNAP sound the natural casing makes when you bite into it. More of a “home BBQ” hot dog than a roadside dog, red snappers are jarring to look at, but plenty tasty to eat.
And of course, like all good local hot dogs, they’re served in the traditional top-split New England hot dog bun, which are also a popular choice for all of the best lobster rolls. Unlike the side-split rolls common throughout the rest of the country, top-split rolls not only stand up better on a plate after the hot dog and toppings have been piled on, but its flat sides are ideal for buttering and toasting, either on a grill or in a frying pan. Of course, some folks will say they like theirs steamed rather than toasted, and that’s okay, too.
In Maine, Bangor-based W.A. Bean & Sons is the foremost red snapper brand. They’ve been making hot dogs since 1918 (“150 Years, 5 Generations, and 4 Million Hot Dogs Last Year” their Web site says), but once you venture further south you may only be able to find Kayem “Reds,” a red snapper-style dog made in Chelsea, MA. We hear there might be red hot dogs in a few other pockets of the southern USA, but around here, red dogs are as Maine as lobster and blueberries.
When the hot dogs are hot and ready, put them in the warm rolls and load on the toppings. Here, one hot dog is waiting for a simple squiggle of ketchup while the second gets dressed with traditional relish and a slug of Maine-made Raye’s “Down East Schooner” Mustard. A third (the melted cheese underneath hidden by the hot dog) has a few spoonfuls of sauteed mushrooms and onions. When it comes to hot dog toppings, the combinations (and opinions about the best combinations) are endless, and we embrace them all.

Lined up and ready, a plate of red snapper hot dogs is a Maine summer supper at its finest (that is, if you’re not in the mood for lobsters). Just add a bag of Humpty Dumpty chips, potato salad, french fries, or anything else that’s a little greasy with an ice cold root beer, Moxie, or grape soda.

Crispy Homemade Clam Cakes


These homemade clam cakes are light, crisp, stuffed with clams, and never greasy. The perfect clam cake recipe!
Amy Traverso •
For many of us, it just isn’t summer without a batch of clam cakes fresh from the fryer. We love this recipe because it turns out terrifically crisp homemade clam cakes that are fluffy and stuffed with clams, but not greasy. The trick is using mostly baking soda as the leavening, which is activated by the lemon juice in the recipe.

Total Time: 50 minutes
Hands-On Time: 50 minutes
Yield: 30 clam cakes
Ingredients
•           Vegetable oil for frying
•           2 cups chopped clams, with juices
•           1/2 cup milk
•           1 large egg, beaten
•           2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
•           2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
•           1 tablespoon baking soda
•           1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
•           1/4 teaspoon baking powder
•           1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
•           2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Instructions
Set a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add vegetable oil to a depth of 3 inches. Bring oil to 375° (or as close as you can).

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the clams with their juices, milk, egg and butter.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and pepper. Add the clam mixture to the dry ingredients along with the lemon juice and stir just until combined (do not overmix).
Drop batter into the oil by the heaping tablespoon (we use a medium cookie dough scoop). Work in batches so as not to crowd the pan, adjusting heat as necessary to maintain the temperature.
Fry until clam cakes are nicely browned and cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes total. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to cool. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve warm, with lemon wedges on the side.





Lobster Shellshock-Q&A story



PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — In a story May 13 about lobster shell strength, The Associated Press reported erroneously that marine biogeochemist Justin Ries attributed the collapse of the southern New England lobster fishery to shell disease. He attributed it to overfishing and population shifts caused by warming waters.
A corrected version of the story is below:
Lobster industry fears weaker shells, but evidence is mixed
The globalization of the American lobster business has spurred fears within the industry that lobsters' shells are getting weaker, but scientific evidence about the issue paints a complicated picture
By PATRICK WHITTLE
Associated Press


PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — More people outside the U.S. are enjoying the New England tradition of cracking open a freshly cooked American lobster, and that experience hinges on one thing — the lobster getting there alive.
That's a looming problem, according to some members of the American lobster industry, who are concerned that lobsters' shells are getting weaker. Scientific evidence about the issue paints a complicated picture.
U.S. lobster exports to Asian countries have increased exponentially this decade, and American shippers prefer lobsters with hard, sturdy shells to survive the long journey to places such as Beijing and Seoul.
But some members of U.S. industry have complained in recent years of poor shell quality among lobsters, most of which are plucked from the ocean off Canada and New England. They've raised concerns about warming ocean waters or acidification of the ocean having a negative effect on lobster shells.
Scientists said there is a correlation between higher temperatures and increased shell disease, but incidence of the disease is very low off Maine, the nation's top lobster-producing state. Lobstermen also are catching lots of lobsters in the summer, when the creatures molt and are softer. Otherwise, there isn't much hard evidence to suggest lobster shells are weakening, scientists said.
Here are some issues raised by the industry and what the science says:
———
WHY DOES THE INDUSTRY PREFER STRONG SHELLS?
There's a lot of money at stake in getting lobsters to their destinations alive. American lobsters were worth a record $669.3 million at the docks in 2016, a year in which fishermen caught nearly 160 million pounds of the crustaceans.
While lobster meat is used in some processed products, such as lobster macaroni and cheese and lobster bisque, the whole live lobster is one of the biggest draws in the seafood world. It's also the sought-after item in the booming Chinese market, which took a record of nearly 18 million pounds of U.S. lobster last year
A lobster with a harder, sturdier shell has a better chance to live through the one- to two-daylong journey.
Bill Bruns, operations manager for The Lobster Company of Arundel, Maine, said "finding and producing enough product that's possible to ship" has become a problem.
———
WHAT DOES THE SCIENCE SAY?
Rick Wahle, a University of Maine zoologist who studies lobsters, said he hasn't "heard anything that lobsters are necessarily getting softer." But he and many other scientists said lobsters do face environmental challenges that could impact their ability to be shipped.
Wahle and others said the jury is still out on whether the increasing acidification of the ocean is one of those factors. There appear to be subtle effects on lobster larvae from acidification, but nothing to suggest something as dramatic as weaker shells, he said.
It's possible that processors are just seeing more "soft shell" lobsters that have recently molted, which is a natural process necessary for them to grow, Wahle said.
A 2017 study that appeared in the scientific journal FACETS looked at the subject of the health of soft-shelled lobsters in southwestern Nova Scotia. It concluded that future research is needed "to evaluate the effects of long-term ecosystem change on shell-quality."
———
DO WARMING OCEANS PLAY A ROLE?
Many lobsters live in the Gulf of Maine, which is warming faster than most of the world's oceans. This poses many challenges to lobsters, including potential changes to their access to food and the abundance of predators.
It also raises concerns about epizootic shell disease, which disfigures lobsters to the point that they can't be sold. The Maine Department of Marine Resources said researchers found the disease in about 1 percent of lobsters last year after almost never finding it as recently as a decade or so ago.
Justin Ries, a marine biogeochemist with Northeastern University, said it's important to monitor for the disease. The incidence of the disease is much higher off of southern New England, where the lobster fishery collapsed. Ries attributed the collapse to a combination of overfishing and population shifts caused by warming waters.
———
WHAT IS THE INDUSTRY DOING?
Whether or not lobster shells really are getting weaker, the industry is working on ways to make them stronger.
One Portland firm, Ready Seafood Co., is partnering with the University of Maine to try to harden lobster shells for better shipping. Curt Brown, a marine biologist with the company, said Ready hopes to "expedite that natural process" with strategies such as manipulating the ion concentrations in the tanks where it stores lobsters.
The goal is to consistently improve a soft-shelled lobster to one that can survive an over the span of a week, Brown said.



How to Make Baked Scallops with Ritz Crackers Topping



A reader favorite, this simple recipe for baked scallops with Ritz crackers has stood the test of time. Here's how to make it at home.
Amy Traverso


A note on scallops: the best-tasting ones are natural or “dry” scallops, which look like those in the photo below. Many supermarkets sell scallops that come soaked in a bath of sodium tripolyphosphate, which causes them to swell with water, thereby diluting their flavor. You can easily recognize those scallops because of their milky white appearance. Such treated scallops are  less expensive per pound (though more profitable for the packer, since you’re paying for more water weight per pound). If you can find natural scallops on sale, you’ll enjoy their superior flavor and texture. But this recipe will work well with either type.
To start, arrange two pounds of scallops in a single layer in a 9- by 13-inch baking dish (our retro enamel pan was a bit smaller, so we used an additional dish for the overflow). Preheat your oven to 325° and set a rack to the second-from-the-top position.
In a small bowl, stir together 1 cup of crushed Ritz crackers (or similar), and 1/4 teaspoon each of garlic salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle this over the scallops. Next, sprinkle 1/4 cup of Parmesan.
Sprinkle all over with butter, lemon, and vermouth, cover with foil, then transfer to the oven.
Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. At this point, the scallops will be cooked through, but if you’d like to brown the top a bit more, turn your oven to the “broil” setting and let the top sizzle for a minute or two (do not move the pan closer to the flame), keeping a close eye on the pan the entire time.
Serve the baked scallops hot, sprinkled with fresh herbs like chopped chives or parsley, if you like, and garnished with a bit of lemon.
For more, check out our scallops guide for the difference between sea scallops and bay scallops, and try our recipe for light and crispy oven-fried scallops.
This post was first published in 2016 and has been updated.


Crispy Summer Flounder Recipe with Scallion-Corn Ragout
Toasted wheat germ and cornmeal combine to create a light, crunchy crust in this summer flounder recipe from 2007, which also tastes wonderful with homemade tartar sauce. A scallion-corn ragout only brightens the flavor of the delicate fish. Soaking the flounder fillets in milk before cooking plumps the meat and helps keep it moist.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Ingredients
1-1/2 pounds boneless summer flounder (fluke) fillets
1 cup milk
2 bunches scallions (about 6), trimmed and thinly sliced
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups corn kernels (about 5 ears)
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup packed small fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup minced chives
1 large lemon, cut into 6 wedges


Instructions
Place fish in a large dish and cover with milk. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook scallions in 2 tablespoons oil until softened, about 1 minute. Stir in garlic and corn; cook 3 minutes. Reduce heat to very low, cover, and keep warm.

Combine wheat germ, cornmeal, salt, and cayenne in a large, flat dish. Whisk to mix. Remove fish from refrigerator and drain off milk. Dredge each fillet in wheat germ-cornmeal mixture and place on a baking sheet. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large, nonstick skillet over high setting. Place half the fillets in pan and cook 3 minutes on each side, adding more oil and adjusting heat slightly if they start to brown too quickly. Transfer cooked fillets to a platter. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to skillet and cook remaining flounder.

Just before serving, stir basil and chives into corn ragout. Season with salt to taste. Spoon some ragout onto individual plates and top each serving with a fish fillet and lemon wedge. Let guests squeeze lemon over fish at the table.

Helen’s Haddock Fish Chowder | Maine



Rich and thick with Maine potatoes and fresh haddock, this haddock fish chowder is a Down East classic.


Yankee Magazine • 



Helen’s Haddock Fish Chowder | Maine
When Helen and Larry Mugnai opened Helen’s Restaurant in Machias, Maine, in 1950, their haddock fish chowder—made with North Atlantic fish—was served only on Fridays. So you can thank current owners Julie and David Barker, who made some slight alterations (let’s call them improvements) to the “wildly popular” chowder, for making it a daily item. The simplicity of this haddock fish chowder is all Down East ingenuity: The haddock is cooked in the potato water, and that broth becomes the basis of the chowder. When a devastating fire forced the Barkers to rebuild their restaurant, they upgraded the design by relocating a fireplace and adding small conference rooms and a bar, but they knew where to draw the line: They wouldn’t dream of changing the menu, which means that the haddock fish chowder is here to stay.


Helen's Original Fish Chowder
Ingredients
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium-size onion, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
4 cups water
2 medium-size russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 1/2 - 3 pounds skinned fresh haddock, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried dill


Instructions
In a 5- to 7-quart pot over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside.

Pour the water into a 3- to 4-quart pot and add the potatoes. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes. Remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the fish to the potato liquid and simmer until the fish begins to flake, about 10 minutes. Remove the fish with a slotted spoon and add it and the potatoes to the cooked onions in the larger pot. Stir.

Slowly add the potato/fish broth and the heavy cream to the onion/fish/potato mixture. Stir well. Add the salt and white pepper; then add the dill. Simmer gently over low heat for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve hot. 

Oyster Guide | New England Oysters



Our New England oyster guide will help you find the best oysters to suit your needs and please your taste buds.
Annie Copps


Oysters are all about the place from which they hail, and New England oysters are no exception. Below you’ll find an oyster guide to some of the delectable oysters grown in the chilly waters of coastal New England. All are eastern oysters, but each type boasts a distinctive taste peculiar to the salty cove, plankton-rich bay, or brackish river where they are grown.




NEW ENGLAND OYSTERS
Bagaduce (Maine):
Deep cups, with a fruity, almost berry-like finish. The Indian name means “fast water.”


Barnstable (Massachusetts):
White to brown in coloring, with medium cups and light and clean brininess; somewhat sweet.


Cotuit (Massachusetts):
Medium to large size; silky-smooth meat, with a clean and lingering ocean essence.


Glidden Point (Maine):
Big boys from the Damariscotta River, with a slightly briny, crisp, and clean ocean flavor.
Island Creek (Massachusetts):
Large shells with small meat; sweet and slightly nutty in flavor.


Moonstone (Rhode Island):
Often power washed to produce pearl-white shells; silky-smooth meat with a full-bodied, rich saltiness.


Pemaquid (Maine):
Very plump, with a crisp, cold-water richness.
Stonington (Connecticut):
Deep cups filled with plump meats; mild saltiness and a sweet finish.


Ninigret (Rhode Island):
Medium size, with a creamy, nutlike taste at first and a clean, briny finish.


Wellfleet (Massachusetts):
Wild samples vary from very good to excellent; deep cups brimming with strong brininess and a sweet seaweed flavor. Farmed Wellfleets are also consistently good, with a similar sweet and briny taste and a coppery finish.
This New England oyster guide was written thanks in part to chef Gregg Reeves, B&G Oysters, Ltd., 550 Tremont St., Boston, MA; 617-423-0550. bandgoysters.com