Brewster Fish House Salmon

Dining at Brewster Fish House a Delightful Experience

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If you’d like to try a restaurant, but their dinner prices are a bit high for your budget, lunch is a great option. It allows you to sample a chef’s flavor profiles without the big price dinner sometimes carries. It also gives you a good idea if you would like to go back for dinner.

The Brewster Fish House is a former farm stand and then fish market that has evolved into a contemporary dining establishment. It’s not usual to see lines out the door in the summer, at least in part because they don’t take reservations. The interior is comfortable with stenciled wood floors, wainscoting and art that reflects both its past with historical photographs and its menu with whimsical fish.

It was a Saturday afternoon, so we decided to do a leisurely lunch. We started with a soup course. My husband ordered the Billi Bi ($6) from the specials page. It was basically a chowder made with mussels and it was such a pleasant surprise. Six tender muscles were nestled in a flavorful cream based broth that was colored a lovely shade of peach.

The clam chowder ($6) was equally wonderful, with chopped bits of clams, white fish, ribbons of leeks and small diced potatoes. The broth had a very unique clam flavor – not briny, but pure sweet clam.

It’s a fact that my husband has not been able to resist telling everyone he knows that his Cioppino ($18) is the best he’s ever had. “Better than the one you had in San Francisco?” someone asked. “Yes, and only $18,” was his answer.

The tomato and fennel based broth was perfectly seasoned, and filled with three clams, three mussels and three shrimp in shell. A piece of cod was tucked in the bottom along with rings of calamari. Tentacles of squid were perfectly placed within the dish to create an artful visual effect. The dish was topped with an oyster in its shell with a toasted garlic crostini on the side.

It was a beautiful meal in every way – and each individual type of seafood was cooked perfectly, which is hard to accomplish in a dish with such a diversity of seafood.

My grilled True North salmon ($17) was a light dish which nicely reflected a lunch the size a lunch entrée should be. The salmon was lean with grill marks that were enhanced by the cross vertical lines of Dijon enhanced yogurt sauce that added a piquant flavor. The hot salmon was placed on a bed of spinach in a way that wilted the spinach just enough to be a cross between a salad and a perfectly cooked vegetable. Strips of thinly sliced prosciutto seasoned the spinach.

I love salmon, but rarely order it out because farm raised salmon scares me. But I had done research on True North Salmon before we dined out and the company is devoted to clean practices and non GMO, so I decided to give it a chance. I wasn’t sorry.

For a beverage, my husband ordered a bottle of Delirium Tremens ($10), which the menu touted as one of the best beers in the world. The slightly effervescent hoppy beer was indeed a delight. The minerality of my glass of Maison L’Envoyé white burgundy ($12) made it a fine accompaniment to my salmon dish.

In a rare treat (for lunchtime), we ordered crème brulee ($10) to share for dessert. The custard had discernable bits of real vanilla bean and the crunch of the torched sugar topping was pleasing to the ear and to the taste buds.

It was a perfect ending for a near perfect meal. Our lunch at the Brewster Fish House did in fact convince us that the chef is spot on in his flavors and presentation. It pretty much guaranteed we’ll go back for dinner.

Brewster Fish House, 2208 Main St., 508-896-7867, brewsterfishhouse.com

Hours: serving lunch and dinner daily from 11:30 a.m. in season.

Roasted Garlic White Bean Hummus

Roasted Garlic and White Bean Hummus

Fridays are my favorite day of the week. It has long been our date night and we rarely make plans to do anything because we are both ready to just relax at home by then. This is even more true lately, because life just seems more fraught and busier than ever these days.

The leisure of a Friday night, cooking together and catching up, is as welcome as a warm afghan on a cold day. We start texting each other by mid-afternoon with ideas for dinner. The Kitchen Genius’ ideas usually trump mine because he seems to be fussier on any given day than I am. Not that he’s actually fussy. Far from it. That man will eat just about anything.

But he has a fickler palate on a day to day basis. It’s not worth arguing about because we always eat very well. What difference does it make to me whether we eat linguini with white clam sauce or marinated lamb chops? I love it all.

Around 6 p.m. on Fridays, I turn off my laptop and he pulls into the driveway. I put Pandora “Dinner Party Radio” on my phone and turn on the speakers. Then I make cocktails while he unloads whatever groceries he picked up on his way home. His new favorite cocktail is a bourbon Negroni, which is equal parts bourbon, Campari and sweet vermouth, shaken and served straight up. I generally have an old-fashioned on the rocks because it’s perfect for slow sipping.

Friday is the only night we always make an appetizer to go along with our cocktails. Some weeks they are simple, like cheese stuffed mushroom caps or oysters with mignonette. We were so in love with oysters ceviche a while back that we ate it every week for a month. Stuffies are another favorite along with clams casino.

Our new favorite appetizer is a new recipe we tried on Easter. Our crowd of over 20 could not get enough of the crostini topped with roasted garlic and white bean hummus we made. It is one of the simplest recipes you can make, so this will certainly be on the menu at our next dinner party.

Foods come and go from favor all the time. Roasted garlic was the darling of most chefs a few years ago. Then it kind of got forgotten, although my son in law tells me the roasted black garlic is a current rage.

Roasting garlic is incredibly easy. You simply slice the top off of a whole bulb of garlic cloves, drizzle it with some olive oil and wrap in up in a little foil packet. Tuck it into a 300-degree oven for about 45 minutes. Slow cooking garlic in its skin transforms it from something with a lot of bite to something that is incredibly smooth and sweet.

Roasted Garlic

To remove the garlic from the skins, turn it upside down over a bowl and squeeze. Each tender garlic bulb will pop right out. At this point, no one would fault you if you smothered a few cloves of it onto a waiting slab on a nice crusty piece of bread, but patience offers a bigger reward. When the roasted garlic is pureed with cannellini beans, olive oil and fresh rosemary, the result will make you forget that butter exists as a condiment for bread.

To make crostini I start with a long baguette, cut into fairly thin slices, which I arrange on a baking sheet. First I take a peeled clove of garlic and slice it in half. Then I run the cut side of the garlic over the top of each crostini. I use a small pastry brush to spread a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil on each slice. A light sprinkling of salt adds flavor. Broil the crostini for about one minute until golden brown.

You want to make these at the last minute so they stay crisp, rather than becoming chewy. To serve, arrange the crostini on a platter and put the hummus in a small bowl. Place colorful toppings like Kalamata olives, marinated sweet red peppers and marinated mushrooms in other bowls so guests can create their own crostini.

Roasted Garlic White Bean Hummus
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Roasted Garlic White Bean Hummus
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
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Ingredients
  • 1 bulb garlic , roasted
  • 1 can white cannellini beans (15 ounce), drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary , minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 grinds fresh black pepper
Servings:
Instructions
Roast Garlic
  1. Slice the top off of a whole bulb of garlic cloves, drizzle it with some olive oil and wrap in up in a little foil packet. Tuck it into a 300-degree oven for about 45 minutes.
  2. To remove the garlic from the skins, turn it upside down over a bowl and squeeze. Each tender garlic bulb will pop right out.
    Roasted Garlic
Hummus
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth, about one minute.
  2. Serve as topping for crostini or with white toasted pita wedges for dipping.
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