by Lucy de Souza
Artist Carol Boye is no stranger to East End. “I’ve grown up on the water out here, I’ve been sailing here my whole life,” she said. In her spare time, Boye enjoys being out on the water not only sailing but crabbing, clamming and even helping an 85 year-old friend set nets for fishing. However, in the past few years she has noticed a growing problem that has threatened the East End: the quality of local waters and sea-life have decreased. Like many concerned seafaring folk before her, Boye decided to take action. But perhaps in a more unconventional way: she decided to put together a cookbook.
Of all the different ways to support a cause, why a cookbook? “It just popped into my head and it just seemed like a really good idea to kind of tie my passions together.” Boye explained.
Following in this aquatic theme, the cookbook is entitled, “Go Fish” and is comprised of fish recipes by local residents, artists and chefs as well as images of local artwork depicting the East End.
The cookbook features 136 recipes, from the familiar baked clams to the more foreign “Mille Feuillie de Saumon Mordue d’Huites Grattinees”. Celebrity chef George Hirsch—who contributed a recipe for “Peconic Scallops and Pasta with Garlic Sauce”—described “Go Fish” as being special because it includes a wide assortment of meals. “It’s very varied and I think it’s really wonderful that [Boye] chose a whole variety of the community to come together…it’s just wonderful to have this collection of our community because everyone brings something to the table, so to speak.”
According to Chef Randy Reiss, of 230 Elm Street Catering, what makes “Go Fish” different than other fish cookbooks is that the fish in it can be caught and cooked in the area. He describes the flavors in “Go Fish” as one of a kind. “[The fish] are native to this area and you’re only going to get that unique flavor here.” he said, noting that there are some species of fish that exist here on the East End that don’t exist anywhere else in the world.
The recipes in the cookbook submitted by Reiss are “Grilled Oyster Lemon Lime Chive Buerr Blance with Caviar” and “Clams Casino,” both of which he said are big hits at parties he caters.
Reiss also applauded the cookbook for its friendliness towards the average cook who “wants to develop a palette for East End food” and “wants an adventure” when experimenting with new cuisine. Hirsch agrees. He describes the taste of East End fish as “pristine” and simple. It’s food you can take straight from the sea, to the flame, to the plate. “It’s already been well flavored just by living in our waters, no need to muck it up,” he said.
By supporting the “Go Fish” cookbook, readers also support the preservation of the East End’s unique qualities. “[“Go Fish”] will bring greater awareness to the connection between the people and the resource and hopefully they will no longer take for granted the bounty of the bay,” Peconic Baykeeper president Kevin McAllister said.
The book benefits two important programs: The Peconic Baykeeper, who plays guardian to local waters by enforcing protective policies; and the reseeding program, responsible for restocking the bays with shellfish.
“There’s something special about sitting at a seafood restaurant on the water and eating seafood caught out of that bay,” Boye added, “If you take that away from here, we lose a lot.”
“You gotta have a bowl of mussels or a lobster or a couple of dozen of clams over the course of the summer or else its not summer. It’s apart of what the summer time ritual is,” said Don Sullivan owner of Southampton Publick house and close friend of Boye.
Boye continued to say that passionate effort was put into the book by all of those involved. As Chef Reiss said, “It really comes from the heart.”
“Go Fish” is available for purchase at several East End locations. For the full list, visit www.gofishbenefit.com. The book sells for $24.95.