A Taste of Martha’s Vineyard: The Black Dog Tavern’s Quahog Chowder


The Black Dog Tavern's Quahog Chowder

On Labor Day weekend I fell in love. With Martha’s Vineyard, that is. And an amazing clam chowder from a famous little place called The Black Dog Tavern in Vineyard Haven on the harbor. The Black Dog’s story began in 1971 on the beach in Vineyard Haven when Captain Bob Douglas opened an 88 seat restaurant named for his beloved black dog. The tavern has grown from a small island haunt to a nationally renowned restaurant with stores and merchandise branded in the Black Dog Tavern name. No trip to the Vineyard is complete without a meal at The Black Dog, especially to try their infamous Quahog Chowder that’s been on the menu since 1971!

Quahogs are hard shell clams, different from soft shell clams, otherwise known as “steamers”. This recipe is from The Black Dog Summer on the Vineyard Cookbook that I acquired on my recent trip. It is fairly easy to make, and a little more time consuming if you are using fresh clams but totally worth the effort for that fresh flavor. It’s rich and creamy, has a touch of thyme and paprika and lots of delicious clams, potatoes, celery and onion making it the perfect chowda’ for a Fall afternoon.

Serve with crusty bread, oyster crackers or croutons and a glass of white wine or a locally brewed ale. Now all you need is the gorgeous view of Martha’s Vineyard harbor to make it a true New England experience! (p.s. I’m moving there – someday!) Oh, and stay tuned for the full report and photos of my Boston and Martha’s Vineyard Labor Day weekend trip. More foodie fun to come! Enjoy. ~AG

Ingredients

2 oz salt pork, rind removed (or 8-10 slices of bacon, diced)
2 c diced onion
1 c diced celery
3 c diced potatoes
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground black pepper
4 c shelled quahogs with juice – 6 lbs in shell (or use jarred whole baby clams)
1/2 c salted butter (1 stick)
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 qts. light cream (or 1 qt heavy cream + 1 pint half and half)

Preparation

Dice the salt pork or bacon and saute in a large pot until translucent. If using bacon, saute over high heat until cooked through, then drain fat except for 2 tbsp. and return to the pot. Add the onions and celery and saute for 5 minutes.

Pour in about 1 1/2 cups of the clam juice and add the potatoes and seasonings. Simmer the mixture until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

Roux

Melt the butter in a small saucepan. When it is bubbling, add the flour and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often. This is called a “roux”.

Roughly chop the quahogs, reserving any liquid (if you use whole baby clams you can skip this step).

When the potatoes are tender, add the quahogs to the large pot and simmer for 2 minutes.

Stir in the roux and continue simmering for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. This is your chowder base.

Scalded Cream

In a separate saucepan, scald the cream by heating it on high until small bubbles appear around the edges of the pan. Do not boil.

The Black Dog Tavern Quahog Chowder

Stir in the hot scalded cream into the chowder base, mix together, and remove from the heat.

B.D. Quahog Chowder

At The Black Dog, they serve it topped with croutons and a dollop of butter, accompanied by oyster crackers or crusty bread. Garnish with paprika and enjoy!

Serves 8 to 10.

The Black Dog Summer Vineyard Cookbook

The Black Dog Tavern Martha's Vineyard

The Black Dog Tavern Martha's Vineyard

The Black Dog Tavern

View of Martha's Vineyard harbor from The Black Dog

The Black Dog Tavern

More Clam Chowder Recipes you may enjoy:

Thick and Creamy New England Clam Chowder – Food.com

Epicurious Clam Chowder Recipe

Dave Lieberman’s Clam Chowder

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Fresh from the Farm Market: Herbed Potato Salad & Strawberry Watermelon Salad


Summertime always remind me of home – when the sun is shining, a warm breeze is in the air, locusts are humming and all the flowers, fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables are in full bloom. There’s a small local farmer’s market up in Webster, NY not far from where I grew up that I used to visit with my Mom as a kid. We would buy fresh apple cider and donuts, pumpkins for Halloween and fresh corn and melons for our summer picnics. This year I went home to visit for Fourth of July weekend, and my Mom and I visited once again to buy some fresh fruit and veggies for our holiday BBQ feast.

Herman's Farm Market & Cider Mill

Herman's Farm Market & Cider Mill

I was craving some juicy watermelon and strawberries and went on a mission. There’s nothing like that first bite of sweet, cool, bright pink flesh of melon and ruby red berries in the summertime.

Fresh Watermelons

Fresh Watermelons

This Watermelon and Strawberry Salad is a simple combination of fresh watermelon, strawberries and a few blueberries mixed in with a little bit of lemon juice, sugar and water to make a simple refreshing syrup to macerate the fruit. This is how we traditionally make the fruit salad but you can also toss the fruit in a citrus infused balsamic vinegar for a tangy contrast with the sweet fruit – a good friend of mine made this salad and used Tavern on the Green Citrus which has a blend of orange, tangerine and lime essence and is just as delicious!

Ripe Juicy Strawberries

Ripe Juicy Strawberries

I found a recipe for a French Potato Salad made with salt potatoes and fresh herbs, a lightened up version from the heavier mayonnaise-laden salads from our family picnics of the past.

Salt Potatoes

Salt Potatoes

It calls for salt (or new) potatoes (red or yellow), shallots, parsley and thyme tossed in an oil, vinegar and Dijon mustard base making it light and tangy.

Italian Parsley

Italian Parsley

Fresh parsley adds some green…and the sweet shallots mixed with thyme, dill and onions gives it nice fresh flavor. I added some dried dill (you could also use fresh) and a few chopped green onions for an extra dash of flavor – délicieux!

Shallots

Shallots

Fresh market grown. Simple, fast and delicious. And most of all homemade with love, and my Mom – just like the good old days.

French Herbed Potato Salad

French Herbed Potato Salad

French Herbed Potato Salad

Ingredients

2 lbs red or yellow salt potatoes, halved
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1/4 c olive oil (light yellow, not extra virgin)
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp Champagne vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tbsp dried or fresh dill
1/4 small Vidalia onion, chopped fine
1-2 green onions, sliced

Preparation

Place potatoes in a large pot of cold salted water covering potatoes by about an inch. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Run under cold water to cool slightly, then drain.

While potatoes are cooking, whisk together oil, mustard, vinegar, shallot, parsley, thyme and dill in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Add cooked potatoes and chopped onion and 1/2 of the green onions to the dressing and toss to combine. Garnish with additional green onions and parsley and serve at room temperature.

Serves 6-8. 

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living.

Strawberry Watermelon Salad

Strawberry Watermelon Salad

Strawberry Watermelon Salad

Ingredients

1/2 c sugar
1 c water
1/4 watermelon, cut into cubes
3 c strawberries, halved
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
1/2 lemon, squeezed for juice
garnish: fresh mint leaves (torn into small pieces) or microgreens

Preparation

To make the simple syrup, bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan, let simmer for about 5 minutes and cool.

Place watermelon, strawberries and blueberries in a large bowl and add the syrup, mixing well. Add a dash of lemon juice and garnish with mint or microgreens.

Serves 6.

Salad Nicoise for a Spring Day


Salad Nicoise

Salad Nicoise

Spring is about unearthing fresh things. Lighter things. Brighter things. Turning a new leaf. Dusting off and starting new. There’s something so refreshing about a lovely, fresh, healthy salad on a Spring Day and what better time to make one of my favorites: Salad Nicoise.

Salad Nicoise is known as a compound salad made with eggs, potatoes, green beans, salad greens, fresh tuna and Nicoise olives arranged in a colorful display. The salad is made with a Tarragon Vinaigrette for the potatoes and with a Red wine vinaigrette drizzled over the entire salad platter at the end. We start by making the vinaigrette dressings, then boil the potatoes, beans, eggs in separate pots. The tomatoes are blanched for a minute and then cooled in an ice bath for peeling and quartering. The fresh tuna is seared in olive oil over a high heat until it has a crispy crust and then cut into slices. This recipe makes a large serving for 6-8 people which can be halved if you’re serving for a smaller crowd (or quartered if just making this lovely dish for yourself!) – Profiter!

Salad Nicoise

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

 Tarragon Vinaigrette

3 tbsp tarragon wine vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
¾ cup olive oil
1 large shallot, finely minced
¼ c or more chopped fresh tarragon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Red Wine Vinaigrette

3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
¾ cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
3 tbsp minced fresh green herbs (basil, parsley or tarragon)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salad 

3 cups (2 lbs) red-skinned potatoes
¼ c. dry white wine
3 c (1 lb) baby green beans (haricots verts)
3-4 tomatoes
1 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1 lb fresh tuna (or 2 cans imported tuna in olive oil)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 head Boston lettuce leaves, washed, drained and dried
3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and quartered
6 anchovy fillets, soaked in water for 20 minutes and cut lengthwise
½ cup Nicoise olives

Preparation

Make the tarragon vinaigrette. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and mustard. Whisk until well blended. Slowly, in a thin stream, add the oil, whisking constantly, until it is emulsified into the vinegar and mustard. Stir in the shallot and tarragon and season with salt and pepper. Reserve.

Make the red wine vinaigrette. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and mustard. Whisk until well blended. Slowly, in a thin stream, add the oil, whisking constantly, until it is emulsified into the vinegar and mustard. Stir in the garlic and fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper. Reserve.

Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until just done, about 20 mins. Drain in a colander and allow the potatoes to cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, cut the potatoes into ¼ inch slices or a medium dice. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl and pour the wine over. Toss to coat and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. When the potatoes are completely cool, drain them of any excess wine and toss them with the tarragon vinaigrette. Reserve.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Trim the beans at the stem end leaving the tails intact. Add the beans to the boiling water and cook until just done, about 5 mins. Remove the beans with a slotted spoon, reserving the water. Drain and refresh under cold water. Drain again.

Return the salted water to a boil. Core the tomatoes and make an X in the bases just deep enough to score the skin. Fill a large bowl with ice and water and have it nearby. When the water boils, add the tomatoes and blanch them for 1 minutes. With a slotted spoon, immediately transfer the tomatoes to the ice bath. When cool, remove the skins and cut the tomatoes into quarters and eighths.

To prepare the fresh tuna, in a heavy skillet heat the oil over a high heat. Lightly salt and pepper the tuna and sauté until the fish has a golden crust and is rare to medium-rare in the center, 2-3 minutes per side. Cool and cut into slices or 1 inch cubes.

To assemble the final presentation of the salad: drizzle the beans and tomatoes with some of the red wine vinaigrette. If using canned tuna, lightly flake and toss with the vinaigrette lightly. Place the lettuce leaves around the edge of the salad platter. Drape the eggs with the anchovies. Arrange the tomato alternately with the olives, eggs and string beans. Mound the potato salad on the platter. Arrange the tuna next to the potatoes and drizzle the remaining red wine vinaigrette over all. Serve.


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