Boston Classic

by Sean Kenniff
Aliza Eliazarov
June 2015

Recipes

Restaurant

Chowder. Oysters. Bluefish. Brown bread. They’re as Boston as the Red Sox, The Commons, and the infamous accent. These Beantown chefs are honoring the foods that have fed Boston since the beginning. But each is plying them with technique and their own personal touches, modernizing these classics without cutting them off from their essential roots. Through food, these chefs are continuing to tell the story of their culinary home.

Oyster Pan-Roast
Chef Jesse Souza formerly of The Café at the Taj Hotel – Boston, MA

“An oyster pan roast is a classic Northeast dish, from the most simple versions with oysters and their liquor barely warmed in cream, butter, and salt, to more intricate versions like this, which is almost a fricassee. It’s a dish that can be served beautifully in any coastal location, [even in Seattle, where Souza is stationed now as executive chef of The Edgewater], but will always evoke winter in Boston. It carries memories: Where did I eat the last one? Where was the best one? Who was I with that winter day?” - Jesse Souza

Roasted Cod, Crushed Olive Oil Potatoes, Bacon-Mussel Chowder Nage
Chef William Kovel of Catalyst – Cambridge, MA

“It’s New England in a Bowl. I cooked it in 2001 for my dad, and he loved it. I’ve been doing a version of it ever since. It’s the right mix of salt, mussels, clams, and fish—really well balanced. After you eat it, you still feel good.” –  William Kovel 

Bluefish Potato Salad
Chef Jason Albus formerly of Fairsted Kitchen – Brookline, MA

“We try to represent the people, places, and history of the neighborhood. Everyone in America can identify with potato salad, especially during summer. We’ve put a spin on it, made it German style. The smoked bluefish replaces the classic bacon, but still has that smoky flavor. We want to create a sense of nostalgia for the locals, a new experience for visitors, and use ingredients with which everyone can identify—along with a cold beer or high-acid white wine.” - Jason Albus (He's currently working on a new Lowcountry concept called The Frogmore which is scheduled to open summer 2015 in the Jamaica Plains neighborhood of Boston.)

Steamed Boston Brown Bread
Baker Christy Timon of Clear Flour Bakery – Brookline, MA

“I experimented with and adapted my formula [for Boston brown bread] from an original recipe in an old cookbook. A very old, small, blue two volume set that I think was called American Heritage Cookbook. For the early settlers, this was a celebration bread, with the richness of raisins and strong molasses. It’s completely wholegrain and uses no fat or eggs—they used what they had around. The bread represents part of New England history. If a recipe has stood the test of time, it deserves to be expressed to the best of my ability.” - Christy Timon