Maine Classics

More than 150 Delicious Recipes from Down East


By Mark Gaier

By Clark Frasier

Foreword by Barbara Fairchild

With Rachel Forrest

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Maine food is about putting on a bib and getting messy with lobster in the summer. In the winter, it’s about tossing brisket and potatoes in a pot on the back of the woodstove. Maine Classics brings the carefree spirit of those who work the land and sea to life.

More than 150 simple, straightforward dishes are organized by the shore, the sea, the forest, the farm, the garden, the dairy, and the bakery. Celebrate Maine’s bounty with recipes such as Ham with Fried Apples, Corn Fritters with Maple Syrup, Classic Lobster Rolls, and Pickled Fiddlehead Ferns. Stories of farmers, lobstermen, cheesemakers, and old-school bakers “infuse our cooking and inspire us to explore our own culinary legacies,” say award-winning authors Mark and Clark. Chock-full of full-color photographs, this cookbook is definitely a Maine classic.


at Arrows, MC Perkins Cove, and Summer Winter,
their hard work and loyalty helped to
make Maine Classics possible

COMMITMENT AND INNOVATION AREN'T NECESSARILY TERMS THAT go together. One can be committed to something, but not necessarily change with the times or devise anything new; one can be innovative—changing and moving—but not committed to an ideal. But commitment and innovation blend admirably and completely in the character and skills of Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier.
I've known them for a long time—maybe even at the beginning: they probably cooked for me at Stars in San Francisco without me knowing it. I was much lower on the masthead then to be sure, and they were cooking on the line, working hard, honing their talents, refining the techniques and signature style that would eventually define them back east in Ogunquit, Maine. In 1988 they opened what was to become their landmark Arrows restaurant, followed seventeen years later by the energetic MC Perkins Cove with its mesmerizing seaside view, and then on even further into New England.
Theirs is a commitment not only to their own cherished families, but, of course, to their customers—regulars and first-timers alike—and to their amazing staff. They are committed to the extraordinary farmers and food artisans and other suppliers who contribute to their success, and perhaps most importantly, to their community. They know the importance of encouraging local spirit and fostering relationships to help build and maintain their dream. After all, Maine is their home, and their love for and enjoyment of it infuses everything they do. And their commitment also comes to friendship: "Mark and Clark," as they are known, have become family. To my second family, that is the amazing and dedicated staff at Bon Appétit, they have been welcome and valued contributors many times over; to my first and natural family, they have become true friends, and to me personally, thoughtful confidants. We have spent many wonderful evenings together catching up over a good meal and good wines, laughing and connecting in ways that only time around a dinner table can provide.
That their food is always innovative and delicious goes without saying—but I will. There is never a false note, and for the two of them, the process of creating a new dish is rewarding and fun. They still take time to travel the world to discover new flavors, translating each new ingredient, new taste, and new passion to the plate. And now for you, onto the pages of this book.
You're in for a treat. Consider yourselves lucky to have such committed and innovative friends as Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier in your home kitchen. I know that I do.
Barbara Fairchild
former Editor-in-Chief
Bon Appétit Magazine
Los Angeles

A Life in Maine
WHEN WE FIRST CAME TO MAINE AND OPENED ARROWS IN A RUSTIC colonial farmhouse in 1988, we never thought that two dozen years later we'd have two more restaurants, more than just a few awards, and international acclaim for our gardens and our cuisine. We dreamed about it, of course, but it was tough going at first so it all seemed far away. We also never thought we'd finally feel like "Mainers," but we do. Many New Englanders will say we're still "from away," and we can accept that; after all, there have been true Maine families here for centuries. Through getting to know the hard-working people who helped us find the ingredients we needed to start our first restaurant (and who still help us today) and by relying on the old ways and food traditions of Maine to inspire our cuisine, we feel we've become a part of the life and landscape of this beautiful state and of New England. That's why we wrote this book, as an homage to what Maine has given us. In turn, we're eager to share with anyone who loves Maine or wants to learn about cooking with Maine traditions and the foods that come from here, the wisdom from what we've learned in our almost twenty-five years in this wonderful place.
Our three restaurants reflect our connection to New England. At Arrows, we try to cook in the old ways, making all of our dishes from scratch. We use mushrooms foraged in the dark forest near our house and restaurant and cure hams and prosciutto made from pigs raised just a few miles away. We make our own ice cream from milk from nearby dairies and, of course, our garden holds two hundred seventy different kinds of vegetables and herbs. We love to find centuries-old New England recipes and use our own style and the influences from our travels in Southeast Asia and beyond to create something surprising but still familiar. Everything we do at Arrows is taken from that spirit, an echo of the old ways and those artisan food producers who still honor them today.
MC Perkins Cove is in many ways a reflection of that same spirit, but in a much more down-to-earth and straightforward way. Arrows is off the beaten path. It's an elegant experience and more of a destination restaurant, but MC is smack dab in the middle of the tourist area of Ogunquit, on a rocky shore in gorgeous Perkins Cove. It's a real American restaurant and, more than that, a Maine restaurant with a view of the ocean where the lobsters and oysters are caught the same day our guests crack them open and then slurp them with gusto. It's a lively place and we love that vivacious vibe where the lobstermen can feel comfortable having a beer at the end of the day sitting right near a gathering of ladies celebrating a baby shower. The food is still made from scratch, still from our own land and sea, but the feeling is all about celebration.
An hour and a half drive to Burlington, Massachusetts, seems a world away from Maine. Summer Winter at the Marriott Hotel, our latest restaurant, is right in the heart of Boston's "Silicon Valley," and our challenge was to plant the seed of authenticity in a place that is emblematic of ferocious modernism. The first step was to create a real, onsite, working garden complete with a greenhouse and a full-time gardener. A kitchen garden at a hotel off a highway is a fairly novel idea, but we had to have it to create the restaurant we wanted, one in which food was valued, made from real ingredients, and grown the right way.
Maine is a beautiful place with mountains to ski and climb, wild rivers still pure enough to drink from, where you can still land a brook trout. The forests are home to deer and quail, ancient apple orchards, and wild onions. And, of course, there's our gorgeous coast that vacationers flock to every summer, where artists and writers find inspiration, and from which many Mainers make their living. As we've explored our awe-inspiring home state over the decades, we've come to know that Maine has many facets, and we've seen much of its complex and delightful character through its bountiful natural food resources. When we began to set up our restaurant, we needed to find local breads, eggs, meats, and more. It was tough going. Good ingredients were hard to find. Even buying a bottle of extra virgin olive oil was an ordeal and forget about cured hams. So, we set out to find what we needed in order to be able to make things like prosciutto ourselves. As the years have gone by, more people see the joys and benefits of eating local foods, growing your own vegetables, and supporting the regional food ways. The term "farm-to-table" wasn't around when we first started, but that was just what we did—brought ingredients from our own farm and from nearby farms right to the Arrows table. Now, we can offer so many of the things we learned through the recipes in this book, in simple dishes made from artisanal and local foods.
The seafood and lobster for our restaurants comes from the chilly, rough seas right nearby, brought to us by the people who caught it—often that very day—and we're dedicated to making sure our sea life stays in those waters for eons to come. Much of our cheese and butter comes from local artisan cheese makers who are constantly improving the selection and flavor of cheese made from grass-grazing Maine cows, preserving and evolving an ancient art. Now we have so many wonderful artisan bakers throughout the state, and there's a new breed of home chef who will trek out into the woods to find fiddleheads, morel mushrooms, and ramps each spring.
More Mainers are setting up root cellars to take advantage of their garden's delicious seasonal harvest even in our harsh and long winter months. Gardens abound now, from small patches beside an apartment building to acres of fertile fields near barns and pens of sheep. Our farmers' markets are simply the place to be on the weekends. More people every day are taking advantage of Maine's offerings: the blueberries, milk, mushrooms, and apples. We also have maple syrup, stone fruit, honey, and raspberries. Our oysters and lobsters are legendary. We've been so blessed to be a part of helping people find their way back to the old ways, raising their own food, cooking with simplicity. It all reminds us of the way we both grew up, pickling cucumbers in the summer to save for winter, stopping at the ice cream stand on a hot summer day, making applesauce, and braising the family meal using root vegetables right from the garden. It just tastes so much better when it's fresh from the land or sea.
As we've explored Maine, we've also explored its history. We're absolutely fascinated by how connected Maine has been to the world even centuries ago. Foods that became a part of our everyday supper table came from far away, brought to us on clipper ships that went around the world. Mainers in Bath and Brunswick built those far-reaching ships, and the exotic spices and herbs, the curry and ginger they brought back found their way to our tables. When we cook a good old Maine or New England recipe, we can touch history. When we put a forkful in our mouths, we wonder why it has molasses, how hominy is made, which tribe of indigenous people taught the original Mainers to find oysters and cook them in a pit filled with seaweed in the ground. There's always a story. There's always an adventure, a romance, and sometimes tragedy. These stories infuse our cooking and inspire us to explore our own culinary legacies in a place filled with the beauty of mountains, forests, fields, and rocky shores.
The recipes are classically Maine, and the stories here are all about Maine. The ingredients and combinations come from the history and legacy of Maine. They come from the land and the sea of Maine, and from the people who work on that land and sea. But they also come from the Maine inside us, from the place where we learned how to grow our own food and create dishes from what Maine has given us in the past two decades. We're honored to share what we've learned through these recipes—the simple, fresh, honest, and delicious food from our hearts and from our home.

Tips on Using This Book

THROUGHOUT THIS BOOK, WE'LL GIVE YOU IDEAS ON PUTTING TOGETHER a menu, but they're just a guide. We encourage you to pair dishes you might not usually pair. Don't worry, it will all taste great.
We also talk about eating local foods. We mean it. Eating locally grown or sourced foods not only tastes better but helps keep our farms going. It might cost a little more but the more local the food is, the better. After that, if you feel you can afford organic ingredients, we believe there is a health benefit, so go for it.
A few details will help you use this book. When we say black pepper, we mean freshly ground black pepper. Just use a coffee grinder or pepper grinder to have fresh pepper on the table and in the kitchen at all times. Salt means kosher salt. Panko means the light, crisp Japanese panko breadcrumbs. You can get them in the supermarket nowadays. Sriracha should be a staple. It's a terrific condiment and can also be found in the Asian section of the market. If you don't make your own chicken stock, then use organic or low-sodium broth. We always use unsalted butter. Never use light olive oil. We use fresh herbs at all times. Try to use them as much as possible but if you must use dry, use half the amount. Finally, when we say to use a nonreactive pan, we mean to use one that is stainless steel. Aluminum pans will react to acidic foods and will spoil the flavor of the dish.

Chapter One
We left coastal California and the lovely Monterey Peninsula twenty-three years ago and drove across the country arriving at another coastal town, Ogunquit, Maine, right in the middle of a dark and bleak winter. As we shivered in the blustery winds coming off the shore, our first thought was, "What the heck have we done?" But as we watched the surf from the town's magical Marginal Way, a mile-long footpath on craggy rocks high above the sea, our second thought was, "We're home." Mark rediscovered and Clark, who grew up on the West Coast, discovered for the first time the beauty of Maine, and we both felt very much at home on this beach by this beautiful, bountiful ocean.
Maine has thirty-five hundred miles of coastline from rocky cliffs to smooth soft sand beaches, all of it breathtaking. Ogunquit itself was a thriving art colony in the late 1800s, and landscape painters like Andrew Wyeth have been capturing Maine's coastal landscape for centuries, but it's the delicious clams, crabs, and oysters that come from right under the sand and right off shore that we love. Take a drive up the coast to see locals with their pant cuffs turned up, digging into the clam flats in summer and fall for a mess of clams for dinner. Nothing surprised us more than when new friends invited us to an old-fashioned clam feed with newspapers on the table, plenty of melted butter, and, of course, plump, sweet clams.
Oysters abound here, too. They are plump and salty from Spinney Creek, silky and sweet from Cape Neddick, or lemony and briny Glidden Point or Pemaquid Oysters from the Damariscotta River, where three thousand years ago oyster shell "middens"—basically a shell dump used by the Wawenock Abenaki Indians—were once over thirty feet high. Now, only a small portion of the Whaleback Shell Midden remains, and by the late 1800s the oyster population was gone. But thanks to a new wave of oyster farmers like Chris Davis at Pemaquid Oyster Company, who re-introduced oysters to the river over twenty years ago, there are now over a dozen local oyster farms using sustainable practices to keep the delicious oysters in our waters and on our plates. We have a long tradition of barbecuing local oysters right on our grill in front of Arrows to welcome guests, and they look forward to seeing just what oysters we got our hands on to slurp down raw with some simple sauces.
Believe it or not, our delicate and prized peekytoe crabs used to be considered trash by the local lobsterman until the late eighties. The rock or sand crabs became peekytoe in the early nineties when Rod Mitchell, owner of Browne Trading Company, a seafood wholesaler in Portland, decided to market the crab under its commonly used slang name, "peekytoe." The word comes from "picked toe" with "picked" (the slang term for pointed) spoken in two syllables. We don't love picking these crabs—it's a tedious task—but we do love the sweet taste. If you can't get it fresh, forget it. It's very delicate and breaks down fast so keep it on a container of ice. In all the crab recipes here, you don't want to mask the flavor of the crab, but enhance it. Our Maine crab is a real gift, like poppies or wisteria that bloom briefly but beautifully. It's here for a short time, and that's what makes it special.


OYSTERS ON THE HALF SHELL ARE A FESTIVE WAY TO START A SPECIAL DINNER or party. Some New Englanders still buy them by the bushel! We like to serve them right in the kitchen on large iced platters. Our guests stand around the platter slurping up the briny sweetness of our local oysters, a glass of sparkling wine in hand. It's very important to keep oysters cold; room-temperature oysters are not at all pleasant. Here, we've assembled a collection of our favorite sauces for serving with oysters on the half shell. They're simple, vibrant, and offer some tasty variety to any oyster feast. Each of the sauce recipes is enough for twenty-four oysters and you just need to drizzle a bit of the sauce on each opened oyster.

Classic Mignonette

THIS FRENCH CONDIMENT ALWAYS accompanies oysters at Parisian brasseries like La Coupole, and we serve it at MC Perkins Cove where diners can sample a variety of oysters right by one of the most gorgeous ocean views in Maine. The vinegar adds zip to the briny oysters and using two different kinds of vinegar adds an intriguing complexity to a simple, old-fashioned dish.
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
½ tablespoon coarse ground black peppercorns
Combine the ingredients in a bowl and mix lightly. The sauce can be made ahead of time and kept for a few days in the refrigerator if sealed tightly.

Citrus Vodka Relish with Herbs

AT THE TURN OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY AND BEFORE THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION, all things Russian were fashionable in the culinary world. This relish was inspired by Oysters à la Russe, a dish served on the Titanic and one we like to serve at our annual Titanic dinner at Arrows when we bring the elegant menus from the voyage to life on the table. Guests dress in period clothing and the Moet White Star Champagne flows. Use a citrus vodka for extrazing.
½ cup good quality vodka
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 orange, peeled, sectioned, and roughly chopped
1 lemon, peeled, sectioned, and roughly chopped
1 lime, peeled, sectioned, and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped chives
1 teaspoon finely chopped chervil
1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix gently. This is best made the day of serving, but it can be made one day in advance if necessary and stored in the refrigerator.

Lemongrass-Chile Dipping Sauce

MOST PEOPLE DON'T THINK OF HOT-AND-SPICY flavors with oysters, but Vietnamese-style dipping sauces transform them into something exotic with a balance of cold and briny, hot and spicy. Having a chilled glass of Champagne or craft beer on hand helps with the heat. For the chile sauce, use the popular Sriracha sauce with the familiar Rooster on the label, now available in most supermarkets.
2 tablespoons canola or corn oil
3 stalks lemongrass, tough outer layers removed and very finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
¼ cup sugar
½ cup fresh lemon juice
1 serrano chile, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Thai or Vietnamese-style red chile sauce, such as Sriracha
In a small nonreactive saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat until warm and then sauté the lemongrass until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the shallots and cook until soft, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Chill and serve. The sauce can be made up to a week ahead of time and kept covered in the refrigerator.

Herb and Red Wine Sauce

RED WINE WITH OYSTERS? ABSOLUTELY! In fact, there's nothing like a glass of lightly chilled Pinot Noir with a brace of fresh oysters. Just a little bit of this intense sauce really brings out the briny flavor of oysters.
½ cup medium-bodied red wine, such as a Beaujolais
½ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
¼ cup sugar
Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Mix lightly and chill. This sauce can be made up to three days ahead of time and stored covered in the refrigerator.

Classic Cocktail Sauce

SOME PEOPLE TURN UP THEIR NOSES at this old-time favorite—and there's no denying cocktail sauce can overwhelm more delicate tasting oysters like West Coast Kumamotos. But with big, meaty, metallic oysters like Bélons or some of the larger Damariscotta oysters from Maine, cocktail sauce is appropriately bold and—well, saucy. Add as much or as little Tabasco or other hot sauce as you like. We know some like it hot !
1 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons horseradish, preferably freshly grated, but prepared will do
1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
Tabasco sauce to taste
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix lightly. This sauce can be kept up to a week, tightly sealed, in the refrigerator.

HOW TO OPEN AN OYSTER (without losing your fingers)

EXPERT OYSTER OPENING BEGINS WITH TWO IMPORTANT ITEMS of equipment, both used before you start sipping your ice cold beer or that glass of Champagne you have waiting for you when the oysters are served. The first is a heavy-duty, sturdy oyster knife. The knife is flat edged and thicker than the common clam knife so it's great for those stubborn, hard shells. The second is a thick, terry cloth kitchen towel to protect your hand. With those two things, you're ready to shuck.
Place the oyster in the cloth towel, draping the towel over your left hand. Completely cover the space between your thumb and index finger. Place the oyster flat top up into that space in your hand to secure the oyster. Take the knife in your right hand and place it at the point of the shell. You'll notice a small indentation and feel it insert. Reverse the procedure if you are left handed.
Twist the oyster knife until the shell pops. Turn the knife so that it runs perpendicular to the oyster and run the knife across the top of the inside of the shell.
It's important to keep the knife away from the meat of the oyster, so keep the knife running inside the top of the shell. Remove the top shell and discard, although some Mainers recycle, using the shells to pave the driveway. Be careful to keep the oyster "liquor" from spilling. At this point, the only thing holding the oyster to the shell is the muscle. Run the knife under that muscle to disengage it. Place the oysters on crushed ice, rock salt, or kosher salt. Sip a cold glass of beer and slurp away.


AT ARROWS IN THE SPRING AND FALL WE LIGHT UP OUR WOOD-FIRED GRILL ON our front walkway and roast oysters. Our guests really enjoy this, from inhaling the great smells to chatting with the chefs amid the curling smoke. At home, roasting oysters on the grill is a great way to start a party any time of year. Heat reduces and concentrates the oyster liquid and intensifies the flavor. Oysters have a wild, alm ost "savage" taste that is greatly complemented by the smoke from real wood. The combination of forest and sea is tantalizing, so even if you use a gas grill, be sure to put some wood chips in the smoker tray.
24 to 36 oysters (4 to 6 per person)
Rock salt
Light the grill, preferably using hardwood lump charcoal, which gets extremely hot. As the coals get going, toss on some hickory or mesquite chips, or some cuttings from fruit trees, such as apple, that have been submerged in water. If using a gas grill, turn it up all the way and use a smoker tray with some hardwood chips. When the fire is quite hot, place the oysters on a grate over the fire. As soon as the oyster shell pops, remove it from the fire. This will take just a few minutes. Using a towel and an oyster knife or screwdriver, open the shell. Place the oyster on a platter of rock salt. Serve at once with either the Spicy Tartar Sauce or Walnut Sauce on page 28. Each sauce makes enough for about two dozen oysters.

Spicy Tartar Sauce

WE LOVE THE BASIC TARTAR SAUCE served with fish and chips in restaurants all over New England, but this slightly spicy version, made with homemade mayonnaise, is worthy of grilled oysters.
1 cup mayonnaise (see Herb Mayonnaise, page 49, but omit the herbs)
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
¼ cup finely chopped dill pickles
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Tabasco or Sriracha sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix gently. This sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Walnut Sauce

WALNUT SAUCE IS TRADITIONALLY served with fried oysters in Turkey, but it's also great with oysters hot off the grill anywhere.
2 garlic cloves
1 cup toasted walnuts, skins removed
1 tablespoon lemon juice or white wine vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


On Sale
Apr 26, 2011
Page Count
320 pages
Running Press

Mark Gaier

About the Author

Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier opened Arrows Restaurant in Ogunquit, Maine, in 1988 after careers in fine restaurants from San Francisco to Boston. They are the 2010 James Beard Outstanding Chefs in the Northeast. They now own three restaurants in New England and appear frequently on NBC’s Today show and the CBS Morning Show, where they demonstrate cooking techniques. Their accomplishments have won praise well beyond the food press, with articles in Time, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Travel & Leisure, and Condéast Traveler. And their recipes have been featured in Esquire, Men’s Journal, and Men’s Health. They live in Cape Neddick, Maine.

Rachel Forrest is a former Silicon Valley internet executive who changed her life to become a food writer and restaurant critic covering dining, food trends, and culinary culture in the Seacoast area of New Hampshire and Maine for Dow Jones Local Media Group. She lives in view of Maine in historic Portsmouth, NH with her teenaged daughter, Avalon.

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