The Nantucket Open-house Cookbook

Chapters are devoted to appetizers, sauces and dips, soups, summer dishes, vegetables, salads, grilled and barbecued foods, desserts, and Thanksgiving and Christmas specialties. Chase emphasizes seafoods and shellfish common in the Nantucket area, such as shrimps, clams, and crab.

The suggested menus that Chase includes are nice touches, consisting of unusual, satisfying, and flavorful dishes suitable for entertaining at cozy meals or on more formal occasions. For example, her “Hydrangeas and High Noon” menu includes an intriguing recipe for Peruvian Avocado Soup, made with a fruit with which most Americans are familiar only in the guise of guacamole. Other mouth-watering recipes are her Marbled Apricot Bread and Veal Marengo, which is a delicious alternative to the now-ubiquitous beef burgundy. Among the dessert recipes, Chase offers a caloric but rewarding French nut icebox cake and positively sinful white chocolate and pear mousse. She also includes helpful kitchen and cooking tips for such ingredients as roasted peppers and coconut milk. These tips are indexed, enabling the reader to find them quickly. A good index both by recipe name and by major ingredient, is a welcome addition. Another pleasant feature is the inclusion of selections of writings about food, drink, and Nantucket. Chase’s breathless anecdotes about her friends and the quaint essays that they contribute tend to be tedious and self-indulgent, however, and detract from the recipes themselves, which are rightly, the main interest of the book.

THE NANTUCKET OPEN-HOUSE COOKBOOK will interest lovers of seafood, lovers of vegetables, and lovers of rich desserts. Although Chase’s directions are easy to understand, the recipes are not for beginners or for the unadventurous, nor is this an all-purpose cookbook. The accent is on the unusual--unusual preparation and presentation of many generally familiar foods as well as of those foods abundant near Nantucket.