photographs by Matt Hulsman, Baxter Miller



Atlantic Beach Pie
Recipe by Crooks Corner

Yield: 1 pie.

1½ sleeves of saltine crackers
⅓ to ½ cup softened unsalted butter
3 tablespoons sugar
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks
½ cup lemon or lime juice, or a mix of the two
Fresh whipped cream and coarse sea salt for garnish

Preheat oven to 350º. Crush the crackers finely, but not to dust. You can use a food processor or your hands. Add the sugar, then knead in the butter until the crumbs hold together like dough. Press into an 8-inch pie pan. Chill for 15 minutes, then bake for 18 minutes or until the crust colors a little.

While the crust is cooling (it doesn’t need to be cold), beat the egg yolks into the milk, then beat in the citrus juice. It is important to completely combine these ingredients. Pour into the shell and bake for 16 minutes until the filling has set. The pie needs to be completely cold to be sliced.

Serve with fresh whipped cream and a sprinkling of sea salt.

 


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Calabash Shrimp
Recipe by Sheri Castle

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Peanut oil, for frying
2 large eggs
1 cup canned evaporated milk or whole milk
1 cup self-rising flour
½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds large or medium-size shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
Tartar sauce and cocktail sauce

Pour oil to a depth of 3 inches in a deep fryer or deep, heavy pot. Heat over medium-high heat until the temperature registers 375° on a deep-fry thermometer. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain the oil at that temperature throughout the frying process.

Whisk together the eggs and milk in a shallow bowl.

In a second shallow bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and pepper.

Working in batches, coat the shrimp in the egg mixture, letting any excess drip away, and then coat lightly and evenly in the flour mixture.

Slip the shrimp into the hot oil, adding no more at one time than can float freely. Cook until the crust is crisp and golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the size of the shrimp. Transfer with a wire skimmer or slotted spoon to drain on paper towels or a brown paper bag. Sprinkle the piping hot shrimp with salt and serve at once with sauce on the side.

Serve with tartar sauce and/or cocktail sauce.

 


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Wrightsville Beach Oyster Stew
Recipe Courtesy of Seaboard to Sideboard Entertains Cookbook

Yield: 10 to 12 servings.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
4 small onions, chopped
1 bunch celery, chopped
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
¼ teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 (2-ounce) jar pimientos
1½ teaspoons thyme
1½ teaspoons pepper
1¼ teaspoons salt
8 cups milk
8 cups heavy cream
1 gallon shucked oysters with oyster liquor

Melt butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onions, celery, mushrooms, and garlic, and sauté until tender. Reduce heat to low. Add flour, undrained pimientos, thyme, pepper, and salt. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add milk, cream, and undrained oysters. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the edges of the oysters curl. Do not boil. Ladle into soup bowls.

 


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Jalapeño Hush Puppies
Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 25-30 hush puppies.

1 box Jiffy cornbread mix
6 tablespoons buttermilk
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons self-rising flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 slices white bread, crumbled
2 tablespoons jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
About 2 quarts vegetable oil, for frying

Mix all ingredients just until they are wet. Refrigerate mixture for 30 minutes and up to 5 hours.

In a Dutch oven, heat oil to about 350-375°. Use a thermometer if possible.

Use a tablespoon to form the hush puppies, dipping the spoon into cold water between each hush puppy to keep the batter from sticking. Spoon hush puppies in hot oil for a few seconds, allowing them to release from the spoon.

Repeat this process with each hush puppy, until you have 6 or 7 in the hot oil. Do not crowd the pot.

As the hush puppies cook, they will appear golden and may roll themselves over in the oil. If your oil is the correct temperature, the hush puppies should be golden on the outside and cooked on the inside. (Note: If oil is too hot, hush puppies will be browned on the outside and gummy on the inside; if oil is not hot enough, the hush puppies will be greasy.)

When golden on one side, the hush puppies may automatically turn themselves over. If not, carefully give them a nudge to make them turn over.

 


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Shrimp Po’Boy
Recipe by Steve Gordon

Yield: 2 sandwiches

1 pound shrimp
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
6 tablespoons evaporated milk
Vegetable oil or lard for frying
2 hoagie rolls
Tartar sauce
Lettuce, tomato, and red onion for topping

Peel, devein, and rinse shrimp. Let drain. Place shrimp in a small bowl and coat evenly with evaporated milk. Set aside.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, and onion powder. Stir to combine.

In a medium saucepot over medium heat, add enough vegetable oil or lard to reach a depth of 3 to 4 inches. Heat to 375°.

Place shrimp in breading mixture and toss until lightly coated. Shake off excess flour and place shrimp in oil.

Cook shrimp for 1-2 minutes, or until lightly browned, stirring with a slotted spoon as needed.

Using a slotted spoon, remove shrimp from hot oil and place on a brown paper bag to let drain.

Prepare and cut rolls. Top with tartar sauce and shrimp. Add lettuce, tomato, and onions to taste.

 


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Eastern Carolina Fish Stew
Recipe by Vivian Howard

Yield: 12 servings.

1 pound sliced smoked bacon
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
3 pounds white or red potatoes, peeled and sliced into ½-inch rounds
2 pounds yellow onions, peeled, halved, and cut into ¼-inch slices
6 garlic cloves, sliced (optional)
3 pounds fish steaks, about 3 ounces each, with bones intact (red drum, rockfish, or sheepshead are good options)
1 fish head, rinsed well (optional)
2½ tablespoons salt
1½ teaspoons chili flakes
1 dozen eggs
1 loaf white bread

Cut the bacon slices into 1-inch squares. Brown it in the bottom of an 8- to 10-quart Dutch oven or cast-iron pot. Once it’s crisp, remove it and reserve. Whisk the tomato paste into the bacon fat, making sure you scrape up all the bits left from browning the bacon.

With the heat off, begin layering the ingredients. Keep in mind you want to end up with three layers. Start with a layer of potatoes, followed by a layer of onions and of garlic, if using, followed by a layer of fish. Top the fish with a third of the salt and a third of the chili flakes. Repeat with two more layers. Fill the pot with enough water to just barely reach the top of the fish. If there’s a little fish peeking out over the top, that’s ok — better than if it’s swimming in water. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and bring it to a boil slowly over medium heat. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat and let it cook at a high simmer for about 15 minutes. Check the potatoes for doneness. They should be barely tender, not falling apart.

Taste the broth and add more salt if needed. Then, with the stew at a good simmer, add the eggs one by one in a single layer over the top of the stew. I like to crack the eggs into a small cup before I drop them in. What you’re trying to do is cook whole eggs in the broth. Once the eggs are cooked through, use a large ladle to portion the stew. A proper serving is at least one piece of fish, two potatoes, some onions, and an egg swimming in broth. Shower each bowl with some bacon and set it up with a slice or two of white bread.

 


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Lemon Milk Pie
Recipe by Sheri Castle

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Crust:
½ cup butter, melted

1½ sleeves Ritz crackers, crushed into coarse crumbs

Filling:
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk, such as Eaglebrand

4 egg yolks
6 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice

Meringue:
4 large egg whites

6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350º.

Stir together the butter and crumbs until the mixture is evenly moistened. Press into a 9-inch pie pan.

Bake until golden and fragrant, about 12 minutes. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack.

For the filling: Whisk together the condensed milk and egg yolks in a medium bowl until smooth. Add the lemon juice and whisk until smooth. Pour into the cooled pie crust.

For the meringue: Beat the egg whites until opaque and frothy with a mixer set to low speed. Add the vanilla, increase speed to high, and beat to very soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating to firm peaks.

Spread the meringue over the pie filling, making sure it touches the inner edge of the pie crust. Use the back of a spoon to make a few pretty swirls on top.

Bake until the meringue is golden brown with slightly darker peaks, about 10 minutes.

Cool to room temperature on a wire rack and then refrigerate until chilled.

 


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Pecan-Crusted Flounder
Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 4 fillets.

1 cup finely chopped pecans (not ground)
¼ cup unseasoned bread crumbs
2 tablespoons lemon zest (about 3 lemons’ worth)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons whole milk
4 (6-ounce) fresh flounder fillets
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
Lemon wedges

In a shallow bowl, mix pecans, bread crumbs, and lemon zest. In a separate shallow bowl, beat eggs and milk with a whisk or fork.

Sprinkle both sides of fish with salt and pepper. Coat fish with egg mixture, then coat well with pecan mixture, pressing slightly into fish.

Heat oil and butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add fish. Cook 2 to 3 minutes per side, turning once carefully. Pour remaining butter over fish before serving. Serve with lemon wedges.

 


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Shrimp Salad
Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 4 servings.

1 pound cooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup celery, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons red onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
2 teaspoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
Lettuce or mixed salad greens
Lemon wedges

Mix all ingredients and chill for 1 to 3 hours. Serve on a bed of lettuce or on top of mixed salad greens with a wedge of lemon.

 


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Lump Crab Cakes with Dijon-Dill Sauce
Recipe by Lynn Wells

Yield: 4 servings.

Crab Cakes:
1 pound lump crabmeat
½ cup panko bread crumbs
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 egg
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
Lemon wedges

Dijon-Dill Sauce:
¼ cup Duke’s mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 fresh dill sprigs, chopped

For the crab cakes: In a large bowl, mix the first 7 ingredients. Use an ice-cream scoop to form crab cakes, then place them on a baking sheet. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Heat olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add crab cakes and cook 3 to 4 minutes per side, until browned. Serve with lemon wedges and Dijon-Dill Sauce.

For the dijon-dill sauce: In a bowl, combine all ingredients and stir. Reserve some of the dill for garnish. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.

 


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Seafood Boil
Recipe by Erica Derr

Yield: 12 servings.

3 quarts water
½ cup Old Bay Seasoning
½ cup celery, thinly sliced
1 pound new red potatoes
1 pound hot smoked sausage links, cut into 2-inch pieces
6 ears corn, husked, cleaned, quartered
2 pounds large fresh shrimp, unpeeled

Bring water and Old Bay Seasoning to a boil in large stockpot. Add potatoes and cook for 15 minutes. Add sausage and cook for five more minutes. Add corn and cook for five more minutes.

Stir in the shrimp, and cook until they are pink, about five minutes. Drain immediately and serve. 

 


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