DIY Summer food
Indian Pudding/Bluefish tip
DAVE BECKER, chef/owner, Sweet Basil
Dave Becker, a Newburyport native, grew up fishing out of the Merrimac River off of Plum Island. He's always been a fan of the maligned bluefish — unfairly scorned by some diners for its overt fishiness, but usually just a product of poor preparation.
"Most of the time, the fish is just thrown in a burlap bag or a cooler with no ice," he says. "But, if you double bleed your catch," — drain it from the head and the tail — "and put it on ice, it won't have that fishy taste people object to."
On the vegetable side of things, Becker's personal favorite is called "Indian Pudding," a savory, produce-driven take on rice pudding. Using a saucepan, bring one quart of milk to a boil. Slowly whisk in three-quarter cup cornmeal. Lower the heat and stir for about 10 minutes, depending on the coarseness of the cornmeal. Add one tablespoon of molasses and add salt and pepper to taste. Right before serving, grate fresh corn (about one cup) onto the pudding using a box grater.
"If you omit the black pepper this can be used as a dessert. Add some blueberries and it's breakfast, too," says Becker. "I don't even mind a little corn silk. It's kind of like spitting watermelon seeds."
SWEET BASIL | 942 Great Plain Ave, Needham | 781.444.9600 | sweetbasilneedham.com
Cassandra Landry can be reached at email@example.com.