Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Glories of Seafood in Chatham

Put simply, Cape Cod has some of the best seafood around. On Sunday, after fetching my stepdaughter in Provincetown, we stopped at Chatham Fish & Lobster Company, which advertises "the highest quality seafood caught daily." This time a seafood market actually lived up to its claims: the scallops and mussels were exquisitely fresh. Meg prepared a simple but tasty broth for the mussels, first sauteing fresh garlic in lots of olive oil and butter, then adding white wine, which she reduced before pouring in some water. We lightly steamed the mussels in this fragrant broth, and they were glorious. For our main course, we gorged on scallops, again prepared simply. When seafood is this good, you really don't want to mess around with cloying sauces. Meg seared the scallops in a very hot frying pan, just "kissing" the heat when flipped. Divine!

Today we had a late lunch at the Impudent Oyster, just up the road from our rental. Our jovial waitress helped with choices and poured generous glasses of wine, always a good sign. Meg and I started with a dozen Wellfleet oysters, a local specialty. They were just as good as the waitress said, slightly briny and ever so plump. The homemade horseradish was hot enough to set off the oysters without overpowering their delicacy. Rod, who refrains from raw fish, contented himself with a very good cup of Lobster bisque, followed by excellent fish and chips made with local cod. Meg ordered mussels prepared Portuguese style with lots of chopped tomatoes and thin slices of chorizo, almost like a fisherman's stew. I had a huge bowl of steamers, accompanied by superb Portuguese rolls slathered in garlic butter. Halfway through, Meg and I swapped dishes so I could gorge myself on mussels as well as clams. Unbelievably, after this descent into gluttony, we ordered dessert. Rod and I split a slice of delicious coconut key lime pie; Meg had less luck with a mediocre chocolate panna cotta.

Normally, we would have gone for a long two-hour hike to work off this absurdly indulgent lunch, but the grey skies that had threatened rain all morning opened just as we left the restaurant. So we went back to our flat and indulged in the sweetness of doing nothing, or as the Italians would say, dolce far niente.

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