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On the Water—Enjoying More Than the View

Summer is finally here, and my thoughts turn toward boating and our upcoming yearly vacation cruising the waters off the southeast coast of Massachusetts. I live and design kitchens and interiors most of the year in California, but Massachusetts is still home—filled with friends, family and wonderful memories of growing up by the ocean. It is peaceful on the water and life is slower. I love spending time in a dingy exploring the coves and creeks of the shoreline, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard or the smaller island of Cuttyhunk, sharing time cruising with others or alone with my husband. The islands are also reachable by ferry and have lots of markets where fabulous meals-to-go can be picked up for lunch or dinner on the beach or jetty.

After a day on the water, there is nothing quite like pulling into a small, quiet harbor, dropping the anchor and watching the sunset and the myriad of boats coming in from their day. A glass of wine with some starters is a great way to ease into the evening. Starters usually include: a platter filled with an assortment of roasted red bell peppers, whole caper berries, assorted olives and sliced salami, shaved parmesan cheese or a white bean puree mixed with a handful of crumbled cooked bacon, chopped black olives a sprinkling of thyme, salt and pepper, and garnished with chopped parsley served with crackers. Keeping it simple is the key!

Most little towns along the coast or on the islands will have a fish market where you can find the best fresh mussels, clams, scallops, fish and lobster for dinner. If you are taking dinner to the beach, many fish markets will cook your lobster or mussels and provide you with drawn butter, specially melted butter made to accommodate lobster. Local farm stands are filled with fresh vegetables—another great way you can certainly eat simply and well. Grilling on board, or on the beach, is easy with the smaller portable gas grills available.

Some of the best marinades I have found for fish and shellfish come from the cookbook, At Blanchard’s Table: A Trip to the Beach Cookbook. These tasty marinades are as easy as simply whisking the ingredients together and marinating the fish or shellfish for just thirty minutes before grilling. Easy and delicious!

What could be simpler and healthier for dinner than grilling a fresh piece of fish, searing or grilling some scallops in a pan, steaming a bucket of mussels with some white wine, garlic, fresh herbs, and serving it with some crusty French bread and a mixed green salad?

Another favorite way to cook fresh fish such as striped bass, cod or swordfish, is to marinate the fish in either a homemade or store-bought Italian salad dressing for 30 minutes and place it in a packet made of aluminum foil. Cover the fish with sliced onions, chopped tomatoes, kalamata olives and capers. Close the aluminum foil packet and place on the grill. Check at 10 minutes and cook to desired wellness. Couldn’t be simpler or more delicious!

The beauty of enjoying the summer on the water is in taking the time to pause:

Put away the electronics of everyday life and listen to the gulls, the osprey, and take in the sounds and smells of the ocean.

Keep meal preparation simple and fresh, using the bounty that the coast and the farms offer.

Enjoy your families and friends without making everything complicated.

Nourish your spirit and return to your live refreshed and inspired. Enjoy!

BY  Susan Broderick