“Everyday Seafood” by Nathan Outlaw. Quadrille Publishing. $29.99.

When you live on the coast of Maine, it behooves you to have a good selection of seafood recipes.

 

Well-mannered guests are too polite to say so, but there is an expectation that fresh-caught fish, lobster, clams, scallops or shrimp will figure prominently in a meal or two.

In my kitchen that translates into no-fail recipes for a good chowder, a well-cooked lobster, sautéed scallops and spicy stuffed quahogs.

But occasionally I like to venture into more exotic fare, which is why “Everyday Seafood” by Nathan Outlaw appealed to me.

The cookbook is bursting with gorgeous photos and interesting recipes for dishes as varied as razor clams with carrot-and-fennel chutney and jalapeño yogurt to scallops with cheddar crumbs, smoked paprika and cilantro butter.

How about a salad of octopus, avocado and tomato, topped with a lime and cilantro dressing, or barbecued jerk lobster with coconut rice?

It covers unusual preparation methods – it would never occur to me to pickle oysters with cider vinegar and serve with a shallot, caper and apple relish.

But that’s the fun of a new cookbook.

The introduction reflects Outlaw’s passion for seafood, which he calls the ultimate convenience food because it cooks so quickly. He assures readers that all his recipes are designed for home cooks – no special equipment or training needed. (He’s a British chef with several restaurants and several Michelin stars.) And he stresses the importance of cooking with sustainably harvested seafood. It’s no wonder chef/crusader Jamie Oliver wrote the endorsement for “Everyday Seafood.”

“Any fish market or supplier worth your custom will have an acute awareness of sustainability and know where their seafood has come from,” Outlaw writes. “If they can’t answer your questions, don’t buy from them.”

Luckily, I’m surrounded by neighbors who love to fish for mackerel, smoke them and share the bounty. I had been using the flesh as a poor man’s lox – flaked and mixed with cream cheese and scallions, it’s a terrific spread for bagels.

But Outlaw has a great recipe for a smoked mackerel and parsley soup, whose unexpected flavor comes from a healthy dose of horseradish. I was skeptical at first, but it is delicious.

I assume most readers don’t have a free, plentiful supply of sustainably harvested smoked mackerel, so I tried another recipe I thought would have wider appeal – shrimp cocktail quiche.

Here’s Outlaw’s intro:

“I love a good shrimp cocktail, who doesn’t? This picnic quiche is a little nod to the ’70s classic. It has the same flavors, but no limp lettuce or tasteless tomato. You can make a big one if you wish, or little canape-sized ones as I sometimes do; just adjust the cooking time accordingly. Shrimp cocktail will never be the same again!”

I made this for a brunch, and it was delicious. The flavors blended beautifully, and the texture was light. Bonus: My garden produced a ton of cherry tomatoes, scallions and rosemary this summer – all ingredients this recipe calls for.

One caveat – despite the Tabasco, the flavors were delicate, so I wouldn’t serve this with bacon or another strongly flavored accompaniment. It would overpower the quiche.

But with a salad and simple soup, it was perfect.

It will take its place in my recipe box, right next to the instructions for my go-to chowder, lobster, scallops and quahogs.

Carol Coultas is business editor at the Portland Press Herald. She can be contacted at 791-6460 or:

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Twitter: carolacoultas

SHRIMP COCKTAIL QUICHE

Recipe from “Everyday Seafood” by Nathan Outlaw

Serves 6

FOR THE PASTRY:

1 7/8 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup unsalted butter, diced

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 teaspoons minced rosemary

1 large egg, beaten

3 tablespoons milk

Egg wash (1 egg yolk beaten with 2 tablespoons milk)

FOR THE FILLING:

15 raw tiger shrimp, peeled, deveined and halved

3 large eggs

1 1/4 cup heavy cream

3 1/2 tablespoons good quality ketchup

1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

5 scallions, trimmed and sliced

10 cherry tomatoes, halved

3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the pastry, put the flour, butter, salt and rosemary into a food processor and process until mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. (I made the pastry by hand, combining the dry ingredients and cutting in the butter.) Add egg and milk and pulse briefly until the dough comes together (I added and mixed with a fork.) Shape pastry into a disc, wrap in plastic and rest in the fridge for at least one hour. Preheat oven to 375F.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thick and use to line a loose-based rectangular tart or quiche pan, about 10-by-4-1 1/2 inches, or a 7-inch round pan, 1 1/2 inches deep.

Line pastry case with a sheet of parchment paper, and add a layer of baking beans. Rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Bake the pastry case for 15 minutes, then lift out the paper and beans, and brush the pastry with egg wash. Return to the oven for three minutes, then remove and set aside. Turn the oven down to 325F.

For the filling, lightly beat the eggs, cream, ketchup and Tabasco together, and season with salt and pepper. Scatter the scallions and cherry tomatoes in the pastry case, followed by the shrimp, distributing them evenly. Pour on the egg and cream mixture, then sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the custard is set and the pastry is golden.

Leave the quiche in the pan on a wire rack to cool a little before slicing. Either eat warm, or leave to cool completely and take on a picnic.

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