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Dungeness Crab Salad + The Taste of Vacation {Book Review} #sponsor

I have had a copy of this cookbook from Quirk Books - The Jersey Shore Cookbook: Fresh Summer Flavors from the Boardwalk and Beyond by Deborah Smith* - in my 'to-review' stack for a couple of weeks now as it was just released last month.

Since 2007, Jersey Bites has been a go-to resource for New Jersey foodies. In this cookbook, Jersey Bites founder/editor Deborah Smith pulls from her extensive knowledge of the New Jersey food scene to share a collection of fifty recipes from the most renowned restaurants along the shore.

As much a travel guide as it is a cookbook, Smith includes profiles of popular Jersey shore locales. And while I'm a huge fan of fresh, locally-sourced seafood, I'm on the wrong coast to get tilefish, skate, and bluefish. However, I was inspired to try the preparations with my local left coast fishes!

Inside the book you'll find recipes such as Grilled Jersey Peaches with Yogurt and Granola from Normandy Beach’s Lasolas Market; Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes with Chili Remoulade and Jersey Tomatoes from South Seaside Park’s Chef Mike’s ABG; Creamy Crab Soup from Sea Isle City’s Marie’s Seafood and Charred Jersey Tomato Salad with Sweet Corn, Asparagus Tips, and Herb Yogurt from Atlantic City’s Iron Room Restaurant; Spaghetti and Crabs from Point Pleasant Beach’s Joe Leone’s Italian Specialties; and Key Lime Pie from Highlands’s Inlet Café.

The recipe I'll share - slightly adapted - comes from Avenue in Long Branch: Dungeness Crab Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette. 

I picked this recipe because here on California's central coast we are in the middle of crab season, because my Meyer lemon tree is going crazy with fruits, and because my mouth watered just looking at the photo in the cookbook! It seemed like the perfect way to celebrate both the Jersey shore and the California shore.

makes 4 servings

  • 6 C torn organic romaine hearts + 2 leaves for garnish
  • 10 to 12 ounces Dungeness crab meat
  • 1/4 C heirloom baby tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1/4 C organic seedless cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 C organic avocado, diced
  • 1 to 2 T chives, chopped
  • 1 to 2 T flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • freshly ground salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

Dressing (makes 4 C)
  • 2/3 C freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 C + 1 T rice wine vinegar
  • 3 C olive oil
  • freshly ground salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper to taste 


Dressing (makes 4 C)
In a medium mixing bowl, coming the lemon juice and the vinegar. Slowly pout in the olive oil and whisk until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Use immediately and store the remaining dressing in the fridge for up to 10 days.

In a large mixing bowl, toss together the romaine, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, chives, and avocado. Dress lightly and place at the bottom of your serving bowl. Sprinkle the crab on top of the salad. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with romaine leaves and serve immediately.

Smith takes the reader on a virtual trek of the Jersey Shore. From Asbury Park to Cape May, she features recipes from local haunts such as Mueller's Bakery in Bay Head, Beach Tavern in Monmouth Beach, and Schellenger's in Wildwood. Never having been to any of these spots, I read - and reread - her descriptions and recipes; I could almost smell the salty air and feel the warm sand between my toes. Her cookbook is like the taste of vacation.

  *Note: I received a complimentary copy of the cookbook from the publishers for the purpose of reviewing it. However, all opinions are 100% my own and 100% accurate.


  1. Whenever I read about Jersey I think of Stephanie Plum....have you read the Janet Evanovich series?

  2. Sounds like a great book! I think it would make me want to go on vacation!


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