There is no love sincerer than the love of food. George Bernard Shaw
There are two things that we love to do more than anything when we are on the Vineyard…listening to the sweet music performed by the island’s own a cappella group, The Vineyard Sound…
…& eating as much fresh seafood as possible.
For years, we have been attending The Vineyard Sound concerts…actually, since Émilie was 3. The Vineyard Sound was founded in 1992 by a group of friends who sang in the a cappella groups at Skidmore College, Connecticut College & Wesleyan University…the friends wanted to see if they could come out to the Vineyard for the summer & sing for a living…they succeeded…
…& have been singing on the Vineyard ever summer ever since! The “Sound Boys”, as they are known locally, are ten of the greatest guys you will ever know…bright, articulate, handsome, polite…& they have angels’ voices! Seriously, these guys are the full package! Anyhoo, we have gotten to know the boys well over the last two summers…they have truly become a part of our family, and a huge part of the memories created…
…this summer, some of the “elders” in the group went fishing with Bert & Émilie, as we were having our Second Annual Vineyard Party, where we invite our friends, both & new, for an evening of fresh local fare…
…& of course, singing by the Sound Boys!
Let’s get back to fishing. This year, for whatever reason, I thought it would be fun to serve fish that we had actually caught ourselves at our annual house party. That’s a lot of fish, because we were already up to 28-30 people attending by the Thursday before the party. Bert arrived on Thursday, and immediately, we went fishing with a superb guy, Captain Phil, but unfortunately, we only caught 4 little bluefish…that was not going to feed 30 people.
I felt defeated. I was really counting on catching a mother load that day. The party was in 3 days, I had invited the world, so to speak, & I had 4 little bluefish. I knew that I could buy everything, but that wasn’t the point…it would mean more to have a story as well.
Later that evening, we were in the new Vineyard Vines flagship store, where I was buying a belt. As I was paying for the item, a rather cute college-age guy asked me if we had a good day. “Yes and no”, I said. He replied, “Why? You’re on the Vineyard”. So, I explained my predicament. The cute boy replied, “Well, you haven’t been fishing with my father.”
“Who’s your dad?” I asked.
“Ed Jerome. He wrote that book on the shelf.” An Amazing Story of the Vineyard’s Derby: Twenty-five Years of Paintings, History, and Fishing. “Yep”, I thought, “this is the guy”. If anyone wrote a book about fishing, then they must know a thing or two about it. If you know me, you know that I then asked, “Do you know if he has a charter Saturday morning,” to which he responded, “I don’t really know, but you can ask him. He’s standing right behind you.”
And there he was…Captain Ed Jerome, the owner of Wayfarer Charters in Edgartown, Mass. The best fisherman in the world, if you ask me! He has been President of the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby for more than 2 decades. He is THE MAN! Divine intervention interceded…Ed was available Saturday morning, so we booked the charter & asked Ethan, Ben, Cody & Ethan to accompany Bert & Émilie. Ethan sent instead his brother, Jacob, as he was the real fisherman in the family. The other Sound Boys had never been deep-sea fishing previously & they unanimously & enthusiastically accepted our invitation!
Well, the fishing expedition was a complete success, despite torrential downpour! Under Captain Ed & First-Mate Bob’s guidance the group caught enough bluefish, fluke (otherwise known as Summer Flounder or Vineyard Sole), & black sea bass to feed easily 40 or more people! I was set!
Although the gang was drenched when they returned, the trip was a success & everyone had a blast! Thank you, Ed & Bob, for all that you did…we appreciate it more than you know!
What did I do that morning? After a wonderful morning of blogging & coffee at Behind the Booktsore (known locally as “btb”), I drove to the West Tisbury Farmers’ Market, and had a blast buying flowers & cherry heirloom tomatoes from Pilot Hill Farm.
The Farmers’ Market is one of my favorite haunts on the island & is open Wednesdays & Saturdays from 9 to 12. It is a “must-do” on the Vineyard! Fresh, organic produce, pies, grain-fed meats, flowers, great coffee, awesome Asian take-out, Two-Chicks pies…I can go on & on…you get the picture. Just bring a lot of cash…you will need it…& you will spend it.
I also made a stop at Morning Glory Farm to buy corn for the the main dish, which was going to have grits as well.
I decided to serve grits as I figured that most of our friends had not tasted this Southern staple previously, & grits go a long way, especially when feeding a big crowd, 10 of whom are college-age guys who can eat forever!
The main dish, Ed’s Vineyard Black Bass with Tomatoes & Corn Served over Creamy Cheesy Grits, was an immediate hit the night of the party! While cleaning all the fish that was caught, Ed shared with me his recipe for cooking black sea bass…dipped in whisked eggs & lemon juice, then dredged in seasoned Bisquick, & pan-fried in olive oil & butter…the fish was served with the heirloom tomatoes & corn over Creamy Cheesy Grits, then garnished with lemon basil & garlic chives & a squeeze of lemon juice. Delish!
The evening was so fun! Plus, we had lots of help! Both Jim & Liam were incredible sous chefs…I could not have done the party without them! Jim pan-fried the black sea bass, as well as the Vineyard Sole for the Vineyard Sole Sammies…
…we simply dredged the fluke fillets in bread crumbs, then pan-fried the fillets till crispy & golden brown…Liam & I assembled the sandwiches, then served them along with my new favorite cocktail…
…Skinny Fizzy Grapefruit Coolers! I have always been a “Fresca” girl, and I really like figuring out cocktails that are light on calories but big on flavor! I think this has become my favorite summer cocktail! I used grapefruit vodka…citrus vodka will work just as well…light grapefruit juice, & of course, Fresca! The girls really enjoyed them! Don’t you love the glass? This Tervis® Tumbler came from the Island Company in Edgartown…they have an online store as well.
For appetizers, Bert & I smoked all the bluefish 3 ways…plain, lemon pepper seasoning salt, & with brown sugar, which is my favorite…the brown sugar caramelizes & really enhances the bluefish! Some of the plain smoked bluefish was used to make Smoked Bluefish Spread or Paté, as the locals call it.
This is my favorite appetizer on the Vineyard…if you have any smoked fish, it will work just as well…actually, smoking the fish can easily be done at home on your grill, as we did it. If you have never done this, you will surprised just how easy it is!
Along the way, the boys sang…& sang! They are awesome…FYI, if you are currently on the Vineyard, The Vineyard Sound will be performing their farewell concert TONIGHT, August 23 at 8:00pm at The Old Whaling Church in Edgartown…I so wish we were still there!
In between sets, we served the various courses…dinner was casual…everyone grabbed a plate, refilled glasses with their preferred beverage & found a place to sit around the house…I love to entertain this way!
While I do like to set a table, it is all about being relaxed on vacation & spending time with folks you may only see once a year…
…that’s all anyone really cares about anyway, don’t you agree? As you can see, I didn’t even get dressed up! Just my usual Vineyard garb…Lilly orange or Vineyard Vines Nantucket Pink shorts & a Black Dog t-shirt!
You are probably wondering what we served for dessert? Morning Glory Farm Pies, of course!
In retrospect, the evening was more than a success…it was a real memory maker! I still laugh at some of the conversations & antics from that evening.
The Sound Boys were adorable, as usual, and as hilarious as ever! The locally caught seafood was enjoyed by all. Most importantly, our friends, both old & new, had a blast together, & some new connections were even made…which is the whole point of entertaining in the first place, right?
If looking for a home to rent on the Vineyard, please do not hesitate to contact Point B Realty…they have a great inventory of homes…I highly recommend Wendy & her staff to help you with all your Vineyard needs! Enjoy the last remaining days of summer!
While we prepared dishes for a large crowd, all the recipes have been scaled to serve 6-8 people in your home. Cheers!
A Vineyard Seafood Menu