Down East delicious

Recipes from their new cookbook, Maine Classics.

By Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier
June 12, 2011

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

Your article has been sent.

Text size +

When we came to Ogunquit, Maine, and opened Arrows in a rustic Colonial farmhouse in 1988, we never thought that two dozen years later we’d have two more restaurants, more than a few awards, and international acclaim for our gardens and cuisine. We also never thought we’d finally feel like “Mainers,” but we do. Through getting to know the hard-working people who helped us find the ingredients we needed to start our first restaurants (and who still help us today) and by relying on the old ways and food traditions of Maine to inspire our cuisine, we feel we’ve become a part of the life and landscape. This book is an hommage to what Maine has given us.

Roasted Duck with Garlic and Thyme

Serves 6

Duck is one of those dishes that can turn into a horrible fiasco, but this cooking method is just about foolproof. The water keeps the meat tender and moist, and the heat removes the fat.

2 5-pound ducks

6 cloves garlic, minced

24 sprigs of thyme

3 teaspoons chopped

fresh thyme

Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Stuff each duck with half the garlic and thyme sprigs. Sprinkle the top of the ducks with the chopped thyme, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¾ teaspoon pepper, divided evenly. Place 1/2 inch of water in a roasting pan. Place the ducks in the roasting pan, breast side up, and place in the oven. Reduce the temperature to 400 degrees. After 30 minutes, flip the ducks and continue roasting, flipping them again after another 30 minutes. The birds should appear golden brown and the legs should move easily. (If they are not yet done, roast the ducks for another 15 minutes.) Remove the ducks from the roasting pan and place on a cutting board. Allow the birds to rest 10 minutes before carving and serving.
Warm Dandelion Greens Salad

Serves 6

Dandelion greens are not always available in the supermarket, but you’ll frequently see them in season or at the farmers’ market.

1/3 cup finely chopped onion

1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

½ teaspoon chili flakes

1 tablespoon sugar

1/3 cup dried currants

½ cup white vinegar

¼ cup canola oil

1/3 cup pine nuts

¼ cup olive oil

10 cups (about 3 ounces) dandelion greens, chopped

Salt and pepper

In a nonreactive saucepan, mix the onion, garlic, rosemary, chili flakes, sugar, currants, vinegar, and canola oil. Heat the vinaigrette over medium heat until just hot. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a dry saute pan over medium heat until just lightly brown. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan and toss the dandelion greens to warm, about 2 minutes. Add the vinaigrette and salt and pepper to taste, then top with the pine nuts and serve at once.
Crab Chowder with Corn and Celery

Serves 6

6 ears of corn

2 quarts heavy cream

1 stick unsalted butter

1½ cups chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery


1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon chopped

fresh tarragon

2 tablespoons chopped

fresh chervil

6 tablespoons chopped chives

3 tablespoons lemon juice

16 ounces crab meat, picked over

¼ cup chopped tomato, for garnish

Cut the kernels off the corncobs and set aside. Pour the cream into a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Place the cobs into the cream and simmer until reduced by one-fourth, about 30 minutes. Remove the cobs and add the corn kernels. Cook for 4 minutes.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and 1 teaspoon salt, and saute until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add to the corn and cream, and cook for 1 minute. Add the thyme, tarragon, chervil, and 2 tablespoons of the chives, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and 2 teaspoons salt.

Place half the crab meat in the chowder and divide the remaining crab among 6 bowls. Divide the chowder among the bowls, pouring it over the crab with a ladle. Garnish with the remaining chives and the chopped tomato and serve.
Red, White, and Blue Angel Food Cake

Makes 1 cake

To make the fruit purees, use a blender or food processor to puree fruit, then strain out seeds and add sugar to taste.

1½ cups superfine sugar

3½ ounces cake flour

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

16 egg whites

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

3 cups heavy cream

1/3 cup blueberry puree

1/3 cup raspberry puree

Fresh berries, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Sift ¾ cup superfine sugar, the flour, and the salt into a medium bowl. In a large bowl, use a mixer to whip the egg whites until thoroughly combined. Add the vanilla extract and the cream of tartar. Slowly add the rest of the sugar to the mixture, beating continuously at medium speed. When soft peaks begin to form, sift half of the flour mixture onto the whites, so that it dusts the top, and beat in. Fold in the remaining flour very gently.

Carefully spoon batter into a tall ungreased tube pan. Bake until a wooden skewer comes out dry, about 35 minutes. Cool upside down on a cooling rack for 1 hour before removing cake from pan.

In a large bowl, whip the cream with a mixer until stiff. Divide into 3 parts. Add the blueberry puree to one part, raspberry puree to the next, and leave one as is. Use a long serrated knife to cut the cooled cake into 3 horizontal parts. Place the raspberry cream on the bottom layer and top with the next cake layer. Place white cream on top of the second layer and then top with another cake layer. Finish with the blueberry cream. Garnish with fresh berries and serve.

Excerpted from Maine Classics: More Than 150 Delicious Recipes From Down East, by Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier, with Rachel Forrest. Available from Running Press; copyright©2011. Send comments to

Fresh pioneers

You can’t go to a restaurant these days without tripping over descriptions like “farm to table,” “local,” and “seasonal.” This wasn’t the case when chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier began growing vegetables for Arrows, the elegant, romantic restaurant they opened in Ogunquit, Maine, in 1988. They also operate MC Perkins Cove, a more casual outpost, in Ogunquit. In Massachusetts, they bring the garden to a Burlington Marriott: Their restaurant Summer Winter features an on-site greenhouse. When Gaier and Frasier won the 2010 James Beard award for best chefs in the Northeast, the only question was what took so long.