A Side of Murder (A Cape Cod Foodie Mystery)
by Amy Pershing
About A Side of Murder
A Side of Murder (A Cape Cod Foodie Mystery)
1st in Series
Publisher: Berkley (February 23, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
Digital ASIN: B087PL9HHF
Beautiful Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is known for seafood, sand, surf and now … murder.
Samantha Barnes was always a foodie. And when the CIA (that’s the Culinary Institute of America) came calling, she happily traded in Cape Cod for the Big Apple. But then the rising young chef’s clash with another chef (her ex!) boils over and goes viral. So when Sam inherits a house on the Cape and lands a job writing restaurant reviews, it seems like the perfect pairing. What could go wrong? Well, as it turns out, a lot.
The dilapidated house comes with an enormous puppy. Her new boss is, well, bossy. And the town’s harbor master is none other than her first love. Nonetheless, Sam’s looking forward to reviewing the Bayview Grill—and indeed the seafood chowder is divine. But the body in the pond outside the eatery was not on the menu. Sam is certain this is murder. But as she begins to stir the pot, is she creating a recipe for her own untimely demise?
“Cape Cod provides a stunning background for a debut that offers the ideal combination of mystery, romance, and recipes.” Kirkus Reviews
“An exquisite Cape Cod setting, a shamed but resilient chef, murderous secrets, and a long-buried but still steaming romance… Amy Pershing’s debut mystery will leave you longing for a seaside vacation, complete with fried clams and the next book in her charming series.” Lucy Burdette, national bestselling author of THE KEY LIME CRIME
“This is one of the freshest, funniest murder mysteries I’ve ever read. I fell absolutely in love with Samantha Barnes — the brave, sarcastic, crime-solving, relatable heroine we’ve all been waiting for. A Side of Murder is a rich, satisfying meal that delights from beginning to end, and Amy Pershing is a wonderful and clever author.” Elizabeth Gilbert, #1 New York Times bestselling author of EAT PRAY LOVE and CITY OF GIRLS
“A delicious mystery lovingly set in Cape Cod featuring a cast of charming characters. Amy Pershing writes with a fresh fun voice that will delight cozy fans. Chef turned restaurant critic Samantha Barnes proves a clever sleuth whose helpful cooking tips will be a big hit with culinary readers.” Krista Davis, New York Times bestselling author of the DOMESTIC DIVA mysteries.Aunt Ida’s Cape Cod Clam Chowder
A real Cape Cod clam chowder is a thing of modest beauty. It is not thickened or overly creamy. It is nothing more than tender clams, little crispy cubes of salt pork (or bacon), some minced onion and celery, and a couple of diced potatoes – all swimming in a rich, milky, buttery broth redolent of the sea.
Aunt Ida would go out and dig her own quahogs, but any reputable fish monger should have fresh hard shell clams on hand. If these aren’t available to you, frozen or canned clams are a perfectly respectable substitute.
Also – and this is important – do not add your clams to the chowder until just before serving. They will only need a few minutes to cook (for canned clams even less). Anything more than that and they turn to rubber.
1/4 pound salt pork (or thick cut bacon), cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 1/2 pounds hard shell clams such as littlenecks, cherrystones, or quahogs (in order of increasing size) OR 1 pound frozen clams (shucked) OR 2 cups of chopped or minced canned clams, drained (six 6.5 oz. cans)
4 cups bottled clam broth (if using canned or frozen clams)
1 quart whole milk
3 cups of russet (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes no larger than 1/2-inch
2 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Optional: 1 cup heavy cream (Aunt Ida never would, but it does make it extra yummy)
1) If using fresh clams, rinse them under running water to clean the shells and set aside. If using frozen clams, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight and chop them roughly, if necessary. Canned clams are fine right out of the can.
2) Put the cubed salt pork (or bacon) into a heavy-bottomed stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook until it has begun to get brown and crispy.
3) Add the butter, minced onion and celery and to cook for about 5 minutes or until onions are softened but not browned.
4) If using fresh clams:
Add the clams and 1 cup of water to the pot and turn the heat to high. Cover and cook, opening the lid every once in a while to stir the clams, until they begin to open (about 3 minutes). As the clams open, remove them with tongs into to a large bowl, keeping as many juices in the pot as possible and keeping the lid shut as much as possible. After 8 minutes, discard any clams that have not yet begun to open.
Roughly chop the clam meat and put it into a separate bowl with any juices.
Add the milk, bay leaves and cubed potatoes to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender and starting to break down. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4) If using canned or thawed clams:
Add the bottled clam juice, milk, bay leaves and cubed potatoes to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender and starting to break down. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5) Add the clams to the pot. Add the cream if you are using it, bring to a simmer and cook for two or three minutes (one minute for canned clams). Serve immediately. (I like it with a pat of butter melting on the top, but that’s just me.)
NOTE: If you are making the chowder in advance, do not add the clams and the cream until you reheat it for serving.
About Amy Pershing
Amy Pershing is a lifelong mystery lover and wordsmith who spent every summer of her childhood on Cape Cod. In her previous incarnations she was an assistant editor at Viking Penguin, a restaurant reviewer for Playbill magazine’s Restaurant Reporter, and a journalist at the Rome (Italy) Daily American before eventually going on to lead employee communications at a global bank. A few years ago (with the final college tuition bill paid), she waved goodbye to Wall Street in order to write full time (and spend more time sailing on Cape Cod!). A Side of Murder is the first book in the Cape Cod Foodie mystery series featuring Samantha Barnes, a disgraced but resilient ex-chef and the world’s most reluctant YouTube star. While Sam tries to balance her new job as the local paper’s “Cape Cod Foodie” with her complicated love life, a posse of just-slightly-odd friends, a falling-down house and a ginormous puppy, she also discovers a new talent – a propensity for falling over dead bodies … and for solving crime.
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