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Summer Recipes That Are ‘Healthy for Bay and Body’ Cooking with Chef John Shields, ‘The Culinary Ambassador of the Chesapeake Bay’

John Shields | Photo by David W. Harp

“As a small boy in Baltimore, I remember my grandmother’s excitement with each approaching season and the treasures it offered for the table,” says Chef John Shields.

Author, chef, television personality and owner of Gertrude’s Restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art, Shields uses his latest book, “The New Chesapeake Kitchen,” to communicate a call to action to embrace new growing, producing, eating and cooking practices that he says are “healthy for Bay and body.”

Through his book, Shields advocates for the long-term health and vitality of the Chesapeake Bay region and expresses his passion for healthy eating and the people, places and food that call this region home.

Savor the tastes of summer Maryland-style with Shields’ recipes for Farfalle with Pea Tendril and Mint Pesto and Roasted Asparagus and a cool Schillinger Farm Watermelon Gazpacho.

Farfalle with Pea Tendril and Mint Pesto and Roasted Asparagus

Farfalle with Pea Tendril and Mint Pesto and Roasted Asparagus | Photo by David W. Harp

For many years, Chef John Shields has been conducting gardening and cooking classes at the historic Evergreen Library and Museum on North Charles Street in Baltimore. In the late spring when the peas are going strong, there are pea tendrils aplenty. This clever idea comes from Shields’ Edible Evergreen series.

  • 1 pound local asparagus, with tough bottom stalks trimmed off
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, plus more for additional seasoning
  • 1 pound farfalle pasta (regular or whole wheat), cooked al dente, rinsed, drained and cooled
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • ½ cup minced chives or green onions
  • Pea Tendril and Mint Pesto (recipe follows)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Coat the spears of asparagus with olive oil and dust with salt and pepper. Lay the asparagus on sheet trays, making sure they do
not overlap. Roast for about 20 to 25 minutes until tender but still a little crisp. Set aside and when cool enough to handle, cut into 1½-inch pieces.
3. While the asparagus is roasting, cook the pasta and cool.
4. To assemble, place the pasta in a large mixing bowl and toss with the bell pepper, chives and asparagus. Fold in pesto, a little
at a time, until just coated. Season the pasta salad with additional salt and pepper if necessary. Serves 4 to 6

Pea Tendril and Mint Pesto

  • 3 to 4 cups pea tendrils
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • ½ cup toasted pine nuts
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place the pea tendrils, mint leaves, pine nuts, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice and Parmesan, if using, into a blender or food processor. Process the mixture until smooth. With the blender running, slowly add the olive oil. Season the pesto with salt and pepper to taste.

Schillinger Farm Watermelon Gazpacho

Schillinger Farm Watermelon Gazpacho | Photo by David W. Harp

Yolanda Johnson is the Soup Queen of Charm City and her much-beloved soups have brightened the days and satisfied the bellies of many locals over the years. Every summer, patrons of Chef John Shields’ restaurant, Gertrude’s, clamor for this wonderful, refreshing soup. Yolanda prefers the ‘Sugar Baby’ variety of watermelon, but any sweet watermelon will work. If you can find a seedless variety, it makes the already easy-to-make soup even easier.

  • ½ ‘Sugar Baby’ watermelon, peeled and seeded
  • 3 slices Pullman white bread, crust cut off
  • ½ cup blanched almonds
  • 1½ cups freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 small serrano chile, seeds removed and minced
  • ½ teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • ½ small seedless watermelon, rind cut off and inside cut into chunks
  • 1 seedless cucumber, diced
  • ½ yellow bell pepper, finely diced
  • ½ red onion, finely diced

1. Mix and purée ‘Sugar Baby’ watermelon, bread, almonds, orange juice, lime juice, chile, garlic and cilantro in the bowl of a food
processor or blender jar.
2. Fold in seedless watermelon, cucumber, yellow bell pepper and red onion. Chill well before serving. Serves 6 to 8

“The New Chesapeake Kitchen” by John Shields | John Hopkins University Press

All recipes from “The New Chesapeake Kitchen” by John Shields. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018

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