Spooky cooking, scary movies

main dish

Amity Island Shrimp Boats | Jaws

This year marks the 45th anniversary of Jaws, the sharky summer blockbuster that terrified would-be beachgoers in theaters in 1975. Based on the novel by Peter Benchley and directed by Stephen Spielberg (who was only 27 at the time!), the film with its iconic soundtrack and clever editing became an instant classic.

There’s been some biting comparisons drawn between the plot of Jaws and this particular Pandemic Summer. Much like police chief Martin Brody does of mayor Larry Vaughn, we question the wisdom of opening the beach. However, if you’re avoiding the beach from either fear of sickness or shark attack, you can still eat like you’re there! Here’s a summery seafood dish, the type you’d be served at a beachfront cafe, ready to be devoured.

While Jaws takes place in the fictional town of Amity Island, New York, the movie was filmed in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The summer colony provided just the atmosphere they were looking for – a charming vacation town whose tourist industry could be believably destroyed by a shark.

Martha’s Vineyard is also known for its food, including fresh seafood dishes and even a signature salad. Shrimp and lobster rolls are popular in New England so were the inspiration for this recipe. While those are served on hot dog style buns, this is tweaked for the movie and served, of course, in a bread boat. The bread boats are filled with a lovely shrimp salad. It’s a classic New England style shrimp salad but the seasoning combination of sherry, lemon and tarragon make it extra elegant.

The recipe serves 4, but can easily be doubled. After all, if you’re really hungry, you’re going to need a bigger boat.


  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sherry
  • ½ cup celery, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons shallot, finely diced
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 2 heaping tablespoons mayonnaise
  • Olive oil
  • Two baby baguettes hollowed out (you could also do a French loaf. Save the bread scraps for bread crumbs)
  • Melted butter for brushing
  • Spinach leaves

Marinate the shrimp in lemon juice and sherry. Let sit in the fridge for at least half an hour. In a large bowl, combine celery, shallot, tarragon, lemon zest and mayonnaise. Set aside. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan on medium and cook shrimp with marinade, stirring and flipping, until pink, about 2-3 minutes. Cook thoroughly but be careful not to overcook, shrimp easily gets rubbery! Remove to a clean bowl and allow to cool. With a slotted spoon, fold shrimp into to the mayonnaise mixture. Add a teaspoon or two of the leftover cooked marinade liquid for flavor, and to thin the mayonnaise mixture a little so that it lightly coats the shrimp.

Heat oven to 400°. Brush baguette boats with melted butter and toast in the oven until golden. Allow to cool slightly. Line the inside with spinach leaves and scoop full of the shrimp salad. Slice in halves or thirds to serve.

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