My Family Recipe Rocks Episodes

Seafood, Pirates and Pizza in Atlantic City

Joey Fatone hits Atlantic City to check out the annual AC Seafood Festival. He also hits the high seas to catch his own dinner and gets a chance to plunder and play with pirates. Plus, Joey makes a pizza like you've never had before at Tony Boloney's.
Atlantic City, New Jersey, is a fun filled family destination where there is always something going on. One of the big events is the Atlantic City Seafood Festival. Some of the best restaurants in this seaside resort have come together to celebrate and share the great food the shore has to offer.

Since there's nothing better than fresh seafood, Joey has been invited to hit the high seas with Captain Mike Young from the Jersey Shore Beach-n-Boat fishing tournament. Hey before you can cook and eat it... you got to catch it!

On the boat, Mike tells Joey they will be fishing for Fluke, also known as summer flounder and Sea Bass.

Once Joey catches a fish, he's going to cook it. So to get some inspiration and, of course, sample some of the great dishes the Jersey Shore has to offer, he checked out the Atlantic City Seafood Festival.

At the festival Joey started out sampling a variety of dishes, including tequila shrimp bangers from The Vagabond, cajun fried shrimp from Harry's Oyster Bar and Seafood, lobster mac and cheese from the Chart House.

The seafood in this city is fantastic. But what's great food without a great beverage. For some pairing suggestions Joey checks in with festival wine director Michael Green.

"I think there are many things you can drink with seafood but wine can be so seafood friendly," says Green.

First up, a savingnon blanc, a white wine Green says would go well with oysters or crab. Next, he has Joey sample a red blend from Argentina. A wine that would go with a dish like shrimp parmegian.

"Drink what you like. Really that's what it all comes down to." Says Green. "But at the end of day one rule of thumb, light foods, light wines. But when you get to the more full bodied dish, red wines are great."

Now it's time to sample more dishes at the Seafood Festival. This round Joey tries shrimp bibsi, a shrimp in a sweet and spicy chili sauce, from Martorano's and more spicy shrimp from Bone Yard.

Joey is getting full so it is the perfect time to get some cooking tips from AC native Chef Nicole Gaffney.

"Seafood festival is my favorite festival that comes to this area. Born and raised in Atlantic City and I grew up in a family of commercial fisherman." Says Chef Nicole. "My whole life has revolved around the sea."

Since Chef Nicole knows a lot about seafood, Joey asks her for advice on how to cook whatever fish he catches.

"You want to cook it really simply. Don't want to get too caught up with spices and really strong flavors. Let the fish speak for itself," she advises. "A nice sautee or maybe poach it."

Chef Nicole also introduces Joey to the term en papillote. Simply put, it is cooking in paper. Wrap the fish in parchment and let it steam in its own juices.

Back on the boat, Joey catches a fish but it's too little.

These days boats and ships rely on GPS to help them navigate but back in the day lighthouses were a crucial aid. On this part of the Jersey shore the Absecon Lighthouse helped guide ships.

The Absecon Lighthouse is the tallest in New Jersey, and Joey climbs all 228 steps to take in the view from the top.

With its beaches, boardwalk, great night life and restaurants Atlantic City New Jersey is the perfect place for a fall getaway.

While Joey hasn't had much luck fishing yet, some competitive eaters and chefs are trying their luck in the competitions at the seafood festival.

Phillips Seafood puts on a crab cake eating competition. The contestants have three minutes to eat six three ounce crab cakes. Joey prefers to stay on the sidelines and enjoy his crab cakes slowly.

There is also a chowder cook off featuring 11 different restaurants. Attendees at the seafood fest make a $5 donation to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey and then they get to taste all the chowders and vote for their favorites. Joey checked out the offerings from Bes' Damn Soup and Chart House.

Back on the fishing boat, Joey asks Captain Mike what he loves most about Atlantic City.

"Atlantic City has something for everybody. Whether it's for nightlife and fine dining or whether you're just in town to enjoy some of the water sports. That's why I'm here," says Captain Mike.

According to local legend, the pirates that once roamed these waters made Gardner's Basin in Atlantic City their home. This weekend the pirates are back to plunder and play.

At the New Jersey Pirates and Privateers Weekend, Joey learns a little history from pirate Chelsey Cayer.

"Pirates had a huge influence along the east coast. They were all over the colonies. In New York you had Captain Kidd, you had Sam Bellamy who crashed off the coast of Cape Cod. Black Beard even was frequent in these parts. So we actually have that history here."

The two also exchanged pirate jokes before Joey got a chance to fire a real cannon!

Back on the boat, Joey has finally caught a fish! He reeled in a fluke!

We are in Atlantic City New Jersey, taking in all this seaside resort has to offer. That includes the fourth annual Atlantic City Triathlon. Some 13-hundred people took part in the swim, bike and run this year.

The race conveniently took place right next to the AC Seafood Festival where Joey has been sampling some of the best food the shore has to offer, including some shrimp croquettes from the Iron Room.

Being at the seafood festival was amazing but when Joey comes to Atlantic City he wants pizza. So it's off to Tony Boloney's. Owner Mike Hauke invited Joey to come and take one of his favorite family recipes, baked ziti, and give it a Tony Boloney's twist.

"We're gonna make grandma's baked ziti and put it on a pizza today," says Mike.

"I love it!" replies Joey.

To start Mike has Joey tear some Atlantic City crusty bread into small pieces while he pours hot water over his homemade curd to start making mozzarella cheese for the pizzas.

Next they start on the dough. Mike explains that Atlantic City pizza doesn't have a raised crust on the edges -- it's all flat. Once the dough is ready, they top it with tomato sauce, penne regatta, homemade ricotta and pecorino cheese.

Next it's time to fold and pull the fresh mozzarella. Joey and Mike rip off pieces of the fresh cheese to add to the pizzas. They finish them off with breadcrumbs, parsley and chunks of bread.

Mike cooks the pizzas in a super hot 750 degree oven and in only four-and-half minutes the pizzas are ready.

"Next thing to do is cut it up and eat it?" asks Joey.

"Well, if we're old school Atlantic City, we fold it," says Mike.

"You wouldn't be able to fold this whole thing would you?' asks Joey.

"Oh yeah!" exclaims Mike. The two then fold their pizzas in half and then in half again before taking big bites.

"We call it the Fatone. Grandma Fat One's ziti pizza," says Joey.

"The Folded Fat One," adds Mike.

Next Joey heads over to Wolfgang Puck American Grille at the Borgata to finally cook the fish he caught but there's a catch.

"I have a little confession to make," Joey tells Chef Aram. "I went fishing today and I did catch some fish but usually we feed our crew. I caught one or two little fish that wasn't enough."

"Don't worry Joey I got you covered," says Chef Aram. "I got a nice big piece of tuna. I think that will cover it."

"That is ginormous!" Joey exclaims.

"We're going to start with some Florida grouper," says Chef Aram.

Earlier the chef put a little bit of olive oil and fresh basil on the fish. Now he sprinkles some kosher salt and black pepper on the grouper before putting it in a well-oiled hot pan.

Chef Aram advises that the fish will stick if the pan is not hot enough. He adds some more salt and pepper then puts the fish in the same pan in the oven.

Now Joey and Chef Aram turn their attention back to the giant piece of tuna. Chef Aram trims off the skin then slices it down into some nice thick steaks. He sears the steaks in a hot pan, then slices up the tuna and tops it with a sauce of brown butter and yuzu juice. He finishes it with some marinated cucumbers.

"That's how I like to eat tuna, just so simple. It's all about the fish that you caught you want to taste that," explains Chef Aram.

Now it's time for the taste test.

"That's awesome" says Joey after taking a bite.

Now it's back to the Florida grouper that has been cooking in the oven. To finish this dish, Chef Aram puts down a basil sauce, some tomatoes, fresh parsley and tops it all with a little olive oil.

"Holy cow, this is absolutely amazing" declares Joey.

For more information on planning your own getaway to Atlantic City visit

Other Useful Links:

Segment 1
Sauteed Florida Grouper
Sauteed Florida Grouper
Try this simple and flavorful dish featuring Florida grouper and a panzanella salad.
See Recipe
Segment 2
Seared Tuna with Brown Butter-Yuzu Sauce
Seared Tuna with Brown Butter-Yuzu Sauce
A quick seared tuna dish featuring an Asian citrus sauce.
See Recipe
Segment 3
Baked Ziti Pizza
Baked Ziti Pizza
Tony Boloney's twist on a family favorite. Taking grandma's baked ziti and putting it on a pizza.
See Recipe

Stay Informed

Find the Live Well Network in your city and see the full program schedule

The Live Well Network
Knock It Off!
Live Big with Ali Vincent
My Family Recipe Rocks!
Food Rush
We Owe What?
Let's Dish
Mexico: One Plate at a Time
Home with Lisa Quinn
Hiring America
Children's Programming
Military Makeover
The Balancing Act
Pickler and Ben