Saturday, May 3

HOW TO: Make a New England Clambake

One of the best things about living in New England is seafood. Fresh markets, daily catches, and markets every where. No where in this country or world can compare to it's great seafood bakes. True there are a variety of seafood pots across the world, but the gentle spice of a New England Seafood pot is hard to beat. Often called a clam bake, this simple dish is easy to make right in your own kitchen.

I will admit this dish is all about timing and is easy to destroy. As long as you really clean and scrub all you shell fish ahead of time you will be fine. Making a meal can be done in under 1 1/2 hour with little stress as long as, you make sure everything is fully prepped and ready to go.

Lets start with what you are going to need to make this meal. This recipe will serve 4-6 people

4 dozen little neck clams
2 lbs. lobster tails/claws (I do not use live, I use cleaned ready to cook, but full lobsters are more traditional)
2 pound mussels
1 pound large shrimp
6 red potatoes, diced into 4 pieces
4-6 small corn cobs, cut into 2-3" pieces
4-6 chorizo sausage
1 small onion, diced large
2 bay leaves
2 stalk celery, cut into long pieces and each cut in half
1/4 cup corn meal
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp dried parsley or 1 fresh parsley sprig
1 tbsp dried thyme or 1 fresh thyme sprig
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns

Let us begin with cleaning everything before we start cooking. In a very large bowl place corn meal, clams, and mussels. Fill the bowl with extremely cold water and 1-2 tbsp salt. Water should cover all shells. This will purge any sand or dirt from the shells and seafood.

Let this sit for a good 30 minutes to really clean it out. Once the time is up, drain the water and rinse the shells under cool water.

Now we can start cooking. In a large pot combine dried parsley, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, potatoes, onions, and celery. Fill the pot half way with water.

Boil for 8-10 minutes and add in corn and sausage if using it. Continue cooking until potatoes begin to become tender.

Add in shrimp and cover pot, cook 2-3 minutes.

Add in clams and mussels, continue cooking covered until shells have opened up slightly.

Place lobster tails/claws on top and cook, until shells have fully opened and lobster is warmed through.

Remove from heat.

To serve mound clams, mussels, potatoes into large individual serving bowls. Top with one sausage, one corn cob, and large lobster pieces.

(above shown without lobster)

Serve with fresh lemon wedges and dinner rolls. Cheers!