No sand pit on the beach is needed for this
one-pot clambake. Photo courtesy Williams-
The clambake has long been a popular New England summer festivity. Sand pits are dug on the beach to steam the seafood. It’s not only delicious food—it’s a fun event.
But you don’t need a beach to enjoy the deliciousness. This recipe from Williams Sonoma’s One Pot of The Day Cookbook will do the trick.
Get out or borrow a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot (16-20 quarts) and fill it to the brim with everybody’s favorite clambake ingredients: clams, corn, lobsters, mussels, potatoes and sausages.
Advises Williams-Sonoma: Just provide plenty of napkins, a bowl for the discards and crusty bread to soak up the broth.
We’ll add: bibs and a clam chowder starter!
For vegetables: Prepare a green salad without adding dressing. If anyone’s still hungry after the main course, dress and serve the salad. Otherwise, keep it for the next day.
While traditional clambakes serve cold beer, you can pour your favorite white wine or rosé.
If you want everyone to have a lobster, get four. Otherwise, detach the tails of the two lobsters prior to cooking, so two people will have tails and two get the upper body with the claws and legs.
If you have large bowls, consider using them instead of plates. Then, each person can have as much broth as he prefers with his/her meal.
RECIPE: ONE-POT LOBSTER CLAMBAKE
Ingredients For 4 Servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small fennel bulb, chopped, any fronds reserved for garnish
3 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1-1/2 cups white wine
3 cups chicken broth
1 pound red-skinned potatoes, quartered
1 pound kielbasa or other smoked sausage, thickly sliced
2 one-pound lobsters
2 ears of corn, each cut into 3 pieces
24 mussels*, scrubbed and debearded
24 clams*, scrubbed
12 large shrimp in the shell
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Crusty bread, sliced
Bibs (we use hand towels)
*Discard any clams or mussels that are cracked or open before cooking. Mollusks should be closed before cooking and open afterward.
1. HEAT the oil in the stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, fennel and thyme. and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until the fennel is soft, about 8 minutes.
2. ADD the wine and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and then layer the other ingredients on top in this order: the potatoes, the kielbasa and the lobsters. Cover the pot tightly and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and nestle in the corn, clams, mussels and shrimp. Cover tightly and cook for another 10 minutes. Discard any unopened mussels or clams.
3. TRANSFER the corn, potatoes, sausage and seafood to a large platter, using a slotted spoon. Season the broth in the stockpot to taste with salt and pepper and spoon it over the top of the seafood (we pour the excess broth into a pitcher for the table and reserve whatever is left for to enjoy next day). Garnish with fennel fronds and lemon wedges, and serve immediately.
Find more easy one-dish dinners in this cookbook by Kate McMillan. Order yours online. Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.
A lobster clambake is a 2,000-year-old tradition that began with Native Americans in what is now New England. The Pilgrims first learned about it by watching them gather the seafood from the water and prepare the community meal on the beach.
Native Americans did not have large cooking vessels. Instead, a sand pit was dug and lined with hot rocks and coals. The seafood was set into the pit and covered with wet seaweed and more hot rocks, steaming the food in seawater. (Today, a tarp is added to keep the steam in.)
What was a subsistence meal for the Native Americans of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island has evolved into a modern-day festive beach dinner, often held at sunset.
At some point after the Europeans arrived, seafood was not considered sufficient protein source for the men working hard to dig the pit and gather the seafood. Meat was added as an energy food—first as hame or bacon in clam chowder, and then in the “bake” itself.
The only “given” in a clam bake are the clams; but if you don’t eat seafood you can include different fish fillets.