After I was rising up in New Jersey, my dad enlisted us children to dig up clams down on the shore. It was normally a multi-family affair. The grownups constructed a hearth on the seashore and crammed a brand new aluminum rubbish can with seawater. They set the can over the fireplace, and as soon as the water was at a boil, the clams went in.
We had been supplied paper plates for the clams and cups for the broth. I realized the best way to pull out the bellies and dip and shake the clams within the broth to scrub them, and the best way to sip the broth rigorously so the sand stayed on the backside of the cup.
Sea, sand, the waning solar, loads of beer for the adults, kids racing up and down the seashore—that was a excessive level of summer time in my childhood. We settled across the fireplace because the sky went darkish, singing songs till it was time to pack it up till the subsequent 12 months.
A REAL NEW ENGLAND CLAMBAKE
Quick ahead ten years, and I skilled an actual New England clambake on Cape Cod. This was undoubtedly a distinct kettle of fish (pardon the pun).
There have been no rubbish cans in sight. A hearth that was dug in a large, deep pit on the shore and that smoldered all day. The hearth burned beneath giant rocks, and extra wooden burned on high. When the stones had been scorching, the clam masters threw on a thick layer of seaweed.
Then the layering started. Potatoes, sausages, scorching canine (sure! scorching canine), corn, clams, and lobsters had been positioned within the pit, which was lastly lined with extra seaweed and a tarp. After about an hour, every thing was prepared. Out got here the paper plates and the melted butter.
HOW TO HAVE A NEW ENGLAND CLAMBAKE AT HOME
Even when Cape Cod isn’t in your journey plans this summer time, you possibly can nonetheless expertise a New England clambake: enter the “clambake in a pot.” This model, also referred to as a clam boil right here in New England (no lobsters), is much extra accessible. All you want is a pot and to get your arms on some clams.
The truth is, you don’t even must personal an enormous pot—you could possibly use a number of soup pots or a stockpot. The method and cooking time are the identical: Deliver some water and wine to a boil within the backside of a pot, add potatoes and shallots (or simply potatoes) and simmer them for a short while.
Subsequent, add browned sausages and/or scorching canine. (I don’t eat plenty of scorching canine, however for me they’re integral to the clam boil.) Lastly, add clams and/or mussels and high with corn. Pop on a lid and let steam for one more 12 to 15 minutes and also you’re carried out.
THE BEST SHELLFISH FOR A CLAMBAKE
One of the best clams for steaming like this are small quahogs (pronounced koh-hogs, additionally known as littlenecks), or purchase “steamers,” that are lengthy neck clams. Mussels and clams are each bought reside, and must be saved within the fridge in a breathable container (not sealed in a plastic bag) till able to cook dinner.
PREPARING SHELLFISH FOR COOKING
Most clams simply want a fast scrub beneath chilly operating water to dislodge extra sand and grit. Use a small scrub brush if they’re significantly sandy. For the mussels, pull off the beards—the fabric that protrudes from between the shells.
Discard clams or mussels with cracked shells or that don’t shut tightly when tapped frivolously towards the counter.
CLAMBAKE FOR A CROWD
The recipe under is for 4 folks, however it’s straightforward sufficient to scale up the elements for extra folks. You’ll simply want a much bigger pot!
Actually, it is a spectacular occasion dish that’s spectacularly straightforward to tug off for a crowd. Prepare dinner it inside on the range, dump every thing on huge platters, and take it exterior. Pour the broth into cups and serve with crusty bread and melted butter for dipping.
When you’re renting a cottage someplace on the shore, it is a must-do summer time extravaganza. And for those who’re staycationing, don’t really feel sorry for your self! Invite some mates over and let the great instances roll.