Monday, February 1, 2010

Clambake Recipes and Tips


Have a clambake on the beach, in the backyard or in the kitchen
Courtesy of the Food Network
    The traditional clambake is an all-day affair, although most guests arrive in the evening.

    They're just in time to enjoy a few drinks before the tarpaulin is peeled off the steaming heap of corn, potatoes and soft-shell, cherrystone or littleneck clams. Some clambakes also include lobsters, chickens, sausages and eggs.

    Whatever ingredients you choose, this fun and festive event culminates in a meal that is well worth the wait. And while you're waiting for the main event, have a bowl of creamy clam chowder or some clam cakes to get you in the mood.

    10 Steps for a Traditional Clambake
    1. Dig a pit on the beach, about two feet deep, two feet wide and three feet long.
    2. Line the bottom with large stones.
    3. Build a wood fire over the stones and keep it burning for about two hours, feeding it when necessary, to heat the rocks. Let the fire burn down to embers, about another two hours.
    4. While the fire is winding down, wrap potatoes, littleneck clams, corn on the cob (in husk), onion quarters, mussels and spicy sausages, by group, in cheesecloth or foil.
    5. Cover the coals with a thick layer of seaweed, preferably rockweed which has little pockets of sea water, but other seaweeds will work. This provides both protection from direct heat and the required steam.
    6. Layer the packets of potatoes, clams, corn, onion, mussels and sausage, and then live lobsters, if desired.
    7. Top with another couple inches of seaweed, and if you're not using rockweed, a couple of quarts of seawater for steaming.
    8. Cover the entire pit with a seawater-soaked canvas weighted down with either rocks or sand.
    9. Continue your party for another hour or two until all the foods are cooked through.
    10. Savor this fabulous feast, served hot with plenty of melted butter and washed down with icy cold beer.

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