OK, so the actual title is New England Clam Bake, but I don’t eat clams and the real star of the show here is, let’s face it, the LOBSTER! While I’ve participated in many a clam bake over the decades, I never actually made one. And the beauty of this is, no need for a beach. You concoct the entire meal in one large pot in-house—a genius alternative when cooking at the beach isn’t an option.
In our case, make that two large pots. We were on vacation in Cape Cod and were at the mercy of whatever the rental property provided pot-wise (and I’m not talking the smoking variety.) After rummaging around in cupboards we thought we struck gold with a ginormous steaming pot. Alas, while the outside looked brand-spanking new, the inside bottom was rusty and therefore unusable for the broth.
However I have to credit some quick thinking by The Hubs. We steamed the crustaceans in that steam pot while cooking everything else in the second largest pot available, which would not have held the entire ingredients. The rental also coughed up two large plastic trays, perfect for serving purposes.
If you don’t count the cost of the rather expensive jumbo shrimp at $23-per-pound, the meal in itself was quite reasonably priced—and normally shrimp isn’t part of a lobster/clam bake anyway. We added them because, as I mentioned earlier, I don’t eat clams. I like clam broth, just not the consistency of the “meat”. Lobsters were running $9.99 per pound and we needed two 2-pounders. If the four of us (son David and girlfriend Vikki joined us) had dined out on this meal, the cost would’ve far surpassed the monetary output invested here.
Our rental was situated only about a quarter mile from Mac’s Chatham Fish and Lobster which provides not only fresh seafood for purchase, but also dine-in and take-out options. (We availed ourselves of all three over our two-week stay.) The Hubs got there shortly after opening to make sure our needs would be in stock.
NOTE: If you happen to be doing your clambake in a pot that’s set on a rack over an open grill, go ahead and instead toss the corn and the cut lemon directly on the rack to impart a slight smokiness to the final dish.
When ready, tip the contents of the pot onto a table lined with newspaper or butcher paper. (Cut each lobster in half prior to serving.) Or in our case, because we wanted to preserve the broth for bread-dipping purposes, dump the contents onto rimmed trays. Sprinkle everything with the herbs and set out small bowls of melted butter along with some crusty bread and lemon wedges and dishes or small buckets so folks have a place to toss the spent shells. Don’t forget oo-gobs of napkins!
BTW—We did have quite a few potatoes and corn leftover. The remaining potatoes were sliced and fried for breakfast the next morning, and the corn was shaved off the cobs and made into a sauté a few days later.
New England Lobstah Bake
- 1 cup cold water
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 2 1/2 Tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 tsp. coarse sea salt
- 4 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 red onion, roughly chopped
- 2 pounds new potatoes, halved
- 2, 2-pound lobsters
- 2 dozen Manila clams
- 1 1/2 lbs. jumbo shrimp
- 4 ears fresh corn, cut into quarters
- Small bunch tarragon or flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 2 sticks unsalted butter (8 oz), melted
- Crusty bread
- 6 lemons, halved or cut into wedges
- In a ginormous pot, bring the water, wine, Old Bay, salt, and garlic to a boil.
- Toss the onion and potatoes in the pot, cover, and cook over medium-high heat for 15 minutes.
- Nestle the lobsters on the onion and potatoes, cover the pot again, and cook for 3 minutes.
- Add the clams and corn and continue to cook, still covered, until the clams have opened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the shrimp (if using) 3 minutes before everything is done, you don’t want to overcook them.
- Carefully remove the pot from the heat and drain the cooking liquid (we saved it for bread dipping purposes). Remove and discard any clams that haven’t opened.
- With a large sharp knife, slice the lobsters in halve lengthwise.
- Tip the contents of the pot onto a table lined with newspaper or butcher paper or transfer to 2 large rimmed platters. Transfer broth into a separate bowl if desired.
Adapted from a recipe found on leitesculinaria.com