This stovetop clambake recipe puts a rite of summer in reach anytime



Stovetop Clambake

Total time:30 mins, plus at least 20 minutes to soak the clams

Servings:4

Total time:30 mins, plus at least 20 minutes to soak the clams

Servings:4

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I live in a city apartment with no outdoor space, but that doesn’t stop me from regularly making a full-on New England-style clambake for dinner.

Sure, part of the magic of the meal comes from its traditional setting on a beach, where your feet are in the sand and crashing waves are the background music. But the food itself — clams and various shellfish, sweet corn and new potatoes, all showered with Old Bay Seasoning — plus the way it is served in a big pile at the center of the table, bring carefree, summertime joy indoors, too.

My apartment-friendly version is made in one pot, on the stove, with barely any prep required. There are just a couple of things to do before you load everything into the pot.

One, make sure to scrub the clams and soak them in water for 20 minutes, at least once (and twice if they are super sandy) to make sure they expel any grit. Two, cut the vegetables into finger-food-size pieces, because part of the fun of the whole shindig is eating with your hands. I include the traditional corn on the cob (quartered) and baby new potatoes (halved), but I also add 2-inch pieces of celery, which is absolutely delicious steamed and echoes the flavor of the celery seed in the seasoning.

Then you simply bring a couple of inches of water to a boil in a big, narrow stock pot and put the ingredients in to steam. The order they go in is important to ensure each item is properly cooked; first, the potatoes go in to get an 8-minute head start in the boiling water. The clams go in on top of the potatoes, then the shrimp and, finally, the corn and celery.

After about 10 more minutes, you scoop it all onto a big platter, squeeze fresh lemon on top and sprinkle it with Old Bay and fresh parsley. If you want to go a different but equally delicious direction, you can use Creole seasoning instead.

Place the platter on the center of your table, with a side of butter, if you’d like, for spreading onto the corn and potatoes, along with plenty of napkins, and dig in. Enjoy the hands-on fun of it all, slurping clams out of shells, peeling and eating shrimp, and nibbling corn right off the cob.

It’s such a joyful, carefree meal, whether or not you are at the beach this Labor Day weekend, this clambake will make it feel like a holiday.

Where to Buy: Littleneck clams can be found at well-stocked supermarkets or seafood stores.

Make Ahead: The clams need to be soaked for 20 minutes before cooking. If they are very sandy, soak them up to 3 times, 20 minutes each time.

NOTE: After soaking, check the clams by tapping on their shells; if they close up, this means they are alive. If they remain open, the clams are dead and should not be cooked. Also discard any clams with broken or cracked shells.

Storage Notes: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 2 days.

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  • 1 pound baby new potatoes, left unpeeled and halved
  • 16 littleneck clams, scrubbed, soaked for 20 minutes, then drained (see NOTE)
  • 1 1/4 pounds extra-large shell-on shrimp (about 20)
  • 3 ears fresh corn, shucked and quartered crosswise
  • 4 large stalks celery, cut crosswise on the bias into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 large lemon, halved
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning or Creole seasoning, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • Softened butter, for serving (optional)

Add about 1 1/2 inches of water to a large (8-quart) tall, narrow pot with a lid and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes, return to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook until the potatoes are about halfway done, about 8 minutes.

In this order, add the clams, then the shrimp, and finally the corn and celery to the pot. Increase the heat to medium-high, cover, and cook until the clams have opened and the shrimp is pink and just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes more.

Using tongs and a large slotted spoon or spider, transfer the mixture to a large serving bowl. Squeeze the lemon on top and sprinkle with the Old Bay or Creole seasoning, then garnish with the parsley leaves. If you like, serve with butter for the corn and potatoes, and additional Old Bay or Creole seasoning.

Per serving (4 clams, 5 shrimp, 3 potatoes, 3 pieces corn and 4 pieces celery)

Calories: 344; Total Fat: 3 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g; Cholesterol: 184 mg; Sodium: 729 mg; Carbohydrates: 45 g; Dietary Fiber: 5 g; Sugar: 8 g; Protein: 39 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

From cookbook author and registered dietitian nutritionist Ellie Krieger.

Tested by Olga Massov; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com.

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