This year, we decided to kick off the summer with a Memorial Day clambake. I have to admit that I was a little intimidated by the thought of tackling a whole clambake by myself. The clams, the shrimp, the corn, the potatoes, the sausage - that's a lot of
food for one person to prepare. I've dabbled a bit in trying to steam clams but I've never actually made a whole clam-bake, complete with all the trimmings. Not to mention the fact that most clambakes feed 20-30 and we are a family of 3 right now.
My dad has always been the clambake King of our family. He makes EPIC clambakes every Fall. I don't want to even try and recreate my dad's ultimate clambake so I've decided to go a different direction and develop my own clambake style. The less traditional - grilled clambake. Not sure if grilled clambakes even qualify as a "clambake" but I've got to say - it worked out pretty great for me.
Don't be intimidated by the lengthy ingredient list, or by the number of steps in the recipe. Preparing a clambake is a process. Embrace the journey and put your own stamp on the recipe. I cut this recipe in half and it was perfect for 3-4 people.
1/3 cup fresh basil
1/3 cup fresh dill
1/4 cup fresh chives
1 cup mayonnaise
1 serrano pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
6 cloves garlic, 2 minced & 4 sliced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 Tablespoons water
24 jumbo shrimp in shell, deveined
1 Tablespoon sugar
24 littleneck clams, scrubbed
3 pounds fingerling potatoes
1/2 cup olive oil
2 pounds sausage (I used a caprese chicken sausage)
4 ears corn, shucked
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
Serve with lemon wedges, reserved herbs and herbed mayonnaise.
Here's the skinny of the grilled clambake. 1.) The herb mayonnaise sauce is completely unnecessary. Everything is SUPER flavorful anyway and we didn't see any need to add additional sauce or herbs to any of the seafood or vegetables. 2.) The corn does not need to be drenched in garlic butter. The grilled corn would have been just as tasty with just a sprinkling of the fresh herbs. 3.) The broth that the clams cook in is by far the most tasty part of this whole recipe. Do not throw it away or waste it. Serve it on the side and mop up every ounce of this liquid gold with your shrimp, clams or extra bread.
We devoured this platter of goodness in no time. It took about an hour and a half to prepare all of the food but it was definitely worth it. Sooooo tasty.
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