My husband and I make a great team in the kitchen. I like to call him “the idea guy”. He loves coming up with different recipes for me to make. Sometimes I look at him like he is crazy, because of the things he requests me to make, and then other times I think he has something here! This entire summer my husband has been requesting that we do a Clam Bake. He was researching all the different ways to cook it, such as on a grill, over an open fire and even on the stove. He was also looking into all the different ingredients you can add to a clam bake. What’s not to love about a Clam Bake? You can have one on the beach, in your backyard or even in your kitchen. He has been reminiscing about clam bakes his family had when he was younger. They made theirs in a big, traditional steam pot over an open fire. They would make theirs at a local park typically on Labor Day weekend. He wasn’t much into seafood when he was younger so they added chicken for him. Thankfully, his tastebuds have graduated and he now likes seafood.
I personally love how versatile a clam bake can be. You simply add all your favorite seafood such as shrimp, clams, lobster, mussels or crab legs. Chorizo, Andouille and even Kielbasa Sausages make nice additions to a clam bake. They add a different texture and the Chorizo & Andouille Sausages add a touch of heat. If you want to keep it traditional, you can also add a layer of rockweed (a.k.a. seaweed) which will give your Clam Bake a lot of flavor. Using a large steamer pot, you can combine the seafood & sausages with fresh veggies such as corn on the cob, potatoes and onions. There is nothing better in the summertime than fresh Jersey Corn on the Cob. It is so sweet you can almost eat it raw. If you grew up on the East Coast or spent any summers at the Jersey shore than you know what I am talking about. You can stop at any farm stand on the side of the road and they will sell you the freshest & sweetest corn, peaches, tomatoes along with many other fruits & veggies. We did just that. We stopped off at one of the farm stands on the way to the beach and picked up a bunch of fresh corn on the cob. It is so good that I could eat corn on the cob almost every day during the summer.
Ok, back to the clam bake. I lost myself for a minute over the corn. It can do that to you!
As we were driving to the beach (after picking up the corn), I started to think about this whole clam bake idea. I knew I wanted to have one during a special occasion. I thought what better time then at the beach with our family. It would be the perfect setting and we could enjoy it with more people. Plus, I promised my sister I would make her crab legs for her birthday. So, that’s exactly what we did. We planned out what seafood, sausage and veggies everyone liked. Of course, the corn was making it into that pot no matter what. It turned out to be a fun meal to make with everyone getting involved, including my brother-in-law who has been a chef for many years. We put him to good use in the kitchen! He showed us his knife skills on the king crab legs. I think some crab juice shot me in the face as I was closely observing. But, hey I wasn’t complaining!
I love how every layer absorbs all the flavors of the fresh seafood and seasonings. The bottom pot makes an incredible broth that is perfect for dunking lots of fresh bread. The broth is so delicious I may have even drank a small bowl of it on its own! Ssshh, don’t tell anyone!
Makes approx. 8-10 Servings
12 Cups, Water
1 Bottle, White Wine, Chardonnay
2 Cups, Vermouth
1 Stick, Butter
2 Bags, Small Red Potatoes
8 Cloves, Fresh Garlic
1 Bag, Smaller White Onions
5 Ears, Corn on the Cob
9-10 Links, Chorizo Sausage
1, Large Kielbasa
Few Dashes, Old Bay Seasoning
1 Package, Fresh Thyme
1 Bunch, Leeks, white part only
4 lbs., Clams, Top Neck, littleneck or steamer clams, scrubbed *(we used Top Neck in this recipe)
2 Bags, Shrimp, uncooked
Approx. 6-8, King Crab Legs
Few Sprigs, Parsley, for garnish
Lots of Bread, for dunking (about 3 loaves)
Place a steamer pot onto the stove over medium-high heat. To the bottom of the pot, add the water, Vermouth and wine and bring to a boil. Once the liquid is boiling, add the potatoes to the top pot (leaving potatoes whole). Cover and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Peel and cut the onions in half.
- Wash/Rinse Potatoes
- Peel and cut the corn in half.
- Cut the ends off of the lemon and then cut it into thick slices.
- Cut the ends and green parts off of the leeks; slice the white parts in half (lengthwise) and rinse under cold water to clean them.
- Rinse & scrub the clams to remove any sand left on them
- Cut the crab legs into smaller pieces (if too big for pot) and crack the shells open
- Peel & cut corn in half
Add the onion, leeks, garlic, Chorizo & Kielbasa Sausages (leaving the sausages whole), Lemon slices, Fresh Thyme (place the whole bunch of thyme into the pot), Old Bay seasoning and cook for about another 10 minutes.
Add the corn and crab legs and continue cooking for about another 5 minutes.
Cover the bread with aluminum foil, place into a 375 Degree oven and bake to heat through. Remove the bread from the oven once your Clam Bake is ready to serve.
Add the clams and shrimp and continue cooking until clams open up and the shrimp is cooked through, about 10 minutes or so. Remove the top of the pot and set aside. Add the stick of butter to the liquid in the bottom pot, whisk and cook for about another 5 minutes or so.
Slice the Kielbasa. You can cut the potatoes in half (lengthwise) or leave whole. Using tongs, place the ingredients onto large platters or in bowls, pour some of the liquid/broth over top and garnish with the fresh parley. Your guests can help themselves.
Place some of the broth/liquid into smaller bowls and serve with slices of bread for dunking.
To Serve: A fun way to serve your Clam Bake is to set out newspaper or cover table with brown paper and place all your ingredients onto the table. Place bowls of broth and the sliced bread around the table for everyone to enjoy. This is a great meal to serve outdoors and for everyone to help themselves.
Seafood: you can also add Lobster and Mussels to your Clambake or any of your favorite seafoods. If adding Lobster, add them after the potatoes so they have enough time to cook. The mussels can be added towards the end (one of the last layers) and cook until they open.
Sausage: You can use any of your favorite sausages. The Chorizo adds a nice spice/heat to this dish and the Kielbasa is a bit milder. Andouille Sausage would also be great in this recipe. Leaving the sausage whole while cooking leaves all their flavors in tact. Don’t slice until you are ready to serve. If the links are small enough, you can simple add them to your table whole.