Lobsterama: Clam Bake
I am just back from a week in Cape Cod and I have many lobster tales (ha ha) to tell. I’ve spent the last week with my dear friends and their super-cute, super-blonde offspring. We had a house with a giant backyard, a lot of beach days, a lot of card games, and a lot of cooking. Most of this was done while drinking CC&7, which reminds Jess and Tami of their Grandma Bea. You know those people you’ve known so long that their family feels like part of yours, and your family adopts them, and there’s overlap every which way in your lives? These are those people. Fortunately for me, they also happen to be wonderful cooks.
Christine was the only one of us who’d actually grown up in New England, so she was our Guru de Cuisine, more or less, for the week. She rightly decided straight out that we needed to do a clam bake, so we invited her family (also vacationing nearby) and called the Falmouth Fish Market tout de suite to make an order. We got eight portions, each complete with lobster, steamers, corn, potatoes, and sausage.
Luckily our rental house had the perfect lobster pot: a two-part contraption with a spicket to drain the broth at the end (handy for cleaning the clams before you eat them).
Contrary to popular belief, lobsters are not scavengers of dead meat. Rather, they eat fish, crabs, clams, mussels, sea urchins, and sometimes other lobsters. They are also lower in cholesterol and calories than chicken, eggs, and beef. And they’re delicious–like shrimp that’s eaten nothing but butter its entire life and lounged around on floaties of butter, ensuring the tenderest flesh possible. Ninety percent of American lobsters come from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine–which explains the downright obsession that Cape Cod has for the buggers. Stores in town sold every lobster tchatchke imaginable, and one even went so far as to feature lobster ice cream! (I tried it. NOT my cup of tea, as much as I like lobster.)
We served no lobster ice cream, just straight-forward steamed goodness. Christine manned this operation with pizzazz, and everyone was stuffed and happy by the end of the night.
Here is the method to Christine’s fantastic clam bake (or clam boil, more correctly)
New England Clam Bake for 8
5 Yukon gold or similar potatoes, quartered
8 linguica sausage
8 ears of corn
64 steamer clams
Add water to the smaller, bottom pot of a two-part lobster pot and warm over high heat. In the larger pot, layer potatoes first, and add salt and pepper. Cover, and let them steam for 15 minutes. Add the rest in layers: sausage, corn, lobsters, and steamers. Add a swig of white wine and cover. Cook until the lobsters are just pink, 45 minutes to an hour. Note that it takes 15 minutes after the top of the pot gets hot for them to get pink.
Serve with melted butter, lemon, and the broth from the bottom pot.
Now Jessica will demonstrate how to open up a lobster:
Step 1: Twist off the tail.
Step 2: Make this face when the lobster liver (tomalley) spills all over your plate, which, at the time, you may mistake for lobster poop, as we did. That’s as far as we got in the documenting before I was laughing too hard to continue photographing. Plus, I was hungry.
Theo declared, “I no like lobsteh.”
Amelia was fascinated by the mechanics of it, but alas, would not eat it.
Eloise, however, gnawed those lobster legs like a champ.
Kitchen Elvis would have been proud.