August 19, 2004

clambake at home

Apparently one must have a party of several dozen in order to hold a clambake on the beach; no one does it for small parties. A couple of places have big clambake pavilions where smaller groups can go and join in, but these do not appear to a) be on the beach or, more importantly, b) use seaweed in the cooking. Thus thwarted, Hedge and I turned to the DIY solution. She was going to Marblehead anyway to visit folks, so we called ahead to arrange for some rockweed, steamers and lobsters to be ready for pickup, and we cooked those suckers right here at home.

Rockweed is essential for the proper clambake flavor. I put a bunch in my roasting pan, put the clammies on top, and covered with more rockweed and a couple of cups of water. The pan fit nicely inside the gas grill with the grills removed, and 30 minutes later, gorgeous fresh salty steamers and littlenecks (steamers on the right in photo, with bigger shells & much messier bodies to eat, but most delicious, i think). The 6 of us put away 8 pounds of clams, along with 4.5 lobsters and a groaning board of side dishes. (The remaining 1.5 lobsters became lobster salad for this morning's breakfast, along with bread fried in leftover lobstery butter and some of those tasty dill horseradish pickles. Mmm.)

We put some rockweed in the lobster boil as well, along with a tablespoon or so of kosher salt. Lacking enough burners and a big enough kettle, we nuked the corn and pan-boiled the potatoes the usual way rather than attempting to get them in there with the sea critters. Caramelized zucchini & onions w/ thyme, long beans w/ walnut oil and walnuts, garden tomato & mozzarella salad w/ wild arugula were all amazing; the garlicky slaw somehow didn't go with the other flavors as well as i hoped it would, though it was tasty in and of itself.

Gooseberry-raspberry tart was yummy too, though well into my second piece I discovered that tangy tart filling mixed with vanilla ice cream makes a wonderful creamy treat on its own, sort of like a berry fool.

This was the first time hedge, littlelee, spleen & I all cooked together, and I must say it was a beautiful thing, a well-oiled machine of ad hoc cookery.

Posted by foodnerd at August 19, 2004 03:53 PM

ok, fn, been reading and catching up, but gotta say this one in particular got me, and good. yumzillzy. i've nary a clue what rockweed is, but i can't wait to come out east and let you show me!

Posted by: hh at October 20, 2004 12:08 AM

yer not kidding. This was one of the best meals either hedge or I ever put together. Everything was fresh and summery and perfect, testaments to the power of simple food in season. Anytime you visit, doll, we can do it again.

Posted by: foodnerd at November 1, 2004 11:08 PM
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