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Plan The Ultimate End Of Summer Clam Bake with These Tips

Aug 20, 2021 05:29PM ● By Kaitlyn Malone

Photo by Matt Armendariz on

An authentic summer clambake is an event you will not want to miss! Whether it is on the beach or in the kitchen, here are ideas for planning the ultimate summer clambake!

The New England clambake is credited to the Wampanoag Indians, who are indigenous to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. A modern clambake consists of potatoes, corn, lobster, clams, mussels, oysters, and scallops. Nowadays, fish, sausage, and chicken are also commonly used.

The traditional way to prepare a clambake is to dig a hole in the sand approximately three feet deep and four to five feet in diameter, build a fire, place seafood traditionally wrapped in seaweed, and place it in the ground to be cooked. But if that is not something you can swing this time around, you can prepare this feast in the comfort of your kitchen! 

Tips for an at the Beach Clambake

For the traditional clambake it is an all-day affair. You can stroll the beach in the morning to gather fresh seaweed, driftwood, and rocks to line the fire pit that you dig. A fire is built on the shore and dug in the sand to hold a high temperature all day. Once the stones are hot, the clam masters will layer seaweed on them and then start layering the food. Yes, if you are in charge of this process, you can call yourself the clam master. The sausage, hot dogs, corn, potatoes, clams, and lobsters will be placed on the pit, which will then be covered with more seaweed and some sort of layer to keep in the steam like a tarp or burlap sack. A good sign that your meal is ready is to check the tenderness of the potatoes. Once the potatoes are soft, the rest of the clambake should be done too! After about one to two hours, all of the food should be ready, and folks can fill their plates with a healthy addition of melted butter and perhaps a lemon wedge or two.

Tips for an at Home Clambake

If you do not have a beach near you and would like to have a New England clambake in the comfort of your own home, here are some ideas on the best way to manage it.

On the grill the best way to produce a clambake is to soak your seaweed in a bucket of water and wrap your fresh seafood in a cheesecloth with a layer of seaweed and then cover with aluminum foil. Cook this on the grill for around 40 minutes at medium heat.

Here are some ways to get the job done in the kitchen where all you need is a pot and to get your hands on some clams.

Do note that clams and mussels are sold live, and it is important to store them in a refrigerator in a breathable container before you are ready to cook them. Scrub your clams briefly to make sure to get rid of any sand or debris and discard any clams that do not close tightly when gently tapped against a surface. This means they are not fresh.

To begin, you will need to bring water to a boil in a large pot where you will add potatoes and shallots to simmer for a short period. Then brown your sausages and hot dogs, and then add your clams, mussels, and corn! Put the lid on to steam for about 15 minutes till you can tell the potatoes and corn are good and soft. Finally, with a large utensil, scoop the corn, clams, mussels, sausages, and potatoes from the pot and transfer it to a larger serving platter. Be sure to get rid of any mussels or clams that have not opened during the baking process. Then pour the broth into cups and have melted butter ready for dipping the meal in, including some fresh French bread! Here is a recipe to refer to in case you would like to go this route

When buying the produce for your clambake, a good place to go would be the Co-op in the Upper Valley. If you are not interested in making the clambake yourself, the Little Neck Clambake Co. can assist. They come bringing the food, they cook and clean up. For more information, you can check them out here

Partaking in the summer, clambake might be just the ticket to bring loved ones together and create memories that last through the ages. Whether you are able to make it traditionally outside on the sand, in the kitchen in a pot, or eat a meal prepared for you by a member of your community, you won’t be disappointed when you indulge with an open heart and a lot of butter!

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