A festive summertime clam bake allows you to feed a large crowd with minimal prep work in the kitchen. The clam bake offers a number of possibilities as you can customize the ingredients based on the flavor preferences of your friends and family. For a delicious summer twist on your clam bake, add a bottle of your favorite pale ale to the mix.
Prepping your Ingredients
While the type of seafood featured in your clam bake varies based on who will be enjoying it, there are a few tried and true ingredients that make up the base.
Step 1: Prep the Extras
Peel six cloves of garlic and cut two white onions into large chunks. Scrub 1 to 2 pounds of red potatoes. Shuck four ears of corn and cut them in half. Cut two large lemons in half and remove the seeds.
Step 2: Scrub the Clams
Scrub your clams under hot water to remove any dirt or debris.
Clam Bake Instructions: In the Oven
The clam bake remains one of the few dishes that doesn't substitute flavor for convenience. You can fit all the necessary ingredients into one large pot and simply set it and forget it.
Add your onion and garlic to a large 30-quart pot and fill with 12 cups of water.
Pour in a bottle of your favorite summer pale ale or add one additional cup of water.
Add 1 to 2 pounds of red potatoes and turn your stove burner to a high heat.
Cover the pot and allow the ingredients to cook for around 5 minutes. Place the corn and lemons in the pot and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Add 3 to 4 pounds of littleneck clams and 1 to 2 pounds of shrimp (shell-on) and cook for 10 to 15 minutes more.
Discard the clams that do not open as they most likely died prior to the cooking process. These clams are not safe to eat.
On the Beach
If you'd like to create an authentic clam bake dining experience, you can actually cook this flavorful dish on the beach with the help of a fire pit.
Dig a large pit that has a width of around 4 feet and a depth of 2 feet. Line the base of the pit with large rocks and build a fire on top.
Allow the wood to burn for around 2-hours as this will heat the rocks. Place one cinder block on either side of the pit and align a barbecue grate over coals.
Place a thick layer of fresh seaweed on the grill grate and layer your onions, garlic, potatoes and corn on top.
Cover with a thin layer of seaweed and pile your shrimp and clams on top. Add one final thick layer of seaweed and cover with a large burlap cloth that has been soaked in seawater.
Allow your clam bake ingredients to slow cook under the burlap cloth for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Pour seawater over the burlap cloth a few times throughout the cooking process.
When cooking your clambake in a pot, strain the ingredients to remove any stray filaments or shell fragments.
Place the strained ingredients back into the pot and cover to keep warm. Cover a large outdoor table with newspaper to create the traditional clam bake serving station. Place your clam bake ingredients on the newspaper and season generously with sea salt, cracked black pepper and paprika. Keep napkins on hand as clam bakes definitely get messy!