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Sep 01 2012

What’s Cooking: Clambake

(2 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Labor Day weekend is here, for some too soon, for others not soon enough. It has been a long very hot Summer. It is still time for celebration and breaking out Summer’s traditional recipes. Many of us have been to the traditional Clambake at the beach when we were kids. But since regulations at most public beaches prohibit open fires, the clambake has been relocated to backyard grills and the stove top. Actually, it’s easier and a lot less work and can be done indoors anytime you get an urge for the taste of Summer.

This recipe is an adaptation one one I found on line. You can modify the ingredients to suit your own taste and budget. The recipe serves four but can be easily doubled for more guests. I use andouille sausage for its spiciness. Kielbasi or pre-cooked Italian sausage are equally good. Lobsters can also be added. This season the market price is at a record low.

To remove the sand out of the clams, take the tightly sealed clams and soak them in water for about 20 minutes. A quick trick to make sure the clams are alive and safe to eat, if the clam is partially open, tap the shell, if it closes, the clam is alive. I go to a market where I can hand pick the clams. After cooking, discard any clams that have not opened.

Clambake

Equipment:

   

  • 8 in x 8 in Disposable aluminum pans
  • Aluminum foil
  • Tongs
  • Heavy oven mitts and/ or thick towels

Ingredients:

   

  • 1/2cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 medium red potatoes, halved and sliced into 1/8-inch half-moons
  • 3/4 pound jumbo shrimp (11/15 count), peeled and deveined, tails left on, cold
  • 2 pounds littleneck clams, rinsed and scrubbed
  • 1 package (12 ounces) andouille sausage, thinly sliced
  • 2 ears fresh corn, each shucked and cut into 4 pieces

Preparation:

   1. In a small bowl combine the butter, lemon juice, seasoning, garlic, and thyme.

   2. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (350° to 450°F).

   3. Cut eight sheets of aluminum foil, each about 12 by 20 inches. Line an 8×8-inch cake pan with two sheets of aluminum foil, arranged in a crisscross pattern. Layer the bottom of the foil-lined pan with the sliced potatoes (this will help insulate the shellfish and keep them from overcooking). Top the potatoes evenly with the shrimp, clams, sausage, and corn pieces. Drizzle each packet evenly with the butter mixture. Close the packet by bringing the ends of the two inner sheets together, folding them on top of the filling and then bringing the ends of the two outer sheets together, folding them down. Repeat this procedure with the remaining packets.

   4. Grill the packets over direct medium heat, with the lid closed, until the clams have opened, the shrimp have turned opaque, and the potatoes are cooked, 20 to 25 minutes. To check for doneness, using tongs, gently unfold one of the packets and carefully remove a potato, being careful not to puncture the bottom of the foil. Using a knife, gently pierce the potato to ensure doneness. When everything is cooked, remove the packets from the grill. Carefully open each packet to let the steam escape and then pour the contents into warm bowls. Serve immediately.

For larger crowds, I use the big disposable aluminum pans used for buffets and cook the potatoes, corn and sausage separately from the clams and shrimp.

Enjoy

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