There is something so nostalgic and a bit romantic about creating great traditions with family and friends. We started going ‘up North to the cabin’ every July with our college friends about 30 years ago. Back then we were just a group of crazy couples (with even some of our parents), then babies came and weddings and funerals . . . but we never missed this time together. Fast-forward to more recent years and it’s back to just us crazy couples – now all empty nesters! The events of the week have started to revolve around food, what could be better?!
So picture this . . . lakeside cabin with a great beach, bonfire, loons (the bird not the people) and some great classic rock music . . . and now add in a traditional CLAMBAKE!
Here’s how we did it, and now it’s part of the tradition and everyone can participate.
Start with a visit to your local fish market to get the clams, shrimp, mussels and lobsters! And the rest is easy. We wanted to do this on the beach over an open fire, so we started with a huge galvanized tub and started picking rocks out of the lake to use at the bottom of the tub. Filled it with lake water – yep, lake water (a really clean lake) – and then started layering in all the goodies.
Here’s the recipe I use (not created but use, and it’s perfect every time):
1-½ lbs of baby red potatoes 1 lb little neck clams 2 cups water 4 tablespoons salted butter 2 large yellow onions, cut into eighths 8 garlic cloves ½ bottle of dry white wine 1 ¼ lb of kielbasa sausage, cut into bit size 3 lobsters, each 1 1/2 lbs or larger 5 medium ears of corn, husked and broken in half 1 lb of deveined shrimp 8 lemons, quartered for serving Tons of melted butter for serving Sourdough bread for serving
- Pre boil the potatoes until tender
- Fill large bowl with cool, slated tap water and submerge clams for 30-45 min. This way they purge the sand. Scrub.
- Start adding ingredients to the tub in this order (with enough water in the tub to cover the rocks) and steam the ingredients: onion, garlic, wine, cooked potatoes, sausage. Steam for 5 minutes by covering with wet beach towel. Add the lobsters and cook for 6 minutes. Add the corn and clams and cook another 6 minutes. Add shrimp, cover and cook another 6 minutes.
- Pour onto a newspaper-covered table and serve with lemons and melted butter and some fresh warm sourdough bread.
The bar is easy, we usually have cold beer in a tub and some crisp, cold, white wine.
We spread newspaper over a picnic table down at the waters edge, throw out a few plates and lobster crackers, and go to town!
Dessert? That’s easy….s’mores of course! Enjoy!