Neil Kleinberg’s New England Clambake
Chef Neil Kleinberg, a born-and-raised New Yorker, is no stranger to the flavors of Maine recipes. His award-winning restaurant Clinton St. Baking Company — co-owned with DeDe Lahman — features some menu items inspired by coastal New England, such as its popular wild Maine blueberry pancakes with maple butter. Here, the chef walks us through how to make a real New England clambake right by the seawater, perfect for a breezy summer get-together.
|10||11⁄4 lb. Live Lobsters, preferably female for the red roe|
|2 lb.||Gulf Shrimps, size 16/20 shell on|
|3 lb.||Mussels, scrubbed and debearded|
|5–6||Andouille Sausages or Smoked Kielbasa Sausages,|
cut into 3 in. chunks
|3–4 lb.||Yukon Gold or Red Bliss Potatoes, washed and scrubbed|
|10–12||Corns, left whole|
|2||Vidalia Onions, cut in 1⁄4 in. with the skin on|
|2||Garlics, cut in half horizontally|
|1⁄2 lb.||Bushel Seaweed (the kind they pack lobster in)|
|2 lb.||Sweet Butter, melted and kept warm for dipping|
|6||Lemons, cut in wedges for squeezing|
At the beach, dig a hole with the following approximate proportions: 2 feet wide, 1-11⁄2 feet deep and 4 feet long. Line the hole with stones from the beach. Build a fire inside the hole, and cover it with rocks. Heat the stones for 2-3 hours.
Remove coals or embers from the hole. Arrange hot stones evenly across the bottom of the hole. Place fresh seaweed on top of the hot stones.
Working quickly, layer the foods evenly on top of the seaweed. Layer the ingredients in the following order: clams, mussels, sausages, potatoes, corn, onions, garlic, and lobsters.
Cover the food with a clean, wet cloth (a cheesecloth or clean new kitchen towels are good options). Then, place the remaining seaweed on top of the cloth.
Cover the entire hole of food with a wet tarpaulin (use some cool stones to keep the tarpaulin in place), sealing in the steam created by the hot stones and seaweed. Allow a small amount of steam to escape to relieve pressure. Let the bake cook for 1 hour or more. Once the potatoes are soft, the bake is complete. Serve the bake with melted butter, lemon wedges and lobster crackers!