Stovetop ClambakePhoto Credit : Heath Robbins
A traditional beachfront clambake is a signature New England experience, but it’s an effort reserved for only the most special occasions (unless you’re in possession of a stretch of private beach and ample free time to dig a pit and build a fire). You can, however, reproduce the flavors at home with a stovetop clambake—all you need is a large pot, some seafood, and aromatics like fennel and lemons.
1 fennel bulb, with stalk
1 bottle (750ml) dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
4 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch lengths
2 lemons, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced
1 head of garlic, cloves separated
2 leeks, white parts only, finely diced
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 live lobsters, about 1 1/4 pounds each
4 pounds littleneck clams
Fresh seaweed (optional)
2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1 cup melted salted butter
Remove the stalk and fronds from the fennel bulb and chop roughly. Cut the bulb into ½-inch-thick rings.
Put the chopped fennel and fennel rings into a lobster pot with 4 quarts of water.
Add the wine, celery, lemons, garlic, leeks, salt, paprika, chili powder, and cayenne. Bring to a boil.
Add the lobsters and clams to the pot with the seaweed, if using. Cover and cook 6 minutes.
Add the mussels and continue cooking 6 more minutes.
When all the shellfish is open (discard any that do not), the lobsters will be done.
Remove the seafood from the pot and serve hot with the cooking liquid and melted butter.