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Clam Bake on the Shores of La Jolla
Clam Bake originated on the northern East coast of the United States and has been a tradition through many generations. Living in Washington D.C. in the early 80’s, I would travel with my friend John who owns a turn of the century stone cottage in Vinalhaven, Maine.
At the local port, multi-colored wooden fishing boats were bringing the harvest. Cockles, clams, mussels and Maine lobster were stored in bushels and ready for auction to the highest bidder. Basket in hand, we gathered the bounty and headed home for the time honored tradition of Sunday Clam Bake.
– Bernard Guillas, Executive Chef at The Marine Room
- Make sure to keep a cooler with ice in the trunk when you go shopping for shellfish, fish and proteins to ensure freshness while running errands…add a bottle of wine as well.
- When buying clams, cockles and mussels make sure that all shells are closed.
- Follow the recipe faithfully to make sure that you will not overcook any of the shellfish.
- If you want to jazz it up and bring an Asian flare to it, add coconut milk, lemongrass and Szechwan pepper.
- Sauvignon Blanc, Reisling or a Loire Valley Muscadet are fantastic wines to pair with this dish.
Clam Bake Ingredients:
1/3 cup kosher salt 1/4 cup cornmeal
2 pounds littleneck clams, scrubbed
2 pounds steamer clams, scrubbed
2 pounds black mussels, cleaned and debearded
1/4 cup grape seed oil
1 1/2 pounds new red potatoes
2 cups chopped yellow onions
2 cups chopped leeks, washed, white parts only
1 cup diced, peeled celery root
2 heads garlic, halved
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
4 sprigs lemon thyme
12 U-15 shrimp, peeled, deveined
3 (1 1/2 pound) lobsters
1 pound Andouille sausage, sliced 1” thick
4 ears fresh sweet corn, shucked
1 cup Chardonnay wine
1 quart vegetable stock 1 cup melted unsalted butter
3 organic lemons, cut into wedges
1 loaf crusty bread
Add 1 gallon cold water to large pot. Stir in salt and cornmeal. Add clams then mussels. Soak 30 minutes to purge sand. Remove mussels and clams from water. Transfer to colander. Add grape seed oil to heavy bottom 20 quart stockpot over medium heat.
Add potatoes, onions, leeks, celery root, garlic, Old Bay seasoning, black pepper and thyme sprigs. Cook 10 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring often.
Layer the following ingredients into pot: steamer clams, little necks, mussels, shrimp, lobster, sausage and corn. Pour in wine and vegetable stock. Cover pot with lid. Bring to boil over high heat. Lower heat to medium. Cook for 15 minutes or until lobster is bright red and clams are fully opened. Transfer lobsters to cutting board. Cut in half lengthwise and crack claws. With large slotted spoon transfer seafood and vegetables to large serving platter. Arrange lobster atop. Adjust broth seasoning with salt and pepper. Ladle over seafood. Garnish with parsley sprigs and lemon wedges. Serve with melted butter and crusty bread.