Okay people, I’ve decided to step away from the Candy Crush for a bit to make sure my brain is still functioning! I have a few draft posts that haven’t been published yet, and I usually get around to them when I find the time to. I saw this one in my draft post and decided to finish it up today.
I love the ocean. It’s one of the biggest thing I miss about being in the Midwest, it’s nothing but landlocked states — that is extremely difficult to adapt for a woman who grew up by the Atlantic Ocean and who loves seafood.
One thing that really makes me feel like “summer” is eating seafood. Now, people call foods different names depending on where in the states they are. For example, I call subs “heroes” (like every other New Yorker I know… well, at least the ones from NYC anyway — I honestly don’t even consider outside the 5 boroughs to be a part of New York, we call them Long Islanders and Upstaters instead).
I digress! One of my favorite summer seafood feast is a seafood boil, also called a Maine lobster bake, a clambake, a New England clambake, etc. It’s absolutely delicious for seafood lovers, and it can be pricey on the menu too… definitely not something to be eaten every day, but great for a summer celebration like July 4th, Memorial Day, Armed Forces Day, Labor Day, etc.
The traditional method of cooking this seafood in the Northeast that us Yankees do, is on the beach in a stone-pit fire. The seafood used depends on what is popular in the area; in the Chesapeake Bay area blue crabs are often used instead of lobster, and in the Louisiana area crawfish is used instead — it includes other varieties of shellfish like clams and mussels, and is often supplemented by sausages, potatoes, onions, carrots, corn on the cob, etc. Since many areas outlaw building fires on beaches, and in order to accommodate the dish in homes, this is kind of a seafood “barbecue”, so to speak; as it’s often a backyard event. This is known as a New England Clam Boil, or seafood boil… whatever you want to call it.
This is super easy to make, in my opinion. The only real challenge is finding fresh seafood, which isn’t a problem is you’re in a coastal state (this is where I tell you how much I miss the Fulton Fish Market, which has since moved to the Bronx from its original historic location on Fulton Street).
The things you will need! Lobsters, clams, mussels, baby potatoes, corn on the cob, onions, garlic, sausage, lemons… you substitute these things for what you like though, by all means don’t follow someone else’s taste if it differs from your own! (Even when I’m cooking from a recipe, I always tweak it to my taste.) Some people like to add beer into the mixture, I never had a taste for alcohol — I always figured beer probably taste like piss.
Start by boiling water in a very large stock pot. Add a few handfuls of salt to the water. (Now, some people put their clams together in something like a cheese cloth, but I never do that — oh, by the way, don’t forget to clean your shellfish by scrubbing their shells first, and clean your potatoes too!)
Add a quartered onion and a bulb of garlic sliced through the center. Add potatoes and cook for about 8 minutes. Add the sausage (use whatever kind you like); then add the lobsters and cook according to the average weight of your lobsters, NOT the total weight of all your lobsters (it’s generally 7 minutes per pound, for those of you who don’t know). These 3 items are the ones that require the most cooking time, that’s why they go first. Do not cover the pot.
A few minutes before the lobsters will be finished (it’ll turn bright red when cooked), add the clams and mussels into the boil (they’ll open up when they’re done); add the corn (cut the corn, sausage, and potatoes into halves or quarters… you don’t have to, of course, but it does take up a lot of room if you don’t — besides, who eats a whole cob anyway!). Strain the boil and let cool, serve with lemon wedges and melted butter… cover the table with old newspapers, this is one of those meals where no one has time for clean up!