Saturday, September 11, 2010

Friday Night Clambake

We had W. and K. over for our very first clambake last night.  I spent the day running around the Westside for the ingredients (again, why can't everything be in one place!) to Costco for U15 prawns and bread, J&T European Goods for fresh kielbasa and veal hot dogs (I must have driven by this shop over a million times in my life but never noticed it), Trader Joes for cheap cooking wine and leeks, Santa Monica Seafood for ipswich clams, manila clams, littleneck clams and mussels.  We already had corn, potatoes and onions from last week's farmer's market. Clambakes are relatively easy; it just takes time to clean and prep everything, but not a lot of actual cooking technique is required.  It's all about having fresh, quality ingredients.

To prep:
  • Wash 1 lb of fingerling potatoes, wash and halve 3 ears of corn
  • Wash and chop 2 leeks and 1 large onion, mince 3 cloves of garlic
  • Soak and scrub the 1/2 lb of ipswich clams, 1/2 lb of manila clams, 1/2 lb of littleneck clams and 1 lb of mussels (debeard the mussels)
  • Rinse and devein 1.5 lbs of U15 prawns
  • Slice into 1 inch pieces 1.5 lbs of kielbasa
  • Slice 1/2 of a french baguette into long diagonal slices
  • Wash and mince a handful of parsley
To cook:
  • Saute the onions and leeks in a couple of TB of olive oil over medium heat for 15 minutes until they brown
  • Then layer all the goods on top on the onions: first the potatoes, then corn, a little salt and pepper, then kielbasa, then clams (I put the shrimp in later since it cooks so quickly)
  • Pour 3/4 bottle of white in (I basically poured enough to cover up to the corn / kielbasa)
  • Turn heat to medium high and cover for ~15 minutes until steam starts to come out of the lid
  • Layer in the shrimp and turn the heat to medium and cover for ~10 minutes until seafood is cooked (clams open and shrimp pink)
  • Remove the seafood, kielbasa, potatoes and corn with a slotted spoon into a serving bowl
  • Add some chili flakes and boil the broth for a couple of minutes to reduce. Salt and pepper to taste
  • Ladle the broth over the seafood, sprinkle with some parsley and serve

It was the perfect amount of food for four people; we were stuffed.  I liked the variety, from the various seafood, to the meaty kielbasa, to the vegetables.  We paired the dinner with way too much wine: a 2008 Bernardus Chardonnay, 2008 Foxen Chenin Blanc, 2008 J Pinot Noir, 2004 Etude Pinot Noir.  Definitely a fun meal for a group of people.

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