This time of the year I'm always yearning to pack up and move to a beach house in Westport. Fortunately, you can always rent a beach house for the weekend, and full sanity usually returns sometime in early September when Grays Harbor starts living up to its name. I'm calling this recipe a 'beach house' clam bake because with this fabulous pile of seafood on your table it *almost* feels like you're actually at the beach... which is a very good thing. :)
ingredients (to serve 3-4 adults ~ two of these packs fit very nicely on a standard Weber)
- deep dish foil 'poultry' pan (mine was 10" square by 2.5" deep)
- 2T butter splash of white wine (or light beer, or water) - about 1/4 cup approx.
- 1 pound tiny potatoes (or cut them up!)
- large cob of corn
- 14 oz. kielbasa sausage
- 4 shell-on prawns (u-10 or u-12)
- 2 small lemons, halved
- 1/2 pound clams
- 1/2 pound mussels
- 1 pound king crab
- seafood seasoning
We're going to start by preparing our items to layer in our pan - the idea is that the things that need longer to cook will be closer to the heat (on the bottom) and the more delicate seafood will top the pile and cook with steam.
Cut your butter up into 4-5 pieces and space/place in the bottom of the dish. Add the potatoes, then shuck and break your corn up into serving size pieces. (We had three eaters per pack, so each cob was broken into three pieces. Tuck the corn in with the potatoes, then slice and layer the sausage in the pan as well.
Cut the prawns along the back with a pair of kitchen scissors, and de-vein the prawn, leaving the shell as intact as you can. (Leaving the shell will guard against overcooking, but because it's cut they will be simple to peel and eat once your dish is done!) Place your prawns in the pan, making sure they're off the bottom completely, and add the lemons in there as well.
Cut the king crab legs along the smooth side with the kitchen scissors (easy to remove meat that way!) and tuck into pan. De-beard your mussels and rinse along with the clams, then place at the top of the pile in your pan. Pour a splash of white wine over the top, then sprinkle the entire mini-mountain generously with seafood seasoning. Create a lid using a piece of foil and tuck in the sides carefully so that the steam is contained during cooking.
Now that your clam bake is prepared, you're ready to cook! If you have a charcoal grill like we do, get a decent amount of coals going and pour yourself a beverage because we want them to be a bit muted before we place the pan on the grill. If you have a gas grill, turn it on high - we're going to get things nice and pre-heated hot, then turn it down for the actual cooking.
Once your grill is ready, place the pan in the center and close your grill lid. Set your timer for 25 minutes, and if you have the time/energy/heat resistant mitts you can rotate the pan every 10 minutes or so. I had two pans inside my Weber (which was a tight fit) and after distressing my foil lid and burning my fingers trying to rotate the first pan... I gave up and everything cooked just fine.
At 25 minutes, peek inside the foil to see if the clams and mussels are all open and happily cooked. If some of them are still not quite there, tuck the foil back in and give it another 5 minutes. Once you're all cooked up, remove the pan from the grill and get ready to serve! Have an empty bowl for shells and a roll of paper towels for messy fingers! The wine/butter/broth in the bottom of the pan is pure liquid amazingness, so be sure and pour a little over each person's selections and/or have some crusty bread for dipping. Enjoy your Beach House Clam Bake!