In the 17th century, Native American Indians shared their clambake practice with the Pilgrims who landed in Plymouth Colony. These Puritans dubbed this ocean-side, cooked in sand pit, seafood centered around bivalves 'the Feast of Shells.' With its unique cooking method and ingredient list, the New England clambake is one of the earliest and most authentic American food traditions. This Tournant OFYR version of grilled lobsters, dashi steamed clams, crispy smashed potatoes, and grilled corn with seaweed butter is at once traditional and modernly inspired. One thing that has remained the same since the Gilded Age, however, is that all clambakes are a ‘symbol of sanctuary from a world gone awry.’ Equally good with an IPA or champagne, this slow cooking, you can hardly wait for it to be done feast is one of the epicurean lifestyle seeker's best meals.
Ingredients for the Lobsters
Ingredients for the Dashi
Ingredients for the Aleppo herb butter
Ingredients for the Miso Butter
Ingredients for the Seaweed Butter
- Using a cleaver, swiftly split lobsters in half lengthwise. Crack claws with the back of the cleaver, remove and discard greenish-yellow tomalley, then drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Rinse clams. Boil new potatoes until tender in highly salted water, then drain and cool. Shuck corn, removing silk but keeping husk intact.
- Make dashi by soaking kombu in 4 cups of water for an hour. Bring to a gentle boil and immediately fish out and discard kombu. Add bonito flakes and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 15 minutes before straining through a fine mesh sieve.
- Make each of the compound butters by mixing softened butter with all the ingredients in three separate bowls.
- Preheat your OFYR grill to high heat. Simultaneously, prepare ingredients as follows and serve everything together with a flourish:
- Smash potatoes with the heel of your palm until crushed and flattened. Griddle potatoes on oiled outer OFYR ring on both sides until crispy and golden. Sprinkle with salt and transfer to a platter.
- Griddle corn on oiled outer OFYR ring, turning occasionally until charred and tender all over. Slather liberally with seaweed butter and transfer to a platter.
- Add clams to a cast iron cocotte and place on the outer ring of your OFYR. Add a splash of dry white wine or sake and cover cocotte until the liquid begins to steam. Uncover and add dashi, then replace lid and steam until clams have opened and released their liquid into the broth. Add 4 tablespoons of miso butter, stirring to melt and coat clams. Taste the broth and add more butter as desired. Serve in the cocotte with a large spoon or ladle for scooping up buttery broth.
- Grill lobsters cut side down on the grill grate of your OFYR until lightly charred, about 3-4 minutes. Flip over and continue to cook until shells are lightly charred and lobster is cooked through, another 3-4 minutes. Meanwhile, melt aleppo herb butter in a small saucepan until melted. Drizzle lobsters liberally with melted butter. Transfer to a large platter and drizzle with more butter as desired.
Small quahogs or steamers may be substituted for the manilla clams even though they are a bit less sweet. Shiro white miso is also known as mellow or sweet miso. Aleppo pepper has a salty flavor with subtle notes of raisin, pomegranate and even sun-dried tomato flavor and is easily found at Whole Foods or online.