Archive for the 'Fresh Clams' Category

Maine Lobster Bake on the Beach or at Home

A classic lobster bake prepared the old-fashioned way is steamed in seaweed and ocean water. Food writer, Craig Clairborne called the lobster bake “…the most colorful, joyous and festive of American feasts.” Lobster bakes are fun, memorable, and informal. It’s also a lot of work!

The tradition of the clambake goes way back to our Native Americans who taught the settlers the art of steaming fresh seafood on the shores of New England. The New England clambake is generally credited to the Wampanoag Indians, indigenous to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The Wampanoag generally did not eat lobster, but used it as bait to catch local fish. Native oysters,  scallops, sea clams and locally cultivated corn and squash would all key ingredients to their clam bake.  A typical modern clambake  consists of lobster, clams, mussels, potatoes, and corn. Fish, sausage, chicken, are also commonly used by bakemasters.  Today this ancient cooking form is enjoyed wherever there is blue ocean, sandy beaches, and live Maine lobsters.

Lobster Bake Beach Maine Lobster Bake on the Beach or at Home

Traditional Clambake

The art of preparing a traditional pit-dug clam bake is still practiced by a few local bakemasters. It takes a lot of hard work and patience since it’s  a day long affair. If you own your own beach, or there are no local restrictions for open fires you are in luck. Clam bakes have become popular culinary experience because they feature seafood lovers favorite entrée–Maine lobster.

Clam Bake Ingredients

The main ingredients for a traditional clam bake, besides live Maine lobsters, include: fresh clams or mussels, corn in the husks, new potatoes, onions, and even sausages (such as kielbasa or chorizo). For the clam bake you will also need fire wood, smooth rocks, rockweed seaweed, a canvas, tarp or potato sacks to trap the steam.

STEP 1: Walk the beach in the early morning with friends and gather up some fresh seaweed, drift wood to build your fire, and rocks to line the bottom of your pit.

STEP 2: Dig your pit and line the bottom with large rocks. Top your rocks with your drift wood.

STEP 3: Build a fire on top of the stones. Tend to your fire until the rocks become red hot.  Make sure the stones are hot enough to glow or at least spit back ocean water.

STEP 4: Rake off  as much ash off the rocks as possible, and pile a layer of seaweed on the rocks.

STEP 5: Layer the rocks with potatoes, corn, onion, clams, and live lobsters. Top with more seaweed and cover with a tarp or a potato sack drenched in seawater.

STEP 6: Bake your seafood for at least two hours. A good sign the food is cooked to perfection is to check the potatoes first. If they are soft, your clam bake is done.

Gather with friends and family and dig in. Serve your steamed seafood and bright red lobsters with melted butter and fresh lemon wedges. Don’t forget the lobster crackers and seafood forks.

Clam Bake at Home

No beaches near you? No problem.  You can have a mini bake in your backyard on the grill. No fire permits necessary and you don’t have to dig a hole and start a big wood fire. It is  faster and more convenient to heat up charcoal briquettes than rocks in the sand! Besides if your not a bakemaster, getting all your food cooked evenly on an open fire takes a lot of practice.

You can bake a combination of lobsters, clams, ears of corn, and red potatoes.

First, soak some seaweed in a bucket of water. Next, wrap your fresh seafood in a cheese cloth with a layer of seaweed and a splash of water. Wrap this up tight in a packet of aluminum foil. Cook on the grill at medium heat for approximately 40 minutes with the cover closed. When your potatoes are soft, your lobster bake is done!

Some good choices for dessert include watermelon slices, strawberry shortcake or blueberry cobbler.


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New England’s Best Lobster Shacks and Seafood Dives

Is your favorite lobster shack shacky and weathered and in a fairly remote place near the ocean? Or, perhaps it is tacky and reminds you of a roadside hut.

Most shacks are a “no-frills” family establishments with a simple menu, and almost always have long lines in peak summer months. Some shacks have become tourist destinations and others have become tourist traps with over the top prices. Lobster and seafood shacks are symbols of summer and a few are beacons of the past. Many of us have nostalgic childhood memories of a trip to a favorite lobster shack.

Lobster shacks can be off the main path or right on the Main Street. Some shacks have seaside views, while others have no views at all. Lobster shacks at out of the way locations are usually off narrow roads or routes that can become crowded with traffic jams in the warm weather. Familiar surroundings for lobster shacks are rocky beaches with a view of the harbor, fishermen’s boats and sea gulls, or maybe a forested cove. Perhaps you wish to combine a shopping trip to LL Bean or Kittery shops with a side trip to a Lobster Shack in the area. Often the shacks are shuttered from October to April in the cooler weather, so catch them when they are open in the spring and summer.

Don’t dress up because you will most likely be eating on a pier at a picnic table. Usually, there is no indoor seating, but the views waiting for a lobster dinner can be spectacular. It is cool in Maine, so bring a sweater and enjoy the finest lobster ever. How can you resist since the freshest lobster thrives in New England waters where it is caught, and then it is cooked in a Lobster Shack and brought to your table. When the lobster is served, be prepared to crack it open on a paper plate and dine al fresco on bare wooden tables. Many of the unassuming shacks are BYOB, so don’t forget to bring a cooler.

The star attraction of these eateries is lobster served in the rough: a whole lobster cooked plain and simple. The typical lobster size served is usually between 1 1/4 pounds to 1 1/2 pounds, but some lobster shacks offer a pound. Lobster fishermen deliver and store their fresh catch in large seawater filled tanks. Shacks with lobster pounds are typically larger with more seating. If cooking live lobster at home makes you squeamish, this is a great alternative. Expect a messy meal and no side orders except some chowder or a bag of chips. More spacious places may feature lobster dinners served with corn cobs, onion rings or chowder. Or, you may want to order a lobster roll instead with mayonnaise and butter on a fresh roll with crisp lettuce.

In addition to fresh lobster, many seafood eateries serve fried, steamed or baked seafood. The deep-fryer is often the most over-worked piece of equipment at the shack. Clams, haddock, fries and onions rings are given a quick, hot dip. Next to fresh cooked lobster and lobster rolls, the fried clams hold a special appeal for New Englanders and it is a contentious debate about the best fried clams place in New England. Fried clams are said to have been invented in 1916, by Chubby Woodman in Essex, Massachusetts.

Here are some wonderful Lobster Shacksdotted across New England that are well worth your time when planning a day trip or a stop in the area:

Bagaduce Lunch
19 Bridge Road
Brooksville, ME 04617

Bagaduce was established in 1946, and is a family tradition tucked away next to the reversing falls on the Bagaduce River. Locals come from miles away for fresh haddock, fried clams, crab and lobster rolls. The owner’s brother is a local lobsterman, so count on getting the freshest caught lobster. Be sure to order the onion rings and watch for bald eagles soaring overhead.

Beal’s Lobster Pier
182 Clark Point Road
Southwest Harbor, ME 04679-441

Eat fresh lobster on a working wharf next to a Coast Guard base overlooking Southwest Harbor. Sit outside at picnic tables, drink beer, and casually eat fresh seafood.

FiveIslands Lobster Company
1447 Five Islands Rd, Georgetown, ME

This is “as good as lobster gets”at a shack on the harbor edge overlooking rocky shores and lobster boats. Seating is open on the dock.

Perry’s Lobster Shack
1076 Newbury Neck Road
Surry, ME

Perry’s is run by Perry and his wife Beverly. The lobster shack is on the side of Newbury Neck Road, with stairs leading to the town beach. Perry’s menu is simple, with fresh lobster, mussels, and corn on the cob. Enjoy a lobster roll on one of the three picnic tables on the pier and be sure to order homemade ice cream sandwiches.

Watermans 300x225 New Englands Best Lobster Shacks and Seafood DivesWaterman’s Beach Lobster
343 Waterman Beach Road
South Thomaston, ME 04858-3325

This establishment is a winner of the James Beard restaurant award and a model of a great New England lobster shack. Sit outside at picnic tables, order lobsters, and eat them on paper plates. Try the ginger ice cream: it is wonderful with blueberry pie!


Roy Moore Lobster Company

RoyMooreLobster 200x300 New Englands Best Lobster Shacks and Seafood Dives

Photo by Mike Carey

39 Bearskin Neck
Rockport, MA 01966

Roy Moore’s is a local institution founded in1918, located on the docks of Rockport’s Bearskin Neck. It is good lobster bargain, with smoked salmon, fishcakes, clam chowder, and lobster on the menu. Seating is in tight quarters with crates used as seating out back.

Sesuit Harbor Cafe
357 Sesuit Neck Rd
Dennis, MA 02638
(508) 385-6134


This is on our list of shacks because it is a real deal for a scenic seafood spot located in a boat yard and marina, with Cape Cod style. Customers sit at picnic tables on the channel between Sesuit Harbor and Cape Cod Bay and observe the boats traveling in and out of the dock.

The BiteThe Bite 300x199 New Englands Best Lobster Shacks and Seafood Dives
29 Basin Road
Menemsha, MA 02552

The Bite is a tiny seafood stand in the fishing village of Menemsha on Martha’s Vineyard and serves fried- to-order clams, scallops and oysters.

New Hampshire

Petey’s Summertime Seafood & Bar
1323 Ocean Blvd
Rye, NH 03870

Petey’s is a “seafood shack” located between Hampton and Portsmouth, NH, across the beach from an old shipwreck with public beach access. It has a second-floor deck that has great views and a postage- sized parking lot.Petey’s serves lobster rolls on a bulkyroll. Try the baked haddock with lobster stuffing or the seafood chowder.

Rhode Island

Evelyn’s Drive In

evelyns hq1 300x199 New Englands Best Lobster Shacks and Seafood Dives

Photo by Mark Saleski

2335 Main Road
Tiverton, RI 02878
(401) 624-3100

Evelyn’s Drive In has been serving fresh, local seafood since 1969. Evelyn’s is a half clam shack, half small, sit-down restaurant. Order a bowl of Rhody chowder, a couple of stuffies, and a sumptuous lobster roll, and be sure to try the delicious Lobster Chow.

The Country Chowder Shack
101 Old Hartford Pike
North Scituate, RI 02857

Don’t drive all the way to the beach to get some decent seafood. This Rhode Island “hidden gem” Chowder Shack may be a last chance to taste Rhode Island-style red chowder before you drive to Connecticut. Country Chowder also has white chowder, stuffies, clam cakes, and hot wieners. The Chowder Shack is open from March 19th through October 31st. You can’t see the ocean from the Country Chowder Shack, but you can taste it.


johny ads 300x225 New Englands Best Lobster Shacks and Seafood DivesJohnny Ads Drive In
910 Boston Post Rd.
Old Saybrook, CT

Step back into to the 1950’s at Johnny Ads, where fried seafood and hot buttery lobster rolls never go out of style. Mainers even say they make a “damn good lobster roll.” Don’t miss with the great Hummel Brothers hot dogs served on buttered “square” rolls with crinkle fries. The Rhode Island clam chowder is top notch.

banner3 250x250 animated New Englands Best Lobster Shacks and Seafood DivesCan’t get to your favorite seafood shack this summer? Give LobsterAnywhere a try. You do not  need  GPS for directions, bug spray, or gas money for a road trip. This lobster company has been shipping Maine lobster and fresh seafood gifts since 1999. Order lobster and select your delivery date at online check out.

Feel free to send us a picture of your favorite Lobster Shack that you would recommend to a friend.

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Real New England Clam Chowder!

The history of clam chowder is very interesting. A group of French soldiers became shipwrecked off the coast of Maine.  As they trudged ashore carrying what meager provisions they could grab before the ship sank, they made camp on the shore.  They gathered some clams and threw them into a large pot they called a Chaudière.  They cooked the clams in water with the potatoes, crackers and pork that they had salvaged, and managed to create quite a tasty dish, which became the precursor for future “chowders” derived from the word Chaudière.

New England Clam Chowder Real New England Clam Chowder!

They are very serious about their Clam Chowder in New England, especially Maine!  The traditional recipe for New England style Clam Chowder includes chopped clams, potatoes, onions and salt pork in a milk or cream based broth.  Some New England states like Rhode Island and New York add tomatoes, but people of Maine are so incensed by this barbaric act, they actually passed a bill through legislature in 1939 making the act of adding tomatoes to New England Clam Chowder illegal!

Another clam chowder style, called Manhattan or New York uses tomatoes in a clear broth base, but what the law was intended for, was to keep the milk/cream based clam chowder from being contaminated by tomatoes.  States like Maine and Massachusetts have a great tourist trade based on their spectacular Clam Chowders served in restaurants.

New England clam chowder is a wonderful dish not only for seafood lovers but vegetarians and people abstaining from meat.  A serving of New England clam chowder made with 2% milk has 154 calories, 0 Tran’s fats, 8 grams of protein and 1 gram of fiber.  Additional benefits of this tasty soup are that it serves up vitamins A (6%), C (9%), 17% of daily requirement for Calcium and a whopping 17% of the daily need for iron.

Are you a Chowda Head? Order some real good chowder from

new england clam chowder Real New England Clam Chowder!

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Steamer Clam 101: Cooking Steamer Clams

steamer clams 300x199 Steamer Clam 101: Cooking Steamer ClamsMaine clams, pisser clams, Ipswich clams, soft-shell clams and long neck clams are all known as the steamer clam in New England. Steamer clams run a close second to Maine lobster as the seafood of choice for both residents and visitors alike. Clammers dig steamers by hand using a clam rake in the mud and sand flats in places like Essex, Massachusetts, Harpswell, Maine or Chatham on Cape Cod.

Soft-shell clams are called steamers because they’re best served that way! Tender and extremely rich and sweet, these small clams are traditionally steamed and enjoyed dipped in drawn butter. Steamer clams have soft and brittle shells and do not completely close since the long neck or siphon gets in the way. The best clams for steaming are of course, steamers, but littleneck clams, or cherrystones can be substituted. Steamers are also used for New England’s famous fried clams. If you plan to make your own fried clams or chowder, your best bet is to buy them shucked in their natural juice.

There is nothing better than a heaping bowl of sweet steamer clams. In New England, steamers are served along with their steaming broth and melted butter; the broth to douse the steamed clam meat in and to rid it of any residual sand, and the warm butter for dipping. Eating steamers is messy, so have lots of bread fo soaking up broth, and paper napkins for your fingers.

Shells may open or gape naturally: this does not necessarily mean the product is spoiled or dead. The siphon or neck, of a soft-shell clam will constrict when touched. A gentle tap on the shell will usually cause the clam to close. If a clam does not respond to a tap on its shell, or if the shell is broken, it should be discarded. Plan to cook your steamers soon after they arrive. To store clams in the shell, refrigerate (34-45 F) in a shallow bowl and cover with a clean damp cloth.

How to Purge Steamer Clams
Since steamers are raked from sand and mud flats, you will find some sand. A brine soak helps clams rid themselves of sand and grit before they are cooked. Soak clams in a solution of 1/3 cup of salt in 1 gallon
of water (just to cover) for about an hour in the refrigerator. Some cooks suggest adding a tablespoon of cornmeal to the salt mixture.

Steamer Clams with White Wine

6 pounds of steamer clams
6 chopped shallots
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 bay leaf

Sauté the shallots and garlic in the butter until softened and add to a large pot with wine, bay leaf and about two inches of water. Bring to a boil and carefully add clams. Cover and steam clams for 6-8 minutes until they fully open. Do not eat clams that do not open. Serve clams and broth in bowls and garnish with parsley. Don’t forget the crusty bread! Serves 4

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Fresh Clams: Currency of the Sea

Hard-Shell Clams

Hard Shell clams are sorted and sold according to size…the smaller the clam the more tender and expensive.From Smallest to largest, the categories are:

  • Little necks clams: The most tender: excellent raw, steamed, or used in whole recipes.
  • Top Necks clams: Tender, can be used as little necks.
  • Cherrystones clams: Not quite as tender as the above two. Good raw or steamed. Chop and use in recipes calling for minced clams.
  • Quahogs (or) Chowder: Named by the Indians they’re not tender, and are best used minced or ground in clam chowder, etc.

Soft-shell clams
Soft-shell clams are called steamers because they’re best served that way! Wash well and place in a pot with 4 tbsp. water. Simmer, covered, 5-10 minutes until shells partially open. Remove from pot with slotted spoon and serve in individual dishes. Dip each clam by its long neck into melted butter, laced with lemon juice. Then remove the black skin (covering the neck) and eat the neck too. It’s chewy and delicious! Strain the broth and drink it., seasoned with celery salt or mixed with tomato juice.

When you purchase clams, they should be alive. You can keep them alive in the refrigerator for several days. It is very important that they can breathe so do not place them in airtight plastic bags. When opening clams, examine each one, make certain they are still alive. If the shell is opened slightly, tap on it and it should close at least partially. Give it a little time as some move very slowly. If it doesn’t move at all, discard it.

Opening clams
Rinse clams under cold running water.
#1 Hold a clam with the hinged part against the palm of your holding hand. With your other hand, place the blade of your (or strong paring) knife against the crack between the shells. Squeeze the knife between the shells with the fingers of your holding hand. Then inserting the point, work the knife around inside the shell until both muscles are severed. Spread shells apart and scrape all the clam into the bottom shell twist off top shell. Scrape under the clam to be sure it’s completely detached from the lower shell.

#2 Hold a clam hinged side up, with the side of the hinge with the small black protrusion pointing toward the palm of your hand. Insert the point of a strong paring knife on the other side of the hinge where the two shells meet. Carefully work the knife in and then around the clam, and proceed as above.

Clams will relax their muscles and be easier to open if placed in a freezer for an hour or in a 450 preheated over for 5 minutes.

Seagulls have to work at opening clams too…they often fly 50 feet in the air with a clam, and drop it onto a hard surface.

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