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Lobster & Clam Bake

Although I could eat lobster any time of year, for some reason the summer months are when I most appreciate and eat that glorious crustacean. So even if you don't live right near the ocean or have a beach nearby for an outdoor lobster/clam/mussel feast, you can make this menu in your own kitchen - just be sure to get the freshest shellfish you can.  You can ask your fish monger or seafood department manager if they can get you some fresh seaweed for a lobster bake but if you can't find fresh seaweed, see the tip below the recipe.

If you can't find fresh cultivated mussels (preferably from Prince Edward Island in Canada)  there are frozen mussels available in the larger supermarkets nationwide that are excellent frozen (yes I said frozen!) The frozen mussels are packed about one pound per unit - they cook in just 5 or 6 minutes - and the result is a plump, tender and sweet tasting mussel. 



Lobster, Steamer Clams & Mussels 
with corn, onion, and potatoes

 2 pounds seaweed, preferably Maine Rockweed*
4 Maine lobsters, about 1 pounds each
4 ears sweet corn, shucked, remove silk, leave the innermost  leaves on corn
8 small boiling onions
2 pounds soft-shell steamer clams (or Little Neck clams, scrubbed clean)**
3 pounds fresh cultivated mussels**
12 small red skinned potatoes
2 cups water - Plus 2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning

In a very large roasting pan place a one inch layer of seaweed. Place Maine lobsters on the seaweed; arrange corn and onions between the lobsters and the sides of the pan. Place **clams, **mussels and potatoes gently over the Maine lobsters, keeping the top of the Lobster Bake level. Cover with remaining seaweed and add water with the Old Bay seasoning to the pan.

Cover pan tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil and place on a large stovetop burners (or over two regular size burners) over medium/high heat.  You can also use a heated outdoor grill to cook the lobster/clam bake - if you are cooking on a charcoal grill, make sure the coals are almost white-hot before placing the pan on the grill.   In either method, start timing the Lobster Bake when you first see steam. Cook covered for 15 minutes.  Remove pan from heat and let it rest for five more minutes before serving.

Melt pound unsalted butter and add the juice of one lemon. Serve butter/lemon sauce in individual bowls.

Yield:  4 servings

* If you cannot buy seaweed from your fish market, add 2 teaspoons sea salt to the cooking water and place a layer of crumpled aluminum foil in the roasting pan to raise the lobsters off the bottom of the pan.

**After cooking, discard any clams and mussels that have not opened. If using frozen mussels, cook mussels according to package directions and add to the finished Lobster Bake just before serving.

Recipe adapted by Ann Hall Every, CCP


When shopping for food, especially fish and shellfish when it's really hot outside, and you live a long way from the fish store or supermarket, be sure to ask the fish monger to pack your fish and shellfish in some crushed ice to keep it cold on the way home from the store.  Alternatively, bring a picnic cooler to the supermarket that has been chilled down with ice packs to transport the fish and shellfish and any other foods that need to stay cold on the way home. Keep the picnic cooler on the back seat of your air-conditioned car and not in the hot trunk!




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