This weekend I had my very first lobster / clam bake. I've been wanting to have one because fresh lobster and clams are simply to die for. I decided to combine this event with one that we host regularly - game night! A night of good drinks, fun games and great company.
I spent a few days reading up on different recipes, tips and techniques and used this recipe as my source of inspiration. It's funny, I wanted a proper New England style lobster bake, but when I showed my friend from New England the recipe, the first thing that was said was, "That's a Maryland style lobster boil!" Regardless, I wanted fresh seafood, boiled, and served on a large newspaper lined table.
For the recipe inspiration, I didn't bother with exacts as far as the ingredients, but rather, just use best judgement when it comes to adding sea salt and spices (Old Bay) to the pot of boiling water. The same went for the amount of potatoes (enough for one potato per guest - a total of 13 this time), red onions (2), 6 ears of fresh corn, a dozen large clams and 9 lobsters (and a big thanks to one of our dear friends who managed to find a steal for most of the lobsters served - he's getting a bottle of bourbon as thanks next time I see him).
One point of contention - where to cook? I initially planned to place the ginormous pot on our stove and boil the lobsters in batches. Well, the gentlemen in attendance insisted in building a fire and using the grate attachment to our fire pit to hold up the pot. This worked out VERY well and also was greatly welcomed given the warm and humid temperatures as of late. Our house was able to stay closed up with the A/C cranked and provided a great relief from the outdoors, especially when cooking over the fire pit. Oh, and one added benefit to cooking over the fire pit? The ambiance was delightful!
Once the fire was roaring, the water started boiling and in went the potatoes and onions for roughly 15 to 20 minutes. The baby Zoidbergs went in the pot in waves - we tossed in two to start and after about 3 minutes, we tossed in half the clams.
After another 15 minutes, time to tip over the pot and strain the water. Then, on a newspaper lined folding table, I spread out the meal, serving melted butter (not clarified - I don't mind the excess) and lemon wedges on the side. Our dear friend helped break apart the lobsters into smaller pieces, opening up tails and separating the claws and other parts and then I sprinkled fresh chopped parsley and tarragon over the whole table and dug in. Ohhh, so good!
For the next batch of lobsters and clams, I added the already "nuked" corn, which had been shucked and split into smaller serving sizes, just to get warmed up a bit more. That worked out perfectly as our next set of guests began to arrive, and they were greeted with warm, fresh lobsters, and sides. One last batch of lobsters went into a pot with boiling water and spices.
Once everyone had their fill, it was time to pack up the leftovers (which weren't much overall as everything was so tasty, but enough for another meal for two or three) and clean up the area. Clean up was a pinch! Simply roll up the newspaper and toss in the garbage.
My first lobster / clam bake was a resounding success and hilarity ensued as we pulled out new games to play over drinks and dessert, in the cool house. I can't wait to do this again!
Oh, and what did I do the next night with some of the leftovers? I steamed an artichoke and just as it was getting tender enough to pull a leaf out, I put a few lobster pieces on top and let them warm up for just a minute or two. I served it with the leftover potatoes and corn and viola! Instant gourmet meal!