New England One-Pot Clambake

Skip the sand and make this traditional clambake on your stove. Clams, mussels, shrimp and lobster come together with corn and potatoes for this classic.
Photo by Marcus Nilsson / Food Styling by Michelle Gatton

A traditional New England clambake is prepared by steaming the lobsters, other shellfish and vegetables together in a fire-fueled sandpit. Most people, however, pull out their largest pot (or two) and make it on the stove or outdoor grill. You’ll need a large pot—about 30 quarts—or you can divide the ingredients evenly between two 16-quart pots. Just make sure the lobsters will fit.

How to Prepare a Classic American Clambake
Ingredients
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) crisp white wine
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 pound small Red Bliss potatoes
  • 1 pound small white or Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 pound small blue potatoes
  • 8 live lobsters, approximately 1¼ pounds each
  • 8 ears corn on the cob, shucked
  • 4 celery stalks, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme, tied
  • 2 pounds mussels, cleaned
  • 2 pounds Little Neck clams, cleaned
  • 1½ pounds jumbo (21/25) shell-on shrimp
  • 1 pound butter, melted
  • 4 lemons, cut into wedges
Directions

Place lobsters in freezer. Add 2 inches water, bottle of wine and salt to pot. Use steaming rack if available. Bring to rolling boil over medium-high heat or fire. Add potatoes, and cook for 5 minutes.

Quickly place lobsters into pot. Secure lid with 5-pound weight. Cook for 10 minutes. Add corn, celery, thyme, mussels, clams and shrimp. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove from burner and let rest for 5 minutes. Divide among two or three large serving platters. Remove thyme bundle, and serve with melted butter and lemon wedges. Serves 8.

Pair It

Just because this is an American tradition, it doesn’t mean you have to limit your wine choices to domestic bottles. An international assortment of wines allows your guests to choose their favorite, and it also encourages conversations about different pairings.

White: Cloudy Bay 2016 Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough has a bright grapefruit flavor, with a hint of grassiness and a crisp, clean feel that’s perfect with seafood prepared in a simple manner.

Rosé: A glass of rosé from the South of France is the quintessential summer pour, and Gérard Bertrand’s 2016 Cote des Roses Grenache-Cinsault-Syrah Rosé from Languedoc fits the bill with light cherry flavors, floral notes and an orange-peel finish.

Red: Soft red fruit flavors, light tannins and good acidity make the Faiveley 2014 Bourgogne Pinot Noir ideal for red-wine-drinkers who remain loyal, no matter the menu. Chill it a bit for added refreshmen

Published on June 22, 2017
About the Author
Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen
Entertaining and Lifestyle Editors

Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen are Wine Enthusiast's Entertaining and Lifestyle Editors. DeSimone tastes wine from Israel and the Mediterranean Basin, while Jenssen tastes wine from Eastern Europe, including the former the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. Both co-authored Wines of California, Wines of the Southern Hemisphere, and The Fire Island Cookbook. Wine educators and presenters, both gentlemen serve as frequent guests on national and local television. Email: mikeandjeff@wineenthusiast.net



SUBSCRIBE TO
NEWSLETTERS
The latest wine reviews, trends and recipes plus special offers on wine storage and accessories