The New England clambake in all its meaty crustacean goodness is the perfect summertime feast for seafood lovers. What's better than cracking open a few lobsters while enjoying the warm weather with friends and family? We asked David Delancey, owner of the famed Lobster Trap in Bourne, for his thoughts on how to throw a clambake like a true Cape Cod native.
What ingredients do you need for a New England clambake?
"You got to have lobsters, you got to have steamers, you got to have chowder, you got to have tomatoes, corn," Delancey says. "Everything else is secondary."
The Lobster Trap owner notes that, while a traditional New England clambake would include ingredients and sides like potatoes and onions, "Americans don’t really want to eat that stuff anymore, especially in July when it’s 85 degrees out every day." Instead, Delancey tends to use cooler side dishes like "a roasted Yukon or a fingerling potato salad, a green salad, watermelon."
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Do you have any special New England clambake tips or tricks?
Since most beaches won't all you to dig a hole in the sand and cook up a meal outdoors, thankfully you can cook up a clambake right at home. According to Delancey, the key is to not overthink or overcomplicate the process.
"When I’m cooking at home, I’ll get the lobsters steaming, I’ll throw a little bit of water in the bottom of the pot, throw a couple IPAs in there too," he says. "Get that steaming, throw your lobsters in, let them get going about halfway, chuck the steamers in."
Delancey notes that some people will also add sausage or linguica to the steaming process, but he likes to throw his "on the grill to get that char flavor on it, cut it up, add that in at the end." After that it's time for the corn, which he likes to cook seperately "in a little bit of cream, some butter, salt and pepper, little bit of Old Bay."
"You put all that together, add in a couple bottles of wine, a cold beer and some good friends, and you’ve got yourself a night to remember," Delancey says.
What drinks do you pair with a New England clambake?
Speaking of drinks, the Lobster Trap owner has a few go-to beverages for clambakes.
"It’s summertime. It’s hot out," Delancey says. "I want to drink something crisp, either rosé or a sauvignon blanc or throw in some Mayflower, maybe a New World IPA."
Aside from the libations, you definitely need great people to share the experience with.
"There’s just something about summertime, and being with friends and family, sitting out on a picnic table and cracking open a lobster, dipping some steamers into some broth and butter," Delancey says. "Not only the sweetness of the lobster and the steamer, but the sweetness of the good times and the conversations and the memories that you form with your friends and family. I can’t think of anyone on the planet that could say, 'Oh, we went to this clambake and had a bad time.'"