Let’s Get Cracking: A Summer Clambake

May 15, 2015

The summer dinner party might just be our favorite dinner party. Gone are the fussy place settings and precious presentations. Ushered in are fresh flavors and dig-in dishes that encourage everyone to sit back, relax and stay awhile. The perfect way to bring together good friends and good food? That would be the time-honored clambake. While this all-in-one seafood pot doesn’t necessarily need any supporting players, we asked Lisa Lemke, author of The Summer Table, to round out the menu with summery sides that can stand up to such a look-here main dish. Roll up your sleeves and get cracking at long last, it’s clambake season.

Summer Clambake

WHAT YOU’LL NEED2 cups water

4 cups dry white wine

5 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning

2 teaspoon salt

6 cloves garlic, crushed

2 red onions, chopped

2 pounds potatoes, quartered

4-6 ears corn, halved

3 lobsters

2 dozen Littleneck clams

1 pound mussels

3 lemons, halved (plus extra for serving)

3 limes, halved

One bunch tarragon, chopped

Melted butter, for serving

HOW TO MAKE ITIn a very large stockpot over medium-high heat, combine water, wine, Old Bay, salt and garlic and bring to a boil. Add onions and potatoes, cover the pot and cook for 15-20 minutes. Add the lobsters to the top of the pot, cover and cook for another 3 minutes. Add clams, mussels, corn and cook, covered, for 10 minutes, or until shells have opened. Remove pot from heat and transfer to a large platter. Gently squeeze the lemons and limes over the seafood, sprinkle with a generous amount of tarragon and serve alongside butter and extra lemons.

Romesco BaguettesRecipe by Lisa Lemke

WHAT YOU’LL NEEDFor the romesco sauce:

1 red bell pepper

2 red chilis

2 large tomatoes, halved

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and cracked pepper, to taste

1 cup blanched almonds

4 anchovy fillets

¼ cup sherry vinegar

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

For the baguettes:

1 large sourdough baguette

4 tablespoons butter, room temperature

 cup prepared romesco sauce

HOW TO MAKE ITFirst, prepare the romesco sauce. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and combine bell pepper, chilis and tomatoes in a bowl with two tablespoons of the olive oil; toss and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a roasting tray, then add almonds to the same tray, but keep separate. Roast, turning bell peppers and chilis occasionally. Remove almonds after 15-20 minutes, then remove the rest after 25 minutes. Cool slightly, then peel bell peppers and chilis, discarding seeds. Combine the bell peppers, chilis, tomatoes, remaining olive oil, almonds, anchovy fillets, vinegar, paprika and garlic in a blender; process until smooth.Next, prepare the baguettes. Turn the oven up to 350 degrees. Whisk together the butter and  cup of the prepared romesco sauce; season with salt and pepper. Cut the baguette down its length like a hot dog bun (make sure not to cut all the way through!) and place on a baking sheet. Crack it open, spread with the romesco butter and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the butter has melted and the bread has some nice color. Slice and serve warm.

Frisée Salad with BaconRecipe by Lisa Lemke

WHAT YOU’LL NEED1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ tablespoon Dijon mustard

Salt and cracked pepper, to taste

1 head of frisée, coarsely torn

½ cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped

½ tart apple, thinly sliced

4 slices of fatty bacon, fried and crumbled

HOW TO MAKE ITWhisk lemon juice, olive oil and mustard together; season with salt and pepper. Toss the dressing with frisée, walnuts and apple, then top with the crumbled bacon.

Rhubarb and Ginger LemonadeRecipe from The Summer Table by Lisa Lemke

WHAT YOU’LL NEED2 stalks rhubarb

2-inch piece fresh ginger

½ cup granulated sugar

6 cups water

HOW TO MAKE ITPeel and thinly slice the rhubarb and ginger. Place all ingredients in a nonreactive (not aluminum) saucepan and bring to a boil; cover and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool, then strain. Serve over ice.

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