A New England Clam Boil can be prepared on the stove-top or on a gas flame like used with a turkey fryer, BBQ grill or open fire pit fitted with a sturdy grate. Here the ingredients are layered into a large pot equip with a steaming rack or metal colander or a lobster steam pot and steamed together all at once. This method is the one my family has used for decades. This method produces a mingling of flavors and delicious broth that’s just as tasty as the original clambakes of old.
My friend Mary from All Things Food – Cooking with Mary and Friends took an informal survey about what items people usually include in a New England clam boil and what she found was that it varies from family to family and by region up and down the New England coast. In some recipes, you may find hot dogs, while others use whole fish, and still, others include fresh crab. In our family, we add hot dogs and both types of spicy and mild Portuguese sausages that are common around the Southern Coast of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. We also include fresh haddock or cod fillets, corn, potatoes and soft shell “steamer” clams to round out the pot.
For a stovetop New England clam boil, we layer the ingredients into the pot with those requiring the longest cooking time on the bottom and those requiring the shortest on top. We then place a large, peeled, whole onion on the top of the center of the pot and then cover the entire pot with a lid. When the onion is cooked through, the entire pot is ready to be served. Don’t forget to reserve any leftover broth for your next clam chowder or seafood based sauce. Simply refrigerate it up to one week or freeze for up to 3 months. It is delicious!
Check out these classic New Englad recipes:
- New England-Style Stuffed Clams (Stuffed Quahogs)
- Traditional New England Clam Chowder
- Traditional Boston Baked Beans
- Boston Brown Bread
- Panko Crusted Baked Cod Fish
- New England Clam Cakes
A New England clam boil is cooked on a stove top, grill or open pit and produces a steam pot of delicious New England seafood and delicious seafood broth.
- 2 pounds medium sized new potatoes, scrubbed and halved if large
- 4 ears corn, husked and cleaned of silks
- 4 pounds soft-shelled “steamer” clams, scrubbed
- 1 pound of hot dogs, optional
- 1 pound Spanish-style chorizo or Portuguese linguica, cut crosswise into 2 inch pieces
- 4 fresh haddock or cod fillets
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
- Old Bay seasoning, optional
- lemon wedges
- Into a large 5 gallon pot equipped with a steam rack or a large lobster steam pot, add 1 inch of water and 1 tbsp salt.
- Place potatoes, in the bottom of the pot or on top of the steaming rack.
- Next top the potatoes with the ears of corn.
- For the next layer, add in the sausages and hot dogs.
- Top the sausages now with steamer clams.
- Next, add fish fillets wrapped in parchment pockets or aluminum packets.
- If adding lobsters or crabs, add those on top of the fish fillets.
- Top the whole meal with a large, peeled whole onion nestled into the top layer of crabs or lobsters.
- Cover tightly and steam 30 minutes, maintaining water at a full rolling boil.
- Check the onion, if it’s cooked through and opaque, the clambake is cooked through. If not yet fully cooked, steam an additional 5 to 10 minutes. When done, lobsters and crabs will be completely red. Transfer to a large serving pan or onto a newspaper-lined table and serve immediately.
- Discard any clams or mussels that have not opened fully.
- Andouille or smoked kielbasa sausage can be substituted for the Portuguese sausages if they are not available in your area. You may also substitute cherry stone or other clams and mussels for the soft shell steamer clams if they are not available in your area. If you don’t have parchment paper or aluminum foil, we’ve also used small brown paper lunch bags to steam the fish. However, they can easily break when removing so you have to use extra care for this.
- This recipe is easily doubled or tripled to feed a crowd.
Keywords: new england, clam boil, clam bake, seafood boil