RHODE ISLAND CLAMBAKE IN A BOWL
Barbecue Anytime, Anywhere, in Any Weather
by Mindy Merrell and R. B. Quinn
This stovetop stew is a loose interpretation of the three-day beachside fest known as the New England clambake, that picture-perfect steaming seaweed pit immortalized each August by every shiny food magazine. How do all those beautiful people stay so crisp and clean after digging a sand pit and hauling rocks? One summer, on the beach in Charlestown, Rhode Island, we were actually asked by the crew of a popular food television program to stay out of camera range until they finished a shoot. Our cluttered site didn't convey casual flawlessness.
Rhode Island Clambake in a Bowl is not only less work, it's a much cheaper cheater because we're skipping the lobster. Instead of a plate of steamed seafood with a little piece of corn on the cob, a sausage link, and a stray potato, this stew is meant to be served in bowls, with bread for sopping up the clam broth.
Makes 6 Servings
~ 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter
~ 1 medium onion, chopped
~ 1 pound smoked sausage, mild or spicy, quartered and cut into small chunks
~ 3 medium red potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes (3 to 4 cups)
~ 2 cups dry white -wine
~ 2 cups water or 1 cup clam juice and 1 cup water
~ One 16-ounce package frozen corn, thawed
~ Kosher salt
~ 4 dozen cherrystone clams, rinsed and soaked in ice water
~ Chopped fresh parsley
Lemon slices, hot pepper sauce, and warm French bread
MELT the butter in a large Dutch oven or heavy soup pot with a lid. Add the onion and cook over medium heat until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
While the onion cooks, BROWN the sausage in a large skillet.
ADD the sausage, potatoes, wine, and water to the onion. Bring the broth to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the potatoes are just tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
STIR in the corn and bring to a boil. Season the broth lightly with salt to taste. Reduce the heat, add the clams, and cover the pot. Simmer until the clams open, 5 to 7 minutes. Discard any clams that don't open.
Spoon the stew into large bowls and top with parsley.
Serve with lemon slices, hot pepper sauce, and bread.