In spite of the fact that I live in a New England coastal state, I don’t eat nearly enough lobster as I would like. I feel like it should be a summer staple. And I’ve come to the conclusion that I really just need to live in Maine, that’s all that’s to it.
I want to be able to drive (although walk would be preferable) to the lobster pound in the mornings and pick up fresh-off-the-boat lobster to steam at home for dinner. I’m tired of wondering how long the lobster I buy here has been out of the water, how safely it has been stored in transit to the store, and why I feel like we’re getting ripped off for lobsters fished off local shores when the price is so much cheaper in Maine. But I digress.
I got my lobster this summer in the form of a New England-style clambake…that happened on Long Island. Ha!
We had a party at my parents’ house a couple weeks ago to celebrate my brother getting his GED. To put it mildly, he had a rough go in high school, lost his way for a while, and found his way out. I am just so proud of him for taking this next step in his life and working his butt off to pass this test – a test I probably couldn’t pass, now 17 years out of high school! And since he is a seafood lover like no other (one of his favorite things to do is fish for his dinner!), we thought a clambake would be right up his alley.
If you’re not familiar with what a clambake is, let me explain. For those of you in the South, it’s sort of like a seafood boil but the food is steamed on top of wet seaweed over a fire.
You’ve got New England clam chowder and steamer clams to start off the meal and then lobster, clams, mussels, potatoes, sausage, onions, and corn all steamed together and served up family-style dumped in the center of a newspaper-lined table or buffet-style. It’s homey, rustic, and just plain awesome.
But considering neither my mom nor I had ever done a party like this before, we hired the Long Island Chowda Co. to cater our clambake. It was a brilliant idea.
We took care of appetizers and dessert, and we were able to enjoy someone else cooking (and cleaning up!) an outstanding meal for us. The caterers brought all of the food to the house, fresh, and cooked it as we all stood around and marveled at what they were doing. From start to finish, watching this clambake happen and then feasting on the outcome was such a fun way to throw a party!
To say the least, I should have been fasting all day and probably the day after to accommodate for the makings of this party:
Cheesy hot crab dip (recipe coming soon)
Dill pickle dip
Baked onion-cheese dip my mom made
Baked stuffed clams my older brother brought (I need to figure out that recipe!)
Smoked oyster-cream cheese dip my mom’s friend made
Steamer clams (aka soft-shell or Ipswich clams) with drawn butter
New England clam chowder
Lobster (1 ½ lbs each/per person) with drawn butter
Prince Edward Island mussels
Mashed red potatoes with onion and chorizo (all steamed with the seafood)
(We also had a steak option for the carnivores.)
As is evident by some of these pictures of Brett and the happenings during the lobster piñata festivities, I’m positive my brother had a great time. Brett’s girlfriend, Jean, picked up a lobster piñata and filled it with all kinds of peanut butter candy (my brother’s favorite). I’m sure she was a sight to behold trying to wrangle that thing on the train to come out from the city for the weekend but he absolutely loved it. Except that now he owes my mom a new broom – casualties of the piñata.
All in all my family, and most importantly, my brother had a blast at our first clambake celebrating his great achievement. Congrats again, Brett!!