For something fun and unpredictable this Fourth of July, why not try a Kitchen Clambake? Some clambakes are prepared on the beach but this traditional recipe can be prepared in one giant pot in your kitchen. The entire meal steams in about 30 minutes and once you spoon all of the ingredients into a pretty bowl, you have a delicious and stunning presentation of seafood. This meal is so easy to make you will have plenty of time and energy to be creative and “dress up” your table for this special occasion.
1 1/2 pounds kielbasa (I used smoked turkey sausage)
3 cups chopped yellow onions (2 large onions)
2 cups chopped leeks, well cleaned (2 leeks, white parts only)
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 1/2 pounds small potatoes (red or white)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
2 pounds mussels, cleaned and debearded (this was already done when I purchased the mussels)
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, in the shell
3-4 lobster tails
2 cups good dry white wine
Slice the kielbasa diagonally into 1-inch thick slices. Set aside. Saute the onions and leeks in the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed 16 to 20 quart stockpot over medium heat for 15 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Layer the ingredients on top of the onions in the stockpot in this order: first the potatoes, salt, and pepper; then the kielbasa, little neck clams, mussels, shrimp, and lobster tail. Pour in the white wine. Cover the pot tightly and cook over medium-high heat until steam just begins to escape from the lid, about 15 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and cook another 15 minutes. The clambake should be done. Test to be sure the potatoes are tender, the lobsters are cooked, and the clams and mussels are open. With large slotted spoons, remove the seafood, potatoes, and sausages to a large bowl and top with the lobster tail. Season the broth in the pot to taste, and ladle over the seafood, being very careful to avoid any sand in the bottom.
Serve with a french baguette for dipping, blue corn tortilla chips and a crisp and light chardonnay. Serves 6 to 8 people. Recipe adapted from Ina Garten.