Steaming clams in briny broth, the last of the season’s sweet corn, tender potatoes, perfectly charred grilled chicken, maybe a bowl of clam chowder, a lobster or a steak to round out the meal – that’s right, it’s clambake time.
John Dziorney, owner of Bay Lobsters Fish Market & Cafe on Darrow Road in Twinsburg, Ohio, said he'll sell more than 20,000 clams during a typical October weekend to wholesale and retail customers – most of them retail sales for folks who want to host their own clambakes.
Dziorney sells a wide variety of clams, but said littleneck (about the size of a quarter), middleneck (about the size of a 50-cent piece) and Boston steamers, a soft-shell clam, are his most popular for clambakes. He also offers cherrystones and topnecks.
Because they are the smallest, littlenecks are the most tender. Boston steamers have a skin over the meat that has to be torn off before it can be eaten, but Dziorney said they are becoming more popular because folks eat them when visiting Boston and want to try them at home.
Hosting a clambake at home is easy, and doesn’t require much more than a large stockpot.
A reliable seafood dealer typically sells clams already scrubbed clean and tied inside mesh bags that are ready for steaming.
Typical clambake menus consist of clams, steamed potatoes or sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, clam chowder and grilled or barbecued chicken. You can add a lobster or steak, or serve them instead of the chicken.