New England Clambake

No Photo


  • 4 small baking potatoes, sweet potatoes or yams
  • 2 dozen clams in the shell (preferably cherrystones)
  • Cold water
  • 4 ears fresh corn
  • 2 (2 1/2 pound) broiler-fryer chickens, quartered
  • 1/2 pound butter or margarine
  • 2 (1 pound) live Maine lobsters*
  • 4 small onions, peeled
  • Rockweed or cornhusks
  • Lemon wedges


* To prepare lobster before adding to kettle, lay each lobster on wooden board. To sever spinal cord, insert point of knife through back shell where body and tail of lobster come together. Turn lobster over. With sharp knife, split body of lobster down middle, cutting through thin undershell just to back shell and leaving back shell intact. Discard dark intestinal vein running down center of lobster; also discard small sac below head. Crack large claws.

  1. Scrub potatoes. Scrub clam shells under cold running water, using a stiff brush to remove dirt and sand. Place clams in a large bowl; add cold water to cover and let stand 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, use scissors to trim off tops of ears of corn. Remove a few outer husks from each ear and reserve. Turn back remaining husks; remove and discard silk. Replace husks as they were. Soak ears and reserved husks in lightly salted water until you are ready to cook the corn.
  3. In a large skillet, sauté chicken, a few pieces at a time, in 2 tablespoons butter. Brown chicken on all sides until golden, adding more butter as needed. This should take about 10 minutes per side. Meanwhile, if you are using lobsters, prepare them as directed in the note below.
  4. Place wire rack in bottom of a very large kettle with tight-fitting lid. Pour in 2 cups cold water. Arrange potatoes and onions on rack; cover with a layer of rockweed or cornhusks. Add corn, more rockweed, and then the chicken and/or lobster. Top with clams; cover with rockweed or any remaining husks. Cover kettle and place over medium heat. Steam for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until potatoes, onions and corn are tender.
  5. Remove clams to a large bowl.
  6. Transfer chicken, lobster and vegetables to large platter.
  7. Pour broth into 4 (8-ounce) cups or bowls and serve to dip clams in for flavor.
  8. Melt butter for dipping clams and lobster.
  9. Serve with lemon wedges and melted butter.

Yield: 4 servings