Even if you don’t live near the shoreline, creating the mood of the salty New England coast in your own backyard is easier than you might think. The New England Clam Bake is a traditional method of cooking fresh local seafood and vegetables on the beach, in a fire pit dug in the sand and covered with seaweed. I’ve provided two preparation methods here: one for those on the shoreline, and one for those of us who don’t have access to the beach.
Clam bakes are usually held on festive occasions along the coast of New England. Clams, of course, are a must. While live Maine lobster is a traditional component, my in-the-kitchen recipe uses easier-to-locate shrimp and crab legs instead. You can choose whatever you can find fresh, be it snow or king crab legs and littleneck, cherrystone, or steamer clams. Feel free to add or substitute anything that’s seasonally fresh in your region (or just sounds good), such as spicy sausages, live Maine lobsters, and mussels.