Cookin’ With Rants: New England Awesome

Two questions up front:

1 – Are you hungry?

2 – Do you like shellfish?

If the answer to either is ‘yes,’ then I’d beat you into action to start cooking this awesome gut-buster of seafood awesomehood.  This recipe comes to me via a small lady of special acquaintance with deep New England roots.  That means this shit is genuine, yo.

First some background.  Frogmore stew is of South Carolinian origin.  It involves the local shellfish, so there’s a lot of shrimp in it, which is fine.  I personally prefer the New England version, which is heavy on bivalves (Google that shit).  If you want the Southern version, go here.

But wait, you’re hungry and/or love shellfish.  On to our ingredients:

1 bag small-ish red potatoes

2 links kielbasa, Andouille, chorizo or some kind of sausage

3-6 ears fresh sweet corn, shucked and lopped in half

12 fresh oysters

24 fresh mussels

12 littleneck clams

12 largeneck clams

1 Can Old Bay seasoning

1 Large container, sea salt

1 lb Unsalted butter, melted and clarified with spices

3 cloves roasted, crushed chopped garlic (for butter, add more if desired to pot)

Now that I have your attention, here’s what you do:

Boil the potatoes whole in a brine of 3:2 water-to-salt by volume.  This makes salt potatoes, which go well with this dish.  When done (fork done), dump the water on some weeds you want to kill.  Cook the corn just short of done with fresh water.  Brown the sausage in a skillet while the corn cooks.  At the same time, carefully wash all your shellfish under flowing water with a stiff brush, and yank all the mussel beards out.

Construction of the boil.  Stacking order is very important here.  Pay attention.

Add ½ inch of water to the rinsed pot.  Put the sausage on the bottom and arrange the potatoes and corn over it.  Add 3 to 5 generous tablespoons of Old Bay season to the mix.  Heat until the water starts to boil.  When ready, add the shellfish in a dense pack on top and lid the pot.  Boil until all shellfish have opened and released their liquor.  Agitate with vigorous shakes as necessary.

Ready for the STACK!

Ready for the STACK!

New Englanders will plop a lobster or two on top of all this stack and steam until done as well.  This addition might require you to figure cooking times by weight and/or remove the shellfish until the lobster is cooked and red.

Steam the shellfish with the base mix for 10-15 minutes.  If you choose to include shrimp, add when the shellfish are nearly cooked, with shells on but de-veined.  Remove pot from heat immediately and un-cover.  Enjoy the aroma of ocean food awesomeness.

Serving.  This dish is usually done on a beach over a campfire.  When cooked, the pot is turned completely over a picnic table covered in a thick layer of newspapers, and guests pick, shuck and eat what they wish.  Alternately, a very large serving platter will work equally well.  Add sides of melted butter seasoned with garlic and Old Bay.

Note – shellfish shells have many uses when the meal is over.  I have used them in landscaping as well as Christmas decoration craft projects.  I recommend that you NOT discarding them.  Even in a compost heap, they add calcium to balance your developing soil.  They also work well on the ground under your roof’s dripline to preserve the soil and plant roots.

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44 Responses to “Cookin’ With Rants: New England Awesome”

  1. Sounds yum but allergic to fish…you’d be happy if I tried it anyway, knowing that, I’m sure. Still make your oriental soup. So good.

  2. You need to publish a cookbook, in total Rants style!

  3. And you put that recipe in front of the closet gourmand??! Now I can’t visit Erickson again, ’cause I don’t fit through the Customs booth. 😉 Thank the real chef for this one. (Gotta go look up Mila Kunis) 😀

  4. I’d throw a pound of shrimp or crawfish in there in place of the oysters. Which would’ve been sucked down with Tabasco and a squeeze of lemon while the water came up to boiling.

  5. Everything awesome comes from New England!

  6. Sorry, I can’t make this recipe. My parents taught me never to be shellfish.

    Shellfish (n): The condition of nervous breakdown that occurs to fish after being hit be large-caliber artillery. See also: Shellshock

    Shellfish (n): The mutated oceanic creatures that will be spawned by Shell Oil Company’s drilling (and inevitable oil spill) in the Arctic. “Yep, 5 eyes, two tails, and Donald Trump hair. That’s gotta be one of those new ShellFish!”

    This is Sergeant Smartass of the Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen, signing off for today. And remember, when ordering shellfish, be VERY certain to specify whether you’re using Imperial or Metric sizes. That last thing you want, when trying to fire your large-bore artillery, is to jam the gun due to the wrong calibre shellfish.

  7. midnightcloak Says:

    did you share that clam bake or was it for the entire month?

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