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One-pot Clambake

All last week I was wondering what to prepare for dinner-by-the-pool at a friend’s place. Just when I had decided on a safe-but-boring pasta dish, this recipe from Bon Appetit came through my Twitter feed. A one-pot clambake! What could be more perfect for a poolside party?

This dish is amazingly easy and quick to prepare, and so much fun to serve and eat! A few caveats though: you will need a large steamer pot, or a smaller, taller one (like mine) with 2 steamer baskets. You will also need to pick out some live marine animals and stick them in a pot, then eat them off newspapers with your fingers, so it would help not to be too dainty about such things.

Here’s how it’s done.


  • 1 2-3lb. Dungeness crab
  • 2 lbs Manila clams, scrubbed
  • 1 lb mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
  • 1 lb BC spotted prawns
  • 4 ears of corn, husked and cut in half
  • Half a bottle of white wine
  • 4 cups of cold water
  • 4 celery sticks, sliced
  • 2 lemons (1 sliced, 1 quartered)
  • 1 navel orange, sliced
  • several sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 smoked, spicy sausages (I used Spanish chorizo), sliced
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • 1 loaf of French bread, warmed


  1. Place the water and wine in the pot along with the celery and some sprigs of thyme. In the steamer basket, layer the orange and lemon slices, the sausage slices, and more thyme. Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Lay the crab in the steamer basket and put the lid on.
  3. After ten minutes, add the shrimps and the corn, and put the lid back on.
  4. After five more minutes, add the clams and mussels, and put the lid back on.
  5. After five more minutes, the dish is done.
  6. Serve with melted butter, lemon wedges, and French bread for dipping.
  7. Layer the table with newspaper for easy clean-up. No need for plates, just small forks, crab-claw crackers, and plenty of napkins.
  8. Don’t throw out the leftover broth—strained, it can be turned into bouillabaise.

Serves four.

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