Tips for Hosting a Poolside Clambake
With summer just around the corner, shellfish lovers along the east coast want to welcome the season with a delicious celebration. Arguably the best way to share your love for seafood—hosting a clambake will surely excite friends and neighbors for swim season. Whether celebrating a holiday or enjoying a beautiful summer day, clambakes are a historic northeastern tradition. Invite over family and friends to kick off the season with mouthwatering seafood like clams, oysters, lobsters, mussels, and much more!
Planning a clambake may seem tedious, but following some proven advice can help streamline the process and eliminate unnecessary headaches. With a few helpful tips from Shoreline Pools for hosting a poolside clambake, you can have an exquisite experience!
What is a Clambake?
A clambake refers to an outdoor social event that involves steamed or baked seafood, such as clams, lobsters, mussels, crabs, and quahogs. But you won’t miss out on the fun if you do not enjoy seafood. Instead, you can snack on side dishes like baked potatoes, coleslaw, corn on the cob, antipasto, and hummus. Clambakes prove popular along the coastal regions where fresh seafood becomes plentiful during the summer.
Shop for the Best Seafood
Especially if you live near the ocean, selecting fresh and local seafood optimizes its flavor. Before purchasing shellfish, you will need to check for any lingering dirt and mud. The shells should be covered in ice or chilled in a display case where you can inspect them.
Above all, the shells should remain closed– discard any open ones. Closed shells indicate they are fresh and alive. On the other hand, open shells mean the shellfish is dead and spoiled. Also, purchasing live fish and shellfish ensures freshness, but frozen is still a second option. You can talk to the seafood department at your local grocery store about popular frozen seafood brands. Boiling is the most efficient and simple method for cooking live seafood like lobsters and crabs. However, your local fishmonger will happily handle this if you do not want to deal with live seafood.
Simple Ways to Cook a Clambake by Your Pool
Traditionally celebrated in New England—although not necessary—attendees bake or steam the seafood in a pit over heated stones and under a bed of seaweed. While most clambakes follow this method, you should know that you can use two overshadowed cooking methods: grilling and stovetop steaming.
1) Stovetop Clambake
Cooking a clambake on a stovetop, either indoors or outdoors, is a classic method that many seem to overlook. You will typically want to use a large pot capable of fitting all your ingredients. One helpful hint is to put the ingredients that take the longest to cook in first. Depending on the amount of food you plan on serving, the cooking time should not last more than 30 minutes to an hour. If you want an in-depth stovetop clambake recipe, check out Martha Stewart’s crowd-pleasing dish.
2) Grill Clambake
If you don’t have a big enough pot to fit all your ingredients, firing up the grill is one of the best, easiest, and most appetizing ways to cook your clambake. Using a disposable roasting pan, evenly layer all your ingredients. Next, wrap your pan and ingredients tightly in tin foil, and start grilling! There are several recipes you can easily google, but here is one grill clambake recipe by Tasting Table.
Tools, Decor & Tableware for a Clambake
Celebrating the summer experience of suntans, ocean breezes, and delectable seafood call for party planning. There are many ways to have a successful and memorable clambake– but it starts with making it unique!
The right tableware, tools, and decorations boost the ambiance of your clambake and make a lasting impression on your guests. If you plan on cooking traditional clambake ingredients, several items are essential. Having proper silverware, including pot-forks, tongs, and crackers, is necessary to easily enjoy your meal without it being a hassle to eat. Napkins, table covers, and paper towels are always a necessity. Butter and lemon are key ingredients that amplify the delicious flavor. A lemon press easily squeezes lemon juice on your meal – a handy tool to have at your clambake. Butter seems to always make food better, especially seafood. Butter warmers are a nifty item to have around the table. Some other items you’ll want to consider purchasing include clam bags, clam knives, and bibs.
Serve Up Succulent Side Dishes
Many restaurants typically serve seafood like lobsters and clams with drizzles of warm butter and splashes of lemon. Similarly, oysters and clams are often served with hot, cocktail, or mignonette sauce. Thus, you’ll want to take a page from their book. It’s important to remember the little necessities that make your clambake unforgettable.
Nonetheless, it’s your clambake, so make it unique! Creative side dishes are wonderful to snack on throughout the party, like oil-drizzled baguettes, fresh fruits, or homemade Caesar salads.
Welcome Summer with a Poolside Clambake!
Celebrating the summer holidays like Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day are perfect opportunities to host your clambake. Nevertheless, any beautiful summer afternoon can make for an unforgettable clambake experience with family or friends. Grilling or steaming is an easy and fast cooking method for hosting a poolside clambake. Nonetheless, you should still pick up the seafood a few hours before the event to guarantee maximum freshness. Furthermore, to make for a smooth experience, you want to have the right tools and tableware. Depending on the menu, you may need to buy several in advance. Lastly, make the clambake uniquely yours! Side dishes, snacks, and desserts allow you to stray from the typical clambake ingredients and make the event your own.
Make sure to subscribe to our blog for more tips on hosting poolside events. Furthermore, a pool renovation can make your social event extra special. Dial (203) 357-1544 and connect with a Shoreline Pools representative to learn about our pool servicing packages.