clambake, malibu style

does any other day scream "beach day" louder than the 4th of july? for some magical reason the weather here has usually come into its own, may grey/june gloom be damned, making for the perfect start to your perfect independence day. with the sun shining and swells beckoning how can it not be? spending most 4th's in hawaii, we've opted to stay home the past few years in desire of avoiding security lines, baggage fees, long flights and people who seem cranky in general but behave worse in airports. passengers and employees. besides that, summer is what we've waited for all year long in malibu! leave my sunny little piece of paradise in lieu of what? someone else's sunny little piece of paradise? with two caveats i'm now a proponent of the summer staycation, especially for short, wildly popular travel dates. you have to love where you live and you have to be able to unplug, and that means everyone on the staycation, unplug as reasonably as if you were at a resort. if you can check off both these boxes i highly suggest it, if not... i highly don't.

foodie that i am, i had to scratch my head on what recipe you might like this year. something elegant but easy. something that's quick to get you back to your guests at your party. something you can throw together at the last minute like this blog. sorry... and something that says "dig in"! i hope i have your attention now because in my humble opinion, this has all that and the presentation is pretty damn impressive as well. here's my take on the east coast clam bake... malibu style.
my test run yielded enough for many 4 so you might need to play with the number of ingredients and pots you need. half? double? again, i'm not strict with measurements and do all my cooking through taste. my husband helped so total prep/cook time was many an hour, tops. clean up is super easy.

2 lbs. baby neck clams. as far as i'm concerned, the smaller the better. when your fish monger bags them up make sure he doesn't seal the bag as the little critters need to breathe! he should know, so this is buyer beware. rinse and scrub clams in cold water asap. unless you're ready to cook, store the cleaned/closed clams (if they open before you start cooking toss out immediately) in a bowl of cold fresh water in the refrigerator ensuring any sand left will sink. these can sit in the fridge in the bowl with only water to cover them till you're ready to cook. no lid! rinse once more in cold water before barbecuing.

18 cleaned/deveined jumbo shrimp. call your fish monger ahead of time, saving you prep time. toss into ziplock bag with a few shakes of extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and if you like, some crushed garlic. store in fridge till ready to grill. thank god for malibu seafood!

an ear of corn per person. husk, wash and brush with olive oil. store in baggie in fridge till you're ready to grill with the rest. i half them before i add to the grand finale.

  • in a very large pot pour one 12 oz. bottle louisiana crystal hot sauce,
  • 3 cups nice white wine. i used sauvignon blanc but anything on the subtle side works. definitely nothing sweet, spicy or bitter.
  • 5 tablespoons good salted butter. i like italian or irish.
  • sugar to taste but i would start a bit high because of the heat from the sauce at two tablespoons so you have my blessing to add from there. but just a little at a time.
  • stirring constantly, bring to low boil for a couple of minutes. turn off heat and cover.
i told you this is really easy but if you can find an extra set of hands this is where you are going to need them. i've but grill items in order so the most important bits go last.

keeping the grill at medium heat.

baby potatoes. i think i used 25 very small ones. marinate for as long as you can; i didn't have the luxury of time but it all added to the sauce so i can only imagine how much better the actual potatoes would have been given time to rest in a bath of olive oil, sea salt, fresh sprigs of thyme and crushed garlic. you can sort the measurements. no idea, taste. always taste as you go. more garlic, easy. less garlic, we have a little problem. taste and add as you go. sorry but in the interest of time i'm cooking these in the microwave and once i can poke them with a fork, i'm throwing them on the grill for a last minute "i like the way it looks" thing before adding to the final brew. so go ahead an cook the potatoes first as they will warm on the grill then more once everything is married with the sauce.

slice enough baguette to serve more than a few per person. people love good bread, don't be stingy. brush with olive oil. season if you like and grill to char. add to your holding station. add your potatoes to the grill to warm while bread is grilling. 

grill the ears of corn so they are heated thru and have a nice char to them. you can add a sprinkle of sugar on the cobbs here if you want a little bit more sweetness but if you can find super fresh picked corn, it has to be of the sweet white variety, you don't even need the olive oil when you grill (but do). if it's that fresh you really don't need salt or pepper either, especially when they're rolled around in the sauce. once cooked, put aside to briefly keep warm while everything else is on the grill. if you have a rack maybe put them there or on a bit of the grill you can turn way down/off. don't overcook.

grill shrimp for a couple minutes on each side and the color has popped into a nice bright pink. take off heat and keep warm with corn. do not overcook or the shrimp gets "gummy".

toss the clams about the barbecue and cook till they pop open. i can't stress enough you must toss out any and all clams that were open prior to cooking. (please google for your own edification, beyond that i don't want to be responsible for your upset tummies). 

i love hot, but for those of you who don't, add some heavy cream after warming sauce. give it a quick swirl and turn off heat so cream doesn't curdle. add the shellfish/veg mixture. toss and serve with baguette and side salad. i bought a crunchy, vibrant seaweed salad that went perfectly but a nice french vinaigrette would work well too!

running super late on this blog i stopped at the market after what had turned into a long day at the office determined to make something to give you a recipe for the fourth. my husband found me in the kitchen on his return, moving about furiously. i'm so lucky, he asked what he could do and dove right in. thank you, honey!

warning, this is really hot!!! honestly, don't touch your eyes as with any pepper you're working with.

lastly, god bless the service men and women that allow for the independence we enjoy. thank you!!!



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